Monday, October 6, 2014

Sorry, Politi-"fact". We really are last for jobs

I’ve had plenty of issues with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s “Wisconsin Politi-fact” segment in recent weeks, but apparently they refuse to listen to me when I note flaws in their work. They were back again this weekend with another absurd rating of a Democrat’s claim, using cherry-picked stats that are not part of the claim or the ad in question.

This time, it comes from a recent Mary Burke ad which discussed Governor Scott Walker’s failed record on jobs.
The narrator cites the preliminary August jobs count, which did show a drop of 4,300 from the previous month. But when combined with the language used -- "And we’ve fallen to dead last in Midwest job growth" -- it suggests that falling to the bottom is a new development.

For the first three years of Walker’s term, Wisconsin did rank last in the Midwest -- both for the three years as a whole, and in each of the individual years. That’s a true statement, and we have rated it as such….

Burke’s ad renews the claim that Wisconsin rates last in the Midwest in terms of job creation. She’s arrives at that conclusion by citing accurate data, but by using an unconventional shift in the time frame to make her point.

The ad also ignores the most recent 12-month performance -- a common yardstick for economists -- that says Wisconsin’s performance improved and was better than two other Midwest states.

We rate the claim False.
So now Politi-crap is going to verb tenses to hack up a Dem’s claim on jobs to arrive at a “false” rating (instead of a “half-true” or “mostly true”, which even they admit the claim is)? And because Wisconsin sucked under Walker for 3 years means repeating that fact is “old news” that should be ignored. COME ON, MAN!

By the way, Politi-crap is again trying their (now-common) move of putting words into Dems’ mouths to distort their claims. This is a trick they’ve pulled on claims from the AFL-CIO and One Wisconsin Now in recent weeks, saying that Dems meant something that they didn’t say. And the same happens here, as Burke campaign manager Joe Zepecki is quoted in the Politi-fact piece that he’s not talking about “jobs over the last year,” but instead is claiming overall job growth since March 2011, which allows the most recent QCEW to be included.

As a quick aside, the reason year-over-year numbers are used in the QCEW is because of the huge seasonal changes we see in raw (unadjusted) employment from month-to-month in this part of the country, which are smoothed out with “seasonal adjustments” in the monthly job stats that get headlines every month.

So with that in mind, let’s combine the March 2011-March 2014 QCEW “gold standard” stats with the monthly, seasonally-adjusted stats in the 5 months measured since then, to get as up-to-date a figure as possible.

Total private-sector job growth March 2011-August 2014
Mich +298,147 (+9.38%)
Ind. +162,122 (+7.02%)
Iowa +73,135 (+6.18%)
Minn +123,370 (+5.72%)
Ohio +224,755 (+5.44%)
Ill. +217,345 (+4.66%)
Wis. +101,529 (+4.59%)

So I don’t know why Politi-crap decided to splice up the claim to the August 2014 seasonally-adjusted year-over-year numbers to analyze whether Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is last in the Midwest for job growth under his tenure, unless they’ve decided to throw all pretense of fairness aside and become a pro-Walker outlet by giving into the cynical right-wing frame of “all politicans lie.” Given the actions of the Journal-Sentinel (with Daniel Bice still trying to pump the “jobs plan” story in his column today) and Politi-crap over the past couple of weeks, it’s hard to draw another conclusion.

Bottom line: Wisconsin IS LAST for job growth in the Midwest since Scott Walker’s been in office and gotten his economic agenda into law. The numbers show it, and no amount of spinning and cherry-picking those numbers into Politi-“facts” changes that reality.'

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