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On Thursday the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released revised jobs data alongside the January figures, data that will be released by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Monday.

DWD press releases of this monthly data typically pick and choose the brightest spots to highlight - if unemployment should tick down, or jobs in a particular sector of the economy should tick up, they draw attention to it.  Fair enough: it's a normal part of trying to sell the state positively as an economically active area of the country even if the changes aren't usually statistically significant.

But not this time.

This time the Current Employment Statistics (CES) revisions to jobs data in prior months was significantly upwards and especially the figures since the second half of 2011.  This was expected, so the DWD took the time to crow about they were right when they told us CES was doing it wrong in 2011 and QCEW (the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages) was right.

One critical way they phrased things was:

The Federal government’s initial estimate for total non-farm jobs December 2012 was off by 67,100 when benchmarked
Then we come to the Journal-Sentinel's reporting of this highlight:
Those revisions found that the preliminary estimates for total non-farm jobs last year undercounted non-farm job creation by 67,100, the agency said.
See the difference?  This is what the press release and the data very notably did not say, but wanted the media to take for granted:
The Federal government’s initial estimate for total non-farm jobs December 2011 was off by 0 when benchmarked
In fact it was revised up by nearly as much as the December 2012 figure.

2012 total job creation was originally put at 9,400 (going from 2,724,200 in December 2011 to 2,733,600 in December 2012) and revised to 14,100 (going from 2,785,600 in December 2011 to 2,799,700 in December 2012).

So the Journal-Sentinel fell for the lie of omission and reported a revision to the 2012 job creation that was much more than 10x what it actually was.

Details and an assessment of how Walker's 250,000 jobs promise is shaping up after the jump...

Here I have plotted not the revisions to the data, but the what they do to the 12-month trends:

The revision for 2011 (the 12-month trend to December 2011) was big, but the revision for 2012 was very, very small.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel don't realize this.
What happened was that CES mistakenly stated job losses in the second half of 2011 that have taken until the end of 2012 to work their way out of 12-month trends.

Here I've subtracted the 12-month CES trends - before and after revision - from the 12-month QCEW trend.  This chart uses the DWD pre-released QCEW data for its last 3 months (it'll be released by the BLS at the end of this month):

CES trends now slightly over-estimate QCEW trends
The thing to bear in mind about this second chart is that only the changes in the second half of 2011 were the subject of this revision: the smoothness of the revised data since then is all CES, all by itself.  Conclusion: CES has been near-perfect in 2012.

So where does Walker's 250,000 private sector jobs promise stand?

There are two ways of figuring this, both of which give approximately the same numbers.  The first way is the Politifact way: they use seasonally-adjusted CES changes and substitute in whole-year QCEW changes once they become available.  Using this:

Before revisions, the QCEW change for 2011 was +29,800.  The CES change for 2012 was +9,700 for a total of +38,500.  After revisions, the QCEW change for 2011 was (still) +29,800.  The CES change for 2012 was revised to +14,200 for a total of +44,000.

The other way of doing it is to use as much QCEW as you can get your hands on, make up a complete year with seasonally-unadjusted CES (QCEW does not get seasonally-adjusted so we have to stay consistent), then add seasonally-adjusted CES for any more months you might have available.

Before revisions, the QCEW change for December 2010 - September 2012 was +71,973, the CES unadjusted change for September 2012 - December 2012 was -30,100 for a total of +41,873.  After revisions, , the QCEW change for December 2010 - September 2012 was (still) +71,973, the CES unadjusted change for September 2012 - December 2012 was -27,700 for a total of +44,273.

+44,000 is an awful lot like the +44,273 that uses 9 more months of QCEW data: that's a testament to how closely CES has been anticipating QCEW in 2012.

But now we have the January 2013 CES changes too, which have Wisconsin private sector jobs up 12,400 (seasonally-adjusted).  So 25 months into Walker's term, the best estimate we have for total private sector job gains is +56,673.  This is how that compares:

+ 56,673  Best estimate of private sector job gains.
+101,600  If Wisconsin was on the national pace.
+112,500  If Wisconsin was beating the national pace by as much as we were in 2010.
+119,000  Image Journal-Sentinel is creating in uncritical readers' minds (actual + overstatement of revision).
+126,900  If Wisconsin was on the pace needed to meet Walker's promise.

Originally posted to GeoffT on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:19:22 PM PDT

  •  State and local media is GOP friendly (10+ / 0-)

    They've covered Walkers ass for years and will continue to do so.  Just as he serves his corporate donor base, our traditional media serve their corporate owners.

    No matter how big the lie or how obvious the propaganda, our media can be counted on to print it without comment or challenge whenever it comes from the GOP.

    THIS is why Walker and Ron Johnson got elected in the first place and why Walker won the recall.

    They ought to be ashamed, but they aren't.

    Republished to Badger State Progressive.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 02:51:26 PM PDT

    •  JS: Clueless, not Walker buds (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Puddytat, Creosote

      Scott Walker is thrilled to have the JS as the biggest paper in the state because it is so hopelessly incompetent. If he had a good paper covering him over the last ten years, he would never have had a chance to become governor.

      Americans can make our country better.

      by freelunch on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:03:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They host Charlie Sykes. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, freelunch, Puddytat

        They are not clueless. Incompetent, possibly, but by design.

        •  Well, yes, Sykes is a perfect example (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nadd2, Mike Kahlow, Puddytat, Habitat Vic

          of why Wisconsin is stuck in the mud.

          As long as the Waukesha bigots spend all their time blaming "those folks" in Milwaukee, they will never acknowledge that their own selfishness and indifference to the rest of the world is putting Milwaukee and Wisconsin further behind. It is not the poor who are the problem, it is the do-nothing rich.

          Americans can make our country better.

          by freelunch on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:41:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, not clueless (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote

        There used to be 2 newspapers, the Sentinel in the Morning (the newspaper for conservatives) and the Journal in the evening (moderate).  When they merged, most of the Journal reporters, including the fabulous Joel McNally, were let go.  Therefore, instead of a balanced paper, we have the conservative Sentinel as the "joint venture".

        They don't have problems working stories that reflect bad on Democrats, but seem to be all incompetent and clueless regarding Republicans.  

        It's by design, not laziness or ignorance.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 10:31:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I try to be generous, I really do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, Creosote

      And not presume malice.

      But the best I can do is to call them too lazy to click the WORKnet link in the very pdf their story is about and search the CES data from there.

      Whether they're too lazy to click a link or too corrupt to not lie, it doesn't matter: truth has left the building.

      Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

      by GeoffT on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:06:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Factoring in public-sector job losses... (8+ / 0-)

    how does WI look?

    Somewhat related - I took a look at recent census figures. My county has lost nearly 800 people who've moved out in the past two years (net loss of 0.3%). 39 of Wisconsin's 72 counties have lost population.

    Overall, WI has a net outward migration of 30,000 people from April 2010 to July 2012.

    •  They're not radically different pictures (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, OldJackPine, Creosote

      The public sector being as it is much smaller than the private sector.

      Using the method of QCEW change + CES unadjusted change to the end of 2012 + seasonally adjusted CES change in Jan 2013, total figures are:

      Nationally, total jobs are up 4,547,213 from a QCEW base of
      129,471,802 from December 2010 to January 2013, so +3.5%.

      In Wisconsin, total jobs are up 37,842 from a QCEW base of 2,670,014 in the same time, so up 1.4%.  Should have been 93,800 if growing at the national rate.

      I hadn't looked at the Census migration figures, but they surprise me very little.  No wonder the Wisconsin labor force has shrunk by 16,000 since Walker took office!

      Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

      by GeoffT on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unemployment in Wisconsin isn't bad (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, GeoffT, nadd2, Creosote

      because people have been leaving the state.

      It's not just for the South, either. Minnesota is slowly catching up to Wisconsin because it has a net in-migration. Milwaukee keeps moving down the largest metro area charts. It's hard to believe that Milwaukee was once barely smaller than the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, or bigger than the Atlanta that it lost its Braves to.

      This isn't just a Republican problem, but Walker makes it worse with his blind love of businesses, no matter how indifferent they are to jobs.

      Americans can make our country better.

      by freelunch on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:07:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Still, WI's unemployment advantage is declining (4+ / 0-)

        From 1.5% better than the nation to 0.9%:

        Unemployment has gone from 239,594 in December 2010 to 212,100 in January 2013, a decline of 27,494.  Employment went up by 11,606 (n.b. this is from the CPS survey and isn't directly comparable to CES/QCEW) and the labor force went down by 15,888.

        So the unemployment rate decline that we have had is more for bad reasons (people getting discouraged and leaving the labor force) than good ones (the unemployed becoming employed).

        If those 15,888 folk had stayed in the labor force our unemployment rate would be 7.4%, just 0.5% off the national rate instead of the 1.5% gap that Walker inherited (and the US labor force has grown by 1.3% over the period in question - if those 2 million people hadn't joined the national labor force then the national unemployment rate would be 6.7%).

        Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

        by GeoffT on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:54:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's an even more glaring example... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote

    ...of how Wisconsin's mainstream media acts as sternographers for Scott Walker and his allies: The Cap Times, a Madison-based "progressive" newspaper, declared Scott Walker to be the "winner" of the CPAC straw poll despite the fact that Rand Paul actually won the straw poll.

    The Cap Times is NOT a progressive paper...while they did publish an editorial opposing the Open-Pit Mining Bill, most of it was lifted nearly word-for-word for the written testimony that Lori Compas gave to the committee that held a 12-hour public hearing on the bill! Editorials that are lifted nearly word-for word from something that someone else wrote are not proper editorials.

    Polls don't vote, statistics don't vote, history doesn't vote, yard signs don't vote...PEOPLE VOTE!!!

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 11:44:13 PM PDT

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