Sunday, December 16, 2012

PolitiFact Wrong On Walker's Jobs Numbers

Scott Walker has repeatedly made the claim that he had created just under 100,000 jobs since taking office, which is pretty amazing since Walker also says that the government doesn't create jobs.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's version of PolitFact looked at the numbers and called them false. In fact, they said that Walker's pants were on fire. But the way they did so is questionable at best and is actually rather misleading (emphasis mine):
After talking with state officials, including Koskinen, and other experts, we came up with our own formula for measuring the jobs progress on the Walk-O-Meter. We take the full year of jobs as measured by the census numbers -- 27,811 -- and add to that the running monthly tallies for 2012. It’s an estimate, but, all outside experts agreed, the best available given the limitations of the data.

Using this formula, we determined that as of the Nov. 15, 2012 monthly report, which covered October 2012, the state created 25,411 private sector jobs under Walker’s watch.
Did you see what they did there?

They accredited Walker for all the jobs created since January 2011 through the last quarter.

The problem with that is that Walker's agenda was not introduced until after his first month in office. And as any economist will tell you, it takes three to six months for economic policies to have their effect seen.

So that means that Walker's job record doesn't really start until July 2011. The first six months of 2011 were the effect of Governor Jim Doyle's budget and policies. And we've already discussed what the comparison between Doyle's policies and those of Walker looks like in regard to job numbers:

As you can see, any jobs gain made during 2011 was directly the result of Doyle's budget and policies. In July 2011, when Walker's policies, like Act 10, too effect, things went downhill fast. And when his budget took effect, it went down even faster.

To credit Walker with 25,000 jobs seems to be rather generous.

In the second half of 2011, when Walker's policies were in effect, he lost well over 30,000 jobs. Since then, the state has not seen many positive growth months and the ones we did were pretty small. I would find it surprising if the actually job numbers that can truthfully be applied to Walker is even above zero.

It looks like Walker isn't the only one with their pants on fire.

It is also rather sad that when the biggest paper in the state, the supposed watchdog, finally has one of their all too rare occasions when they call Walker out, they have to still soften the blow and protect him.


  1. and so, Walker's agenda is not about jobs after all but protecting and expanding the obscene richest of the plutocrats.

  2. I really wish MSJ would stop painting Walker in a favorable light. Stop softening the blow. His policies don't work and while we may be open for business, no one is coming .

  3. (n.b. All figures are private sector only).

    Politifact are wrong for a different reason: their +27,811 number for 2011 was based upon the preliminary QCEW numbers for December 2011, numbers that were released by Walker's Department of Workforce Development on July 19th (

    However, the finalized numbers at the BLS ( show that it was 29,800.

    Walker's complaint about the CES data is that it diverged considerably from the (preferred by state economists even before Walker had his change of heart) QCEW values. It did in 2011, but from December 2011 - June 2012 the figures are (not seasonally adjusted; QCEW does not have a seasonally-adjusted version): QCEW +56,690; CES +55,400. Seasonally-adjusted CES currently shows a loss of 2,400 jobs this year through to October, so there is every reason to expect QCEW to reflect this when final numbers for the year become available.

    November's CES figures will be released on Thursday at

    1. And unless the chart in the body of the post is incorrect, which I doubt, that would confirm that the state has had a net loss in jobs since Walker's policies took hold.

    2. Squinting to try to read the numbers, the chart in the post seems to be based upon each month's initially-reported CES numbers for seasonally-adjusted total nonfarm payroll employment. These, however, have been substantially revised since (see CES data now shows the downturn beginning in April 2011.

      Since QCEW isn't seasonally-adjusted, to make it so I have taken the size of the seasonal adjustments made to CES data (which gives both versions) and added those on. That gives this chart ( where you can see that the first 9 months after Walker's budgetary policies took effect were just a continuation of Doyle's private sector jobs legacy, but have since been dropping.

      Since we've learned from Walker that: (a) it's OK to use unadjusted numbers, and (b) we should use QCEW data, I made the following chart of QCEW values for total Wisconsin jobs under Doyle's budget and his own to illustrate the absurdity: