Walker’s latest jobs numbers discount seasonal hiringGovernor Scott Walker is again talking jobs numbers, telling reporters the state has created 86,000 private sector jobs under his watch.
By: By Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Governor Scott Walker is again talking jobs numbers, telling reporters the state has created 86,000 private sector jobs under his watch. It's a figure that's skewed by seasonal hiring in Wisconsin.
The 86,000 number cited by the governor last week comes from a quarterly census of employers. Used properly, it's a detailed measure, one economists say is an accurate when comparing year over year job growth.
But Walker is adding a year's worth of census numbers from 2011 to a half-year in 2012. University of Wisconsin Madison Economist Steven Deller says that leads to all sorts of problems, "Because it's not seasonally adjusted, you end up kind of comparing apples to oranges, and you can really lead to some erroneous conclusions."
The governor is able to show a gain of 86,000 jobs now because his latest measurement came in June when the state always sees a seasonal hiring boom, even in recession years. If he'd taken the same measure in March it would have shown the state had lost 20,000 jobs under his watch. Deller says that shows why it doesn't make sense to use this measure, at least not now.
"That's why it's really important to do, you know, quarter to quarter--fourth quarter to fourth quarter, first quarter to first quarter--so that you don't get these kinds of seasonal fluctuations in the data,” he said.
If history is any guide, the job number the governor used from June will shrink by the end of 2012. It has every year for the past decade.
The only full year of Walker's tenure showed just under 30,000 private sector jobs gained using the employer census. The governor promised to create 250,000 jobs in his first term.