Lies, damn lies, and Scott Walker’s statistics

Updated
 

Yesterday morning, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) Department of Workforce Development would put out new job numbers, and a few hours later, his campaign operation used those new numbers as the basis for a new campaign ad.

At face value, this might seem like a compelling pitch for the Republican governor. As has been widely reported, job creation in Wisconsin in 2011 was the worst in the nation – literally, 50th out of 50 states – but here’s Walker boasting about over 23,000 new jobs created last year.

Wisconsin Democrats weren’t pleased that the governor’s campaign operation seemed to be coordinating with state employment officials, and published data that wasn’t supposed to be released until late June – after the upcoming gubernatorial recall election.

But there’s another issue that’s worth noting: Walker’s playing games with the statistics. As Rick Ungar explained:

So, just how is Walker about to turn Wisconsin’s dismal job numbers from lemons to lemonade?

The Governor has simply decided to ignore the system used by the Department of Labor – and every other state in the nation – to measure job growth (or loss) and elected instead to go with a different set of numbers that makes things in Wisconsin look better.

In this case, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data didn’t tell the Republican governor what he wanted to hear – the BLS found Wisconsin was one of only four states that didn’t add jobs in 2011 – so Walker turned to a different source. As one local newspaper reported, “The difference lies in how the numbers were generated. The new numbers come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, produced for inclusion in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national report to be issued on June 28 – more than three weeks after the recall.”

Walker apparently hopes voters don’t look too closely at the fine print, and have no idea there are differences between one employment survey and another*.

* edited for clarity

Scott Walker and Wisconsin

Lies, damn lies, and Scott Walker's statistics

Updated