The Numbers Racket
January 25, 2012
You’ve probably noticed Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are lining up to play a numbers game with Wisconsin employment statistics.
Ah, statistics. You know what they say about them: statistics can be tortured to confirm anything you want to prove. Democrats are trying to prove that Governor Walker is failing at job creation. They can find some numbers that might seem to help their argument, but it’s a very dangerous game for them to play.
Start with the numbers that, according to Democrats, show Wisconsin has lost jobs in each of the last six months. They love numbers like that because everybody knows Wisconsin lost so many jobs when they were in charge, more people wound up working for government than in manufacturing. States, indeed whole nations, go broke that way. Never mind; the Democrats’ idea of a positive program is to argue that the guy who replaced them is just as bad as they were.
Except he’s not.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), which doesn’t get to make things up, reports that the number of people working in Wisconsin rose by almost 7,000 in December compared with November, and by more than 21,000 compared with December 2010.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is better than those of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
We mentioned that this is a very dangerous game for Democrats to play. That’s because when you trash someone else’s performance you invite comparison. The DWD reported that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent, from 7.3 percent the previous month and 7.5 percent the month before that. Why is that dangerous for Democrats? Because the nationwide unemployment rate is 8.5 percent and it’s their guy who owns that number.