Walker "Uh uh" Nailed: Unemployment Rate Decline Due Mostly to 15,000 Leaving State | WisCommunity

Walker "Uh uh" Nailed: Unemployment Rate Decline Due Mostly to 15,000 Leaving State

As we've discussed before, the unemployment rate is simply the number of unemployed people divided by the total work force (unemployed + employed people).  So, if your state goes from having 90 people employed and ten unemployed to having 19 people employed and one person unemployed, you could brag that your unemployment rate dropped from 10% to 5%-- but that would, of course, be moronic and grossly misleading people about the dismal jobs situation in your state.

Such is the case with Scott Walker, who misleadingly mentions Wisconsin's unemployment rate without giving the context of tens of thousands of people leaving Wisconsin's workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from January 2011, (when Walker took office), to January 2012, (the most recent data available), 15,000 people have left Wisconsin's total workforce, which is a .5% drop in our workforce.  Meanwhile, nationally the total workforce increased by 1.1% over the same time period, which is to be expected from population growth.

If Wisconsin's workforce had increased at the same rate as the national average (1.1%),we would be talking about how unemployment increased from 7.6% to 7.9% under Walker-- which is what Wisconsin's unemployment rate would be if our workforce increased at the same rate as the rest of nation. 7.9% is, of course, a far cry from Wisconsin's current 6.9% unemployment rate that Walker is bandying about.

So, finally, a reporter... well, Greta Van Susterin... asks him about it:

Van Susterin: What's your unemployment level?

Walker: 6.9% -- the lowest its been 2008 -- we added 15, 700 new jobs in January...

Van Susterin: But, you had people leave the workforce, too, in the state

Walker: We have... uh, uh again, though, if you compare us to the national average, we're doing much better.

Van Susterin (of course) quickly moved right along to the next topic after that, but give her credit for ...sorta... calling Walker out on this deception.

I also like the way Walker quickly reboots the lie machine in his head and covers one deception with another:  comparing the nation's unemployment rate to Wisconsin's rate and suggesting that there is something good to be gleaned from the comparison-- there isn't.

Plus, Walker completly "uh, uh" skips right past her underlying point that the reason the unemployment rate is lower is mostly due to the fact that workers have left the state!



March 21, 2012 - 2:03pm