Slower, Weaker – BLS Job’s Data Undercut Patrick Administration Narrative

We think the better measure of our success is the employment data: is our economy adding jobs? We think a lower unemployment rate is not necessarily the best measure of economic success. The unemployment rate may go down because people stop looking for work or retire or because people leave the state (this has been a problem for Massachusetts). We obviously do want the unemployment rate to go down (as it has been doing), but we believe that if our economy keeps adding jobs, then it will do so. – Gregory Bialecki Secretary of Housing and Economic Development

If, as Greg Bialecki says above, the employment numbers are the true measure of how the Commonwealth is performing economically, then the the narrative pushed by the Patrick Administration just burst.  For the past year, Deval Patrick and his administration has been going around saying we are adding jobs faster than most states.  A number they have thrown around is 4th in the nation. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs data shows that this wasn’t true before, and certainly is not true now.

Last week the Bureau of Labor statistics revised their seasonally adjusted non-farm employment data (jobs numbers) for 2011.  In addition to revising numbers for all of 2011 the BLS also adjusted the baseline December 2010 numbers.  This adjustment resulted in the December 2010 baseline being increased by 488,800 jobs.  

With the new baseline data the nation as a whole gained 1,437,700 jobs in 2011 vs the preliminary number of 1,565,500.  However the revised total number of jobs at the end of 2011 was 360,600 jobs higher.  The baseline being increased brought the Delta of the jobs created down by 127,800 versus the initial estimate.

In Massachusetts the adjustment was a 31,600 decrease in the estimated number of jobs created.  The difference between revised and preliminary December 2011 was a negative 22,700 jobs.  The 31,600 number comes because the baseline number of jobs was increased by 8,900 jobs.  Here are the preliminary and revised Massachusetts numbers .

Preliminary Dec 2010 = 3,193,800

Preliminary Dec 2011 = 3,234,500

Preliminary difference = 40,700 jobs

Final December 2010 = 3,202,700

Final December 2011 = 3,211,800

Final Difference = 9,100 job

The chart below shows the job growth ranking of Massachusetts using the preliminary and the final numbers.

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The chart above shows that Massachusetts was ranked 19th not 4th for job creation in 2011 using the preliminary data.  When finalized data are taken into account Massachusetts is ranked 40th out of 51.  The revised numbers show that we have moved from the middle and above average, to the bottom of the pack.  

Deval Patrick’s own Economic Development Secretary said that the employment numbers(jobs), not unemployment rate tell the true story. That story, counter to the Patrick Administration narrative, is that we are growing slower and weaker than the nation as a whole.  It’s about time they admit it.

Sources:

December 2010 and December 2011 Preliminary data can be found here: http://www.bls.gov/sae/eetable…

Revised data was found using BLS.gov data search tools.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno