Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doubling Down on Stupid, or Ignorant or Stupid, Take 2

Ok. Now it's gotten just batshit crazy here. Jack Welch, famous for "earnings management" and accounting fraud, is questioning the employment report by the BLS.  He apparently thinks that the BLS operates like GE or something. Now I know we all get a bit emotional. It's natural to get excited, and sometimes in the heat of the moment we all make mistakes. Thanks to Twitter, these mistakes are memorialized forever, and they can reach over a million people (# of Jack Welch followers...who ARE you people?) instantly. It used to be that when you said something stupid at a party, or to your friends, you'd just apologize and life would roll on. That's life. What's really, well, dumb, is to double down on stupid by writing an opinion piece in the WSJ. But sure enough, that's what Jack Welch did. And it's shameful for the reasons so eloquently written here. Go read that. I'll wait.

Ok, now onto the actual editorial. Leaving aside all of the crazy conspiracy that would be needed to fake the jobs report (I and virtually no one outside of the land of conferences on obscure time series filtering econometrics has any idea how the seasonal adjustments are made for instance), let's just look at the big question.

Jack Welch, where were you in December 2010? That's the last time the unemployment rate fell by more than 3/10ths of a percent. Did you claim conspiracy then? Or is that when it started... Where were you the 63 other months when the rate fell by at least that much?  Here's the jobs report from December 2010. It shows a drop from 9.8% to 9.4% with an establishment jobs number that increased by 104,000 jobs. And no one even noticed.

Hey Jack. About that massive government hiring spree the government went on. From February to April of this year, the government shed 721,000 jobs, and Jack is right, in the last two months, the government added 602,000 jobs. So, the Obama administration fired all those people and then hired them back? I want some of those good drugs, Jack. Oh yeah, and all of those Republican governors and mayors and county officials were all in on it too, since most of those employees are state and local.

What about labor-force participation? Yeah, it's trending down, and been trending down since the giant recession we just had. It's at a low level now, but it was at a low level last month and the month before and the month before, etc. Welcome to the land of labor statistics, Jack, where the trend is your friend.

Now I think that Jack Welch knows a little bit about labor statistics, but not all that much. I know he read the page on the website about data collection and he apparently thinks that makes him an econometrician. That makes him ignorant. But doubling down and equating the USA with Soviet Russia? That's stupid.

No comments:

Post a Comment