But, oddly, [Wisconsin] education and government employment increased in Wisconsin by more than 13,000 during the Jan-Jun period under uber-neo-con-anti-government Gov. Walker.
One can get this result by picking the last six month’s of data, and using not seasonally adjusted data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development database. But it seems useful to examine the entire Governor Walker record. The following graphs highlight the misleading nature of Bruce Hall’s comment:
Figure 1: State and local government employment, seasonally adjusted (blue, left scale), and log employment normalized to 2011M01=0 (red line). NBER defined recession date shaded gray. Dashed line at 2011M01 (Walker administration begins). Source: DWD, NBER and author’s calculations.
State and local employment is now 2% below levels recorded in the month Governor Walker took office. Notice how the increase mentioned by Mr. Hall is relative to a distinctive trough.
Figure 2: Log local education employment, seasonally adjusted (blue, left scale), and 12 month log difference of not seasonally adjusted local education employment (red line). NBER defined recession date shaded gray. Dashed line at 2011M01 (Walker administration begins). Seasonal adjustment is calculated by estimating monthly factors on log series, over 2000M01-2012M06 period. Source: DWD, NBER and author’s calculations.
Local education employment (seasonally adjusted) in June is thus more than 2 6 percent below 2011M01 levels (in log terms). Since I have applied my own seasonal adjustment routine (although ARIMA X-12 doesn’t yield anything substantially different), one might want to see how the 12 month change in the not-seasonally-adjusted data looks. Education employment is over 4 percent below a year earlier.
Bottom line: Beware the suspiciously selective use of sample periods (six months is odd), and the use of not seasonally adjusted data. Sometimes one has to deal with nsa data, but then one can try to adjust (say by 12 month differences, which even the most mathematically challenged can do). I cannot speak about motives. But I can question inferences based on such odd selections.