Scott Walker and his minions are again doing the Wisconsin Jobs Tango. When new numbers come out and are favorable, Walker uses those numbers. When the numbers are negative, Team Walker pulls statistics out of context to seem favorable. The announcements are all very dramatic, with plenty of grand, seductive rhetoric as Walker tango-dances his partner -- in this case the average Wisconsin worker and voter. But it all amounts to virtually nothing, except a short emotional rush.
Take the administration's breathless news recently that Wisconsin's unemployment rate in March fell slightly to 5.9%. The state unemployment rate was four-tenths of one percent lower than the national rate for the month, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wonderful, huh? Well, maybe slightly better than a sharp stick in your eye. And maybe not.
For starters, as others have observed, this apparent good news was based on a monthly survey of employers, which survey Walker previously disowned as unreliable, at least when the results have not been to Walker's liking. But when any statistical kernel from these supposedly unreliable reports is even slightly positive compared to quarterly surveys he has deemed more accurate, Walker can't wait to shove the lesser number out the door and promptly perform a happy dance.