Friday, July 30, 2010

What's a "saved" job?

Barack Obama made a much-ballyhooed visit to The View recently, and in response to some of his claims, Conservative Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked him a question about the never-before-used measurement "saved jobs." You can watch the video of the exchange here.

A while back, Tony Fratto had a column discussing the concept of "saved" jobs. He had this great thought:

"There is only one necessary data point to make the "jobs-saved" claim: an accurate measure of expected employment levels in the future....

"To understand just how unknowable this data point is, it's not necessary to be an economist, a mathematician or a statistician.

"You only need to know this: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - thousands of the most professional and rigorous counters and analyzers of labor data in the history of mankind - makes TWO revisions of employment data for their ESTIMATE of the PREVIOUS month....

"That is, the best employment statisticians the world has ever known, people whose lives are dedicated to employment data, conducting labor surveys and research, constantly refining their complex models, have a difficult time telling you how many jobs were created in the PAST!"

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