Respected Quarterly Revises Massachusetts Jobs Estimates after Governor Revises Estimates Downward
Fallout continues over faulty jobs data reported by the administration of Governor Deval Patrick for 2011. The Massbenchmarks quarterly, a joint effort by the federal reserve and the UMass Donahue Institute that depends on the jobs reports, released a bulletin today titled "Employment Revisions Change Our Understanding of Recent History."
"There was shock and no small amount of embarassment."
UMass Amherst economics professor Robert Nakosteen is the report's executive editor. He says that revised figures from the Patrick administration earlier this month showed that instead of adding 40,700 jobs last year, the state added fewer than 10,000 jobs. That means that employment grew at a rate of only.3 percent, rather than the 1.3 percent that was initially reported.
Republicans have criticized Patrick for painting a too-rosy picture of the state's economy. Nakosteen says he prefers to stay out of the politics of the issue - but the economic narrative, he says, has definitely changed.
"You know you have to believe the data you are told that the data are. It's risky, you're out there on a tightrope and clearly the data before they were revised told a really good story for the Patrick administration, and obviously the story now is less good."
Nakosteen says further data is needed before the 2011 can be completely sorted out - but it's clear from the recent revisions that the state's restaurant, hotel and travel businesses did not grow at the comparatively robust pace that was previously reported.