This just in: Republican budget restores lost government jobs!

Or not. Today’s monthly release of statewide employment data from the Employment Security Commission shows how worthless the ESC’s use of data has become. The release (PDF) says the unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent in August. But it downplayed the big news: Government employment went up by 13,700 jobs in August, more than wiping out a loss of 11,000 jobs in July. Even the evil Republican state budget couldn’t keep that plucky public sector down!

Why the increase? The ESC statewide reports highlight “seasonally adjusted” data, which is an estimate of how many jobs should have existed in a normal economy based on a series of computer models that are programmed with voodoo, for all we know.

In ESC’s unadjusted numbers, which also are based on estimates but may be more reliable, government employment rose by 59,000 last month, from 592,500 in July to 651,500 in August. Nearly all of the gains (59,000) came in the local government education sector, which makes sense because — duh — schools started back in session in August.

The report shows why the ESC’s reliance on seasonally adjusted data misleads the public; neighboring Virginia and South Carolina don’t use them.

And if you’d like to learn more about why these numbers are both deceptive and inaccurate, come see me at Monday’s Shaftestbury lecture at noon in JLF World Headquarters. Be there