Base Zero Math
While academics and others may debate the veractiy of the official unemployment rate calculation, it is still the truth that the widely cited unemployment rate is by far one of the most understood metrics out there. So there is no ambiguity as to what data is being referred to when you cite the 'unemployment rate'. and the source: it is generated for the most part with data direct from the state of Pennsylvania and the Current Population Survey.
If you have any doubts about just how high county unemployment rates are in Pennsylvania right now, you can easily check them out yourself. In fact if you were to round to the nearest decade, every county in Pennsylvania is closer to 10% unemployment than zero. This all gives 'new math' a whole new dimension.
Of course, since he said it, folks like the American Petroleum Institute (API) (which really should know better.. they know numbers) are repeating it. See their blog post: Good News Friday. 0% Unemployment.
Not like there isn't positive Marcellus related news out there. From the Globe and Mail today: Shale Gas Gives Plastic Sector a New Lease on Life.
What is worth reading also is from the WSJ: How North Dakota Became Saudi Arabia. Since everyone is saying Marcellus is making Pennsylvania the next Saudi Arabia.. I am not sure what it means any more to be Saudi Arabia in the first place. Of course, that WSJ article was really talking about oil. ND also has natural gas, but in an earlier NYT last week there was this: In North Dakota, Flames of Wasted Natural Gas Light the Prairie.
So our Saudi Arabia is based entirely on a commodity the other Saudi Arabia finds so relatively value-less it is burning it off for free. Hmm.
or is the oil boom coming as well? Hmmmmm.
Finally.. since I am really talking about supply side economics in all of that. I do note that my natural gas bill is likely going down and would concur it is in at least part.. possibly large part.. due to natural gas development here and the new supply it is generating. What is odd though is that not all local gas companies are lowering their prices. Out there closer to the new drilling there are some natural gas rates actually rising.
Here is the fundamental question though. The industry says this is all merely the beginning of a huge new supply of gas we will all benefit from. OK. It is also true that natural gas prices are pretty low now. What will happen to natural gas markets when the bulk of all this new shale gas comes online?''
and more on just plain misreading numbers. There is a news item today from various sources. NPR's Stateimpact and Jim R. caught it, then the Trib followed up today on the factoid that popped up of Washignton counting ranking 3rd in percentage of job growth among large counties. Now note the Marcellus Shale coaltion's version of it which seems to say Washington County's growth was 3rd among all 3,141 county equivalents in the nation. Uh.. no. Read the BLS release. Washington County is #3 among not 3,141, but of 322 of the largest counties. They actually reference the 3,141 number to emphasize the point. The biggest deal? No, but just missing 90% of the counties makes for a somewhat different story. Probably worth mentioning that Washington County, PA is one of the smallest counties to actually make that list which probably impacts why it pops up in a percentage job growth statistic.