Secretary for the Selective Use of Statistics

On September 6, Pennsylvania Labor & Industry Secretary Julia K. Hearthway chided the Patriot-News — and, indirectly, the Keystone Research Center — for “selective use of statistics” when the paper (relying on The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013) accurately summarized the poor performance of the Pennsylvania economy from the perspective of most workers.

Incredibly, the Secretary then uses an average wage figure that is unadjusted for inflation to claim that wages increased from 2010 to 2012 and that the Pennsylvania economy is “strong.”

Most of the rise in the figure the Secretary cites is inflation — it’s not an increase in worker buying power. Second, using an average lumps minimum-wage workers and the broad middle class with millionaire bankers and CEOs. Since 2010, CEO pay adjusted for inflation is up by 15% across the United States.

Take out the effects of both inflation and the obscene salary increases for the highest paid, and you find wages for typical (median-wage) Pennsylvania workers fell nearly 3% since 2010.

To be fair, Pennsylvania’s dismal recent wage performance has been the same as the nation’s — not worse. It’s on the jobs and unemployment front that Pennsylvania’s performance has been worse than the nation’s because of misguided state policies since 2010. That’s not selective use of statistics — that’s just the facts.

Comments

0 comments posted

Post new comment

Comment Policy:

Thank you for joining the conversation. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters and are subject to approval and moderation. We reserve the right to remove comments that:

  • are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate;
  • contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs;
  • solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites or to sell products or services;
  • may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations; or
  • are otherwise inconsistent with the goals of this blog.

Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the Keystone Research Center or Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and do not constitute official endorsement by either organization. Please note that comments will be approved during the Keystone Research Center's business hours.

If you have questions, please contact [email protected]

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.