23rd June 2024

@TBPInvictus right here.

A couple of decade in the past, town of Seattle undertook to lift its minimal wage, over time, to $15/hour. Large credit score to my pal Nick Hanauer for his efforts to make that occur. What adopted within the speedy aftermath of each the announcement and implementation was nothing lower than an apocalyptic, collective head explosion on the precise concerning the devastating results the rise would have, significantly within the meals companies sector:

Nevertheless, there’s little doubt that town’s heralded meals scene is operating scared. — Weekly Customary

Eating places are closing at larger than regular charges. — Tim “Unsuitable Method” Worstall

In line with the Washington Coverage Middle, it’s already having unintended penalties: particularly, forcing eating places to shut. — NY Publish

I documented the idiocy and errors all through, together with the truth that critics targeted, fairly inappropriately, on the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Statistical Space (MSA), an space vastly bigger and extra populated than town of Seattle correct (King County). However Mark Perry, who led the cost, was by no means one to let the reality get in the way in which of a superb narrative.

Utilizing the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages – a really correct survey that comes with a protracted lag – we are able to drill all the way down to King County and see, fairly clearly, that the restaurant sector continued hiring apace all through the incremental will increase within the minimal wage. All the naysayers had been, in a phrase, incorrect.

It ought to come as no shock, sadly, that the Publish is again at it, this time with California’s minimal wage. Right here is their story titled “California quick meals eating places have lower 10,000 jobs due to state’s $20 minimal wage: commerce group.” Behold:

“California quick meals eating places have slashed practically 10,000 jobs due to the state’s new $20 minimal wage as struggling franchises lower labor prices and lift costs to outlive, a serious commerce group stated Thursday. […]

“Manzo stated practically 10,000 jobs have been lower throughout quick meals eating places since Newsom signed California Meeting Invoice 1287 into legislation final 12 months, including that officers had been residing in a “fantasyland” by considering that drastic wage will increase will assist staff or companies.”

I imply, if Manzo stated it, it should be true, proper? Effectively, couple of issues.

Barry has written extensively about denominator blindness, i.e. throwing out a quantity with none context in any respect. Is 10,000 restaurant jobs quite a bit, comparatively talking, or just a little? Does the state have 15,000 restaurant jobs total or 1,500,000? Effectively, the quantity could be very near the latter — practically 1.5m (1.470 million):

So, 10ok on 1.470 million is lower than 1 p.c — 0.68% to be actual. However is it even true? No. It isn’t. Since final August, simply previous to Newsom signing the laws, employment within the sector is flat, altering by such a small quantity as to be statistically insignificant (+2k):

Misinformation, significantly from the precise, sadly, is now ubiquitous. Many individuals merely need their priors confirmed, and proper wing shops are very happy to oblige. I’m reminded, but once more, of the well-known Jonathan Swift line: “A Lie Can Journey Midway Across the World Whereas the Fact Is Placing On Its Sneakers.” That is the world during which we now stay. Query every thing.


Spent a while investigating the origins of Manzo’s NY Publish declare and located myself (suprise!) on the Hoover Establishment, which apparently riffed off a narrative that appeared within the WSJ in March. The Journal did the mathematics as follows:

California had 726,600 individuals working in fast-food and different limited-service eateries in January, down 1.3% from final September, when the state backed a deal for the elevated wages.

So, couple of issues:

The Journal, Hoover, and Publish used a subset of restaurant staff, i.e. SMU06000007072259001 Restricted-Service Eating places and Different Consuming Locations. Truthful sufficient, though it solely captures, as famous, a subset of the whole class, and the opposite, full-service eating places, might have been rising. However no matter. We’ll go along with it.

I’m 99.9% sure that the Journal obtained the quantity from BLS. Nevertheless, fairly importantly, BLS solely affords the collection with out seasonal adjustment, which might make a significant distinction, as we will see. The St. Louis Fed’s FRED – one of many web’s best assets – takes many collection and seasonally adjusts them. Which produces this shorter-term look. Hmm. Doesn’t appear to jibe with the Journal’s narrative.

To spotlight the significance of seasonal changes, beneath is an extended view of the identical collection with out seasonal changes. What’s fascinating is that the collection peaks annual within the fall (when Newsom signed the laws) and drops precipitously by January; that is the precise timeframe deceitfully focused by the Journal.

Wanting on the chart above in desk format (from 2010), it turns into fairly evident that, on a NSA foundation, the trough on this collection happens, with precision, in January. Each January. Save for the 12 months of the pandemic:

So the Journal — both intentionally or accidentally — took benefit of the discrepancy between the Sept and Jan NSA and SA differential:

A pal on the St. Louis Fed confirmed the shenanigans: “Utilizing NSA knowledge is likely one of the commonest errors I see in knowledge reporting.   Even after I speak to the general public individuals appear skeptical of the seasonal adjustment course of and why it’s finished.”

So, the purpose stays: Wall St. Journal, Hoover, NY Publish are usually not the place you need to be getting your information, assuming you’re a truth-seeker.


Barry provides: There are two unhealthy gamers right here: The partisans who know they’re abusing the info, and the naive journos being taken benefit of whose editors are too innumerate to grasp even fundamental modeling points like seasonal changes.

The issue with this nonsense comes from Brandolini’s legislation: The quantity of vitality wanted to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude greater than that wanted to provide it…


Thanks, Joe! Updating Brandon’s Eating places (June 6, 2024)

Brandon’s Eating places (Might 30, 2024)

Seattle Examine’s Surprising Conclusion: Minimal Wage Will increase Advantages Staff (October 31, 2018)

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