Minnesota’s revised 2008 job loss figures: 55,000, not 39,000

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s estimate of December job losses in the state comes to 11,800–so far. But today’s release also included a substantial revision to previously released November numbers–and an object lesson in the difficulties of following statistics and projections that are changing practically moment by moment at this point.

Here’s the critical part of the DEED release, with my emphasis added:

The state’s employment count for November was revised downward by 13,366. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and DEED adjusted the job numbers based on closer investigation of state and national job trends. Most other states were required to make similar adjustments. Including the revisions, Minnesota has now lost 55,400 or 2 percent of its jobs in the past year, matching the U.S. rate of job losses.

As I noted in my earlier post this morning, the number of jobs lost in Minnesota for 2008 that was being bandied about the Capitol just last week was roughly 39,000. The new number, 55,000+, underscores just how rapidly the economy is losing ground beneath the feet of bean-counters and prognosticators. 

Here’s another footnote about the obsolete-upon-release character of a lot of current employment numbers and projections: The other day I referred to a report released just last weekend by the US Conference of Mayors that estimated the Twin Cities area would lose some 14,000 jobs in 2009. That number seemed low to me, so I asked DEED research director Steve Hine about it earlier this week. He agreed that it seemed absurdly low when you consider that roughly 2/3 of the state’s jobs are in the Twin Cities metro; perhaps, Hine speculated, that report was prepared on the basis of projections from October or November ’08–which are worlds apart from the estimates being produced now.


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