Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Senate GOP Caucus Calls for Audit of Patrick Administration’s Job-Counting Methodology

The Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus is calling on State Auditor Suzanne Bump to conduct an audit of the Patrick Administration’s methodology for counting the number of jobs created in Massachusetts, following reports that the Administration has been inflating the official jobs figures for 2011 by nearly fourfold.

I joined with my Senate Republican colleagues in requesting the review in a letter that was hand-delivered to the Auditor’s office early yesterday. The request follows the disclosure by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that Massachusetts employers added only 12,200 jobs in 2011, not the 40,700 jobs repeatedly claimed by the Patrick Administration.

“With the Commonwealth struggling to emerge from one of the most difficult recessions in our nation’s history, the need to focus on jobs creation has taken on added significance,” the Caucus wrote. “Being able to accurately gauge the number of jobs being created on a monthly and yearly basis is crucial to determining how effective the state’s regulatory and tax policies are, and for guiding the Legislature and the Administration in adjusting those policies in a way that will be most conducive to creating a more favorable business climate that will encourage job growth and put Massachusetts residents back to work.”

The Caucus letter goes on to note that, “unfortunately, the true picture of the state’s economic recovery has been clouded by what appears to be the Patrick Administration’s reliance on a faulty means of counting the number of jobs being added,” and asks Bump to look into “the accuracy and efficacy of the state’s current job-counting methodology.”

While the Patrick Administration has repeatedly claimed that Massachusetts is “leading the nation” in job growth, the Caucus notes in its letter that a new report recently issued by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce shows that isn’t the case. According to the Chamber, the state has been trailing the nation in job creation, posting a job growth rate of 0.4% between January of 2011 and January of 2012, well below the national rate of 1.5 % during that same time period.

The Caucus considers the latest job creation figures to be particularly relevant, coming on the heels of the Senate and House Republicans’ filing of a comprehensive and innovative legislative package designed to help create and maintain jobs. The jobs package focuses on five key areas identified as crucial to the state’s economic growth, including business regulations, education, energy, healthcare and taxes.

“We are committed to removing the many obstacles that have and continue to impede job creation in the Commonwealth, but to ensure that these efforts are successful, an accurate understanding of how many jobs are actually being created and maintained is essential,” the Caucus wrote to Bump. “An audit by your office will help us to achieve this worthy goal.”

A copy of the Caucus letter to Auditor Bump is attached below.

Senate GOP Job Figures Audit Request 2012.03.13