Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Truth in Press Release

I know I'm a fairly cynical person but I'm still capable of being surprised by the amount of spin used by politicians.

For exhibit A, I present our current 2016 Presidential candi........ um I mean Governor of the Great State of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

Last week his office (again this is really not the Governor's fault it's the politically aggressive consultants that surround him) put out a press release touting the fact that there are more than 82,000 jobs available in NYS right now.  Sounds great!

But, and you know there has to be a but, the reality is a little different.  Reading into the details on the actual website we find some interesting facts.

1) The employers with the largest number of job openings in EVERY region of the state are either

* Hospitals (thank you NYS for spending more on Medicaid than Texas and Florida combined!) or

* Colleges/Universities (thank you student debt bubble).

There are two exceptions - in Western NY Geico runs a huge call center and needs lots of low wage call center employees and in NYC where the Fire Department has over 1,000 openings despite the fact that fires and fire deaths are at record lows.

So, there is nothing inherently dishonest about this item, but if you lead with a statement like “We are seeing more businesses come and expand here in our state which in turn is creating more job opportunities for New Yorkers," but most of the largest openings exist with hospitals and colleges that have been around for 100 plus years, it's at best a little white lie.

2) The VAST majority of the available jobs are retail (categorized as Sales) and clerical.

3) The job site tool allows jobs in neighboring states to show up in the search results so the total of 82,000 available jobs may be misleading.  In fact, on the day of the press release a company called Air Wisconsin was listed as having 1,100 available positions in NY that have subsequently disappeared.

There is some good news to spread on the rebound in NYS which has largely been driven by the stock market recovery.  That is an okay story to tell, but when people try to spin a story to fit their narrative (ie, we need to show all of NYS recovering) it leads to press releases that less representative of the truth.

Update - The market exploded higher on the Rep Boehner news - up over 100pts - but when the Rep Boehner's office denied that deal via twitter (and then deleted that denial), the market didn't even really sell-off.

Buy the rumor and sell the news is the traditional model, but it might be evolving into buy the rumor, buy the news and buy for the sake of buying!!!


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