Accounting for yesterday’s statistical optimism

The monthly labour force survey put out by Statistics Canada is an estimate of employment in any given motnh and, in fact, on a monthly basis, there can be fairly wide swings (remember 1,000 jobs as a percentage of 350,000 jobs is only 0.3%).  In other words, many of the monthly swings in employment are probably within some margin of error.  I prefer to focus either on year over year comparisons (Feb 2009 to Feb 2010) or annualized data – comparing September 2010 to May 2010 is not a good idea, IMO.

Anyway, Stats Can finally got around to adjusting the base data from 2001 to 2006 which shows a fairly steep decline in total employment in the province.  This was to be expected.  The estimated population in 2006 in NB was something like 750k – based on the older trending.  The actual population from the Census was something like 729k.  The changes they are making now are attempting to rectify the 750k to the 729k.

But this change does nothing to impact real life although there can be implications for transfer payments that are based on per capita data.  You might remember the big flap after the 2001 Census when NB turned out to have less population than was estimated when calculated transfers.

In the end, the numbers earlier on were based on more optimistic projections.  Now they are revised to reflect reality.

The current reality.