Karma Still a Bitch: Seattle Min Wage Edition

@TBPInvictus here (second time today!):

Although it bears absolutely no relevance to the city of Seattle proper, AEI’s Mark Perry spent a fair bit of time last year tracking and reporting on the level of “Food Services and Drinking Places” employees (often considered a proxy for minimum wage workers) in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), an area that geographically dwarfs the city itself and has five or six times the population. None of that mattered to Perry – see here, here for two examples. (Series SMU53426607072200001SA at FRED.)

As the old saying goes, live by the faulty data point, die by the faulty data point. The irrelevant metric Perry could not help but flog has just hit a new all-time high, and it looks like revisions have smoothed out some of last year’s hiccups. Now, none of this makes the series any more relevant to the matter at hand – Seattle’s minimum wage increase – but it does go to highlight the risk one runs when a) flogging irrelevant data and b) doing so in more-or-less real-time, prior to revisions. I cannot stress enough the uselessness of looking at the MSA and making an inference about the city; it is beyond pointless.

Here’s a look at the chart you will most definitely not be seeing over at the AEI website.


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