700 Million Trillion Gajillion Jobs

100s of thousands

Many hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost…um, no.

Today's U.S. Senate vote on increasing the federal minimum wage brought out the best (or worst) arguments from opponents of the proposed legislation.

Many of those arguments, like the one you see at right, focused on the scare tactic of projecting massive job losses from a minimum wage increase. In this particular case, the Tweet at right says that "raising the minimum wage will cost Coloradans 100's of thousands of jobs."

Really? Hundreds of thousands?

Similar arguments have been made in Colorado regarding jobs and fracking.You can't restrict fracking!!! That will cost Colorado 500,000 jobs!!!

With all of these big numbers floating around, it made us wonder: Exactly how many jobs are there in Colorado? Is this kind of growth even remotely possible?

So, with those questions in mind, we took a little tour through the website of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and more specifically, the section on labor statistics. What we found is pretty much along the lines of what we thought we'd find: It is ridiculous to claim that anything specific could increase or decrease the number of Colorado jobs by 100,000 or more. We even made a graphic about it. Want to see it? Here it goes:

Colorado job statistics

This here is what they call a ‘graphic’ or ‘chart.’

As you can see from the aforementioned graphical chart thing that we produced, Colorado added a total of about 49,800 jobs in the last 6 years combined. That's every industry we're talking about — including the oil and gas industry.

With total nonfarm jobs in Colorado somewhere around 2.4 million, it would take an effort of gargantuan proportion to add or subtract many hundreds of thousands of jobs. You could argue with a straight face that 300,000 jobs will be added/subtracted over the course of several decades, but that's not really the implication in these talking points, now is it?

There are many arguments to be made for and against any subject, but once you start throwing big numbers around as casually as you might close important roads just to be a dick*, then you're really drifting into the land of imaginary facts. You're making shit up, in other words. 


*Take that, Chris Christie! Go insult some other state!

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. horseshit GOP front group says:

    This is what Moderatus has been explaining to us for so long.  Why couldn't we just have listened ?  (insert hyperbolic figure here) of jobs !!!

  2. Progressicat says:

    The big numbers are clearly a load based on a report last year in the DP: Jobs in Colorado's oil and gas fields swell to nearly 30,000  The study of 2012 numbers found that the sector employed 51,000 total statewide.  Since that number includes folks like gas station attendents and even O&G folks not involved in fracking, we can assume that not everyone in the sector would be affected.

    To get to halfa million impacted, you'd have to explain how more than 9 times as many ancilliary jobs as are in the entire sector would be lost.

  3. Andrew Carnegie says:

    The CBO estimated it would cost 50,000 jobs nationwide.  That translates to between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs in Colorado. Udall thinks it would be a good thing to have 5,000 to 10,000 more folks in Colorado unemployed?

    • MichaelBowman says:

      You're suggesting that Colorado is going to suffer between 10%-20% of the brunt of the entire CBO-projected losses when our total, non-farm labor pool is less than 2% of the US pool? (1,972,27 Colorado v. 1,113,425,965 US)

      • MichaelBowman says:

        That's 1,972,271 employed in CO v. 113,425,965 nationally.  My math tells me that's 1.74%.  Evenly distributed across the US labor pool, that would indicate a number of 869 for Colorado.  Not 5,000.  Not 10,000.  869. 

    • ct says:

      really?  that's how you do math.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      The CBO estimate was a loss of 500,000 jobs, not 50,000 jobs.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        …and I'm going to take the bet that this projected 'loss of jobs' will end up being about as real as all of the jobs we were going to lose in Colorado when we reformed the Payday Loan industry?  Do you remember the shrill cries from the Colorado Republicans about this 'job killing move by the Democrats'?  In case you missed the committee hearings and floor debate, there was a LOT of drama.

        You'll be shocked to know that none of those outcomes came to fruition.  In fact, it's estimated the reform has kept an additional $40 million in the pockets of wage earners who are the least amongst us.  And the jobs?  While there are fewer stores, the ones that remained are larger with more employees. 

        My point?  Even if the overall employment in that sector went down, the overall economic effect was more than offset by the increase in disposable income to the affected wage-earners.

        An increase in the national minimum wage will play out no differently than the Payday Loan reform played out at a state level.  The overall effect will be a positive one. 

        • Andrew Carnegie says:

          Michael, If you actually believe that, why not raise the rate to $20 per hour?

          • MichaelBowman says:

            Seriously, Andrew, those straw man arguments are beneath even you.  Even though, as you well know, had the minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be in the $20+ range today.  The $10.10 is a reasonable compromise to get us back on the path of putting some equity in that system.  And  here I am, arguing with a troll who would rather there be no minimum at all…

    • langelomisterioso says:

      I'mslightly amazed and amused at how trustworthy the CBO has gotten.Whenever they announced that the negative impacts from the PPACA would not be as severe as wingnuts had been squealing their reports were not to be listened to because of their innaccuracy and the geneal unreliability of their data.Now however the wingnuts have decided the CBO is a virtual paragon of accuracy and trustworthiness.  I beleive this tells you a lot more about wingnuts than about the CBO.

  4. notaskinnycook says:

    I don't get it. do the righties not understand that the economy is still draging ass because the largest part of it, consumer spending, is in the pits? The wealthiest save or invest the lion's share of their income, while those who earn the least spend the greatest share of their income on STUFF! Even if "stuff" is only food and clothing, the poorest people have little choice but to spend it as fast as they earn it. But if you can't make rent, you'll have to do without everything else. If the struggling underclass can't afford basics on their income, the middle-class don't profit from their spending and they have less to spend on luxuries which hurts the upper-class who own the big chains. Trickle-down is a myth.Weath trickles up.


  5. Duke Cox says:

    Sorry to have to tell you, Pols, but there is no such number as "a gajillion"…it's gazillion…with a "Z".   wink

    • Harley says:

      @Duke—No matter which way you spell it–there is still no such number.  LOL!

      And a question to all:  Having been a farm boy in another life—I have yet to figure out why farm workers are NOT allowed to have a minimum wage—WHY? Many hired hands work 16/18 hours a day, (especially during harvest), and still get just a set amount.

      The average farmer in the United States is worth well over a Million Dollars, (that included the land he/she owns, federal subsidies, sales of crops, equipment, etc.) and nobody will answer that question.

      • Duke Cox says:

        I have yet to figure out why farm workers are NOT allowed to have a minimum wage—WHY?

        The agricultural lobby in the U.S. congress.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          Call it the 'Ghosts of Cliven Bundy' lobby.  They're still mad they can't get their labor for 'free'.

          • Harley says:

            Well, yeah, I do suppose that IS the reason.

            Just like the National Western Stock show refuses to pay overtime for the workers during the show because "it is an agricultural event".

            And many of those they refuse to pay are employed year round who ARE paid overtime during the rest of the year.

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