"FACT: Unemployment has not decreased since @WVGovernor took office."
Unemployment has fallen throughout the country in recent years. But the Democratic Party of West Virginia said in a recent tweet that it has not fallen on the watch of the Republican Government Jim Justice.
In a January 9 chatter, the state party wrote: "FACT: unemployment has not decreased since @WVGovernor took office. #wvpol # WVSOTS19"
Is that correct? We decided to find out. (We contacted a party representative but did not receive a response.)
Justice, elected as a Democrat in 2016, entered service on January 16, 2017. That month, unemployment in West Virginia was 5.3 percent.
Justice became a republican on August 3, 2017. That month the unemployment rate of the state was 5.2 percent.
And today? In the most recent month available, December 2018, unemployment in West Virginia was 5.1 percent.
Is that a dramatic decline? No. But contrary to what the tweet says, it is a decline.
It is worth it to notice a limitation of data, said Brian Lego, a research assistant professor at West Virginia University. Because the population of West Virginia is small, he said, the margin of error for the survey used to track the unemployment rate is large enough to create uncertainty about small changes in the data, as seen during the tenure of justice.
"The change is statistically insignificant," Lego said.
He added that regular revisions by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which collects the data, may produce small changes that affect the comparison.
The Democratic Party of West Virginia tweeted: "FACT: Unemployment has not diminished since @WVGovernor took office."
The unemployment rate in the state actually fell from 5.3 percent to 5.1 percent on Justice's watch. That said, it was an extremely narrow decline – in fact, economists say that the margin of error for the survey in question casts doubt on how big the decline was.
We judge the pronunciation Most False.