Thursday, 9 April 2009

Does Timothy Quinn think lower water exports caused the recession?

I saw a reference in a media report that Timothy Quinn, director of the Association of California Water Contractors (ACWA), said “there have been 2.6 million jobs lost in California due to the current water crisis.”

There have been many exagerrations made by peripheral canal advocates through the debate, but this would be the ultimate whopper if he really said it. I’ve been misquoted enough in the press that I do give people the benefit of the doubt, so I found the Powerpoint of his presentation here to check.

Quinn’s 2.6 million number is the lost U.S. jobs in 2008 in all sectors, so it doesn’t look like he technically said anything untrue. However, this statistic is completely unrelated to the water crisis and is presented in a way to easily confuse audiences (note all the pictures of water impacts all around it and the headline on the slide). It clearly confused that reporter, and probably others in the audience. [Reminds me of how President Bush never actually said Iraq and 9/11 were connected, but by continuously referring to them in the same sentence and paragraph, people thought thought it was true.]

Quinn’s presentation also includes 2 shots of the Sacramento Bee story with the exagerrated unemployment approaching 40% statistic I discussed here. Finally, it gives the 90,000 lost farm jobs statewide from the drought prediction. The current data has yet to show any farm job losses. As I have discussed many times on this blog, I believe we will eventually see lost farm jobs as the year progresses, but we haven’t seen it yet and water exporters have been reporting predictions as current fact.

ACWA (the group Quinn directs) regularly visits this blog, and will surely read this post. Perhaps they could answer these questions in the comments. What the point of a slide showing 2.6 million lost jobs nationwide in 2008 (surrounded by pictures of water uses) in a presentation about the consequences of the water crisis. If you are going to post current employment numbers, why not post something relevant, like the real current payroll data on farm employment?

Perhaps, they don’t think it would help their claims if people knew that farming has been the fastest growing employment sector in California over the past year. Here is the latest data.

About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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