Monday, February 5, 2018

Does "lowest" mean something different in Georgia than it does in Texas?

Today PolitiFact National, posing as PolitiFact Georgia, called it "Mostly True" that Georgia has the lowest minimum wage in the United States.

Georgia law sets the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour, the same rate Wyoming uses, and the federal minimum wage of $7.25 applies to all but a very few Georgians. PolitiFact National Georgia hit Democrat Stacey Evans with a paltry "Mostly True" rating:
Evans said Georgia "has the lowest minimum wage in the country."

Georgia’s minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is the lowest in the nation, but Wyoming also has the same minimum wage.

Also, most of Georgia’s workers paid hourly rates earn the federal minimum of $7.25.

Evans’ statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information. We rate it Mostly True.
Sounds good. No problem. Right?

Eh. Not so fast.

Why is it okay in Georgia for "lowest" to reasonably reflect a two-way tie with Wyoming, but in Texas using "lowest" where there's a three-way tie earns the speaker a "False" rating?



How did PolitiFact Texas justify the "False" rating it gave the Republican governor (bold emphasis added)?
Abbott tweeted: "The Texas unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been in 40 years & Texas led the nation last month in new job creation."

The latest unemployment data posted when Abbott spoke showed Texas with a 4 percent unemployment rate in September 2017 though that didn't set a 40-year record. Rather, it tied the previous 40-year low set in two months of 2000.

Abbott didn’t provide nor did we find data showing jobs created in each state in October 2017.

Federal data otherwise indicate that Texas experienced a slight decrease in jobs from August to September 2017 though the state also was home to more jobs than a year earlier.

We rate this claim False.
 A tie goes to the Democrat, apparently.

We do not understand why it is not universally recognized that PolitiFact leans left.



Correction/clarification Feb. 5, 2018:
Removed unneeded "to" from the second paragraph. And added a needed "to" to the next-to-last sentence.


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