Casa Presidencial appears very optimistic

The collective noses at the central government seem to be putting on a little length a la Pinocchio.

The business Internet service Central American Data issued a blistering editorial about how the government described a new public procurement system.

And then Thursday Casa Presidencial issued a glowing report on how unemployment had dropped even though the issuing agency said that the report showed no statistically significant changes.

Central American Data took issue with what the central government said was a new procurement system. It was, the news source said in an editorial, “the exact same Mer-Link which has been used up until now.”

“The announcement that SICOP is ‘a new system’ is beyond grotesque, it is a mockery for those – in the productive sector – who are waiting for solutions that will reduce the cost of doing business in Costa Rica,” the news outlet said, referring to the system by its acronym in Spanish.

Casa Presidencial also cited a probability survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos in glowing terms.

The survey results published Thursday morning showed a new reduction in the unemployment rate, confirming the decreasing trend announced by the government based on earlier studies, said the Casa Presidencial announcement.

The government said that the unemployment rate had dropped from 10 to 9.2 percent in the last year.

But even the issuing institute said these changes were not statistically significant, something the Spanish Language newspaper La Nación finally picked up in its story on unemployment.

In a probability survey a thousand or more persons are questioned and then their results are projected on the entire population. The technique is valuable and is used for marketing and even showing the standings of presidential candidates.

However, the technique has a lot of wiggle room. Even the statistical institute says it has 95 percent confidence in the numbers. That means there is a 95 percent chance that the real situation is within the broad margins of error of the survey.

In fact, the survey shows that the total number of people employed had decreased and the number of persons employed in the so-called informal sector had increased. Both changes also did not seem to be statistically significant.

The institute further refined its latest report and said that the unemployed population could be from 188,964 to 231,436 at the 95 percent confidence interval for July, August and September.

According to an earlier institute survey during the last three months of 2014 the unemployment was between 200,879 and 239,471.

Since both surveys are within the same broad range, there is no statistical difference, even though Casa Presidencial gave a list of government programs that supposed had brought about reduced unemployment.

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