My doctor occasionally accuses me of being a “statistical nihilist.” This usually happens when I challenge his advice and point out there’s a difference between correlation and cause. (He tried not to show it but I think he found my statement that “mash potatoes cause cancer” mildly amusing. I defended my statement by noting that 100% of the people I knew who’d experienced cancer has eaten mashed potatoes at various times in their lives.)
Numbers are interesting as long as they don’t result in kangaroo reasoning (jumping to conclusions). With that as background, the Maine Real Estate Commission recently released some interesting numbers.
In October of 2010 there were 461 active sales agent licenses in Maine. (A sales agent license is the first license and is non-renewable. A sales agent generally has been “in the business” less than two years–three is the maximum, but that requires approval of an extension.) If we compare that to October of 2007 we find the number of sales agents is down a whooping 63% from 1249. Are we tempted to jump to any conclusions?
Before doing so, let’s add another statistic.