Saturday, October 6, 2012

The miraculous, misleading jobs report

The alleged improvement in the US unemployment rate is a chimera from beginning to end.  Here's why.

First of all, we've known for a long time that the government is lying about the jobless rate.  I've already covered this in depth in three previous articles, so I won't bother repeating their content here.  Please go read them at the links below, in the order listed:

It's as clear as daylight why such a miraculous improvement in the unemployment rate should surface in October 2012.  As Newsbusters points out:

Pundits have been saying for months this number had to drop below 8 percent for it not to be a hindrance to President Obama's reelection chances.

Guess what? A month before the election, it has!  And President Obama immediately proclaimed that the news was "a sign the still-sluggish economy is moving forward".


If you believe both the official unemployment rate and that claim, there's a bridge in Brooklyn, NYC that I'd like to sell you.  Cash only, please, and in small bills.

Having already demonstrated (in the three articles linked at the beginning of this post) how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 'massages' data and changes the way in which it analyzes it to conform to political priorities, I don't see how anyone with an IQ above 50 could accept this latest statistic.  To take only the most glaring discrepancy, Zero Hedge points out:

Cutting to the chase: the September surge in Seasonally Adjusted jobs give to 20-24 year old is the biggest in decades. This is on top of the only positive NSA increase in 20-24 year old jobs in history.

. . .

... one thing remains outstanding: the record amount of student loans outstanding, and defaults, which as we explained last Friday, is indicative of one thing: everyone is doing their best to avoid the labor market in this worst possible time for jobs and is hiding instead in the "safety" of a Federally funded college education. This explains not only the record amount of student loans outstanding, well over $1 trillion in total, and over $900 billion just Federally funded.

So somehow in September, in addition to all the other discrepancies in the labor report, we have one more to add: that of the Schrodinger Student: one who is both in college and piling up student loans on one hand, yet on the other hand entering the work force in the month of September, a time when historically every single month in recorded history has seen an exit from the labor force for the 20-24 year old cohort.

There's more at the link.  Bold print is my emphasis.

I submit that the extraordinary nature of those statistics alone (illustrated in graphical form at the link) speak for themselves.  When you add to that the fact that these are 'adjusted' figures - adjusted by the BLS using complex, complicated and ill-explained factors they determine for themselves, or which are determined for them by their political and bureaucratic masters - it becomes appallingly clear that these figures have about as much relationship to reality as I have to Helen of Troy.

Needless to say, the Obama administration won't admit this - in fact, they're fighting back already.  CNN reports:

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis criticized the conspiracy theories Friday.

"This is a methodology that's been used for decades. And it is insulting when you hear people just cavalierly say that somehow we're manipulating numbers," Solis told CNN's Richard Quest.

Again, more at the link.

Well, Secretary Solis, let me say this publicly and for the record.  The BLS's methodology has not been used for decades in its present form - it's been repeatedly adjusted and 'massaged' at the behest of politicians, academics and bureaucrats.  (According to John Williams of - who gives detailed, reasoned explanations for and the data behind his figures, which I do believe - the current US unemployment rate, measured at its broadest [U-6] rather than its narrowest [U-3], is currently well over 20%!)  Furthermore, the latest unemployment figures specifically admit that some of the numbers have been 'adjusted' by the BLS.  They're not actual data, but interpreted data.  Interpreted how?  'Adjusted' according to what criteria?

Secretary Solis, I know that you're manipulating numbers.  The official explanation that these are 'adjusted' figures is in itself de facto proof that you're manipulating numbers.  If you wish to take that as an insult, that's your problem.  It's not an insult - it's the truth (a concept with which you - and the Obama administration in general - may once, perhaps, have been familiar?).



JGlanton said...

Maybe all those 20-24 year olds are working on the Obama campaign as part time jobs during college.

Anonymous said...

Actually from what I understand the "household survey" counts work done for the family, work done around the house, unpaid work, etc.
So, my household? We all have part-time jobs cleaning the house (yes, despite what the kids did to the kitchen on Friday!) I also have a job as a publisher, and a job as a writer, and a job as a cover designer and... oh, my. You'd think I was five people, I'm so over-employed.

You can see how that quickly adds up to a whole lot of jobs, which is WHY these are not normally taken in account on unemployment percentage.

Unless they're useful to El Presidente, of course.