1. Every Thursday for something like the last year, the previous week’s new claim report was quietly revised up.
2. This year’s early-season data was adjusting heavily for weather even though we had a very warm Winter. There is reason to believe employment conditions were overstated, meaning late-year reports will have to understate jobs.
3. Birth-death adjustments have been abnormally high and are rumored to be overstating exits from the economy significantly.
4. We are at historic lows for LF participation rate. This has benign explanations and not-so-benign explanations. One of the pieces of really bad news is that many of these folks are erroneously removed from the labor force by virtue of falling off of long-term unemployment rolls at historic rates after occupying them at historic rates.
5. Nearly all the jobs added since 2009 are bad ones: part time, under-employing jobs. Jobs are not created equal, and the ones created under this administration suck.
What do you guys think?
» Does little improvement = decline? That’s Ezra Klein’s argument on the report. “In this economy, little or no change isn’t good enough,” he says. “We added 80,000 jobs in June. That’s not enough to keep up with population growth. So, in the context of our growing workforce, the labor market lost ground last month.”
» Editor’s note: And because this comes up EVERY SINGLE MONTH, the unemployment rate above is the U3 unemployment rate, the standard that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses. If you use the U6 unemployment rate (which includes people unemployed but not currently looking for work, or working part-time for economic reasons), it jumps to 14.9 percent, which is up from last month.
Based on one report, it’s as if the president’s full economic agenda is either brilliant or moronic. Get good numbers and you’re Keynes reincarnate. Get bad numbers and you can’t add.Vice President Biden’s former chief economist Jared Bernstein • Discussing the process that goes into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment reports, reports which have taken on new importance as the 2012 election hits. (The numbers showed slight improvement Friday, with the unemployment rate staying steady but jobs levels increasing.) Highly recommend you read the Washington Post’s piece on the matter, which goes in depth explaining exactly what happens to bring those numbers — numbers which can define the entire debate over the next month — to reality. It’s fascinating.
goddamnedpansies asks: Wouldn't the increased job numbers be partly due to the abundance of seasonal jobs that will unfortunately disappear once the holiday season is over?
» SFB says: Well, the unemployment numbers and jobs numbers are seasonally-adjusted, so while that’s a possibility, it’s just as likely that was already compensated for. But there could be some weirdness that affects the numbers. For example, the Verizon strike a couple months back threw off the numbers significantly. — Ernie @ SFB
ilyagerner said: The BLS explanation in their release was that previous months’ job numbers were underestimated. Inability write their press releases in plain English is a problem for the BLS (yglesias.thinkprogress….)
» We say: Worth noting that this is true. You’d think that with a government the size of ours, they’d cut through the clutter and explain this in a meaningful way. Possibly they should considering hiring us to explain their next report?