Fun With Numbers.

Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

It just didn’t feel right to me that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 243,000 jobs were created in January, so I dug into the data, and it seems that the FACTS are slightly different (shocking).  So, it makes one wonder whether the Obama administration is doing a little election year tweaking.  I can’t say that I blame him.  Statistics being what they are, and the American span of attention being what it is, I would do the same thing – if I wanted to get re-elected – I think.

I am really NOT trying to depress you.  But, here are the numbers – the ACTUAL numbers:

The seasonal adjustment fudge that is added to the mix grossly overstates what the actual survey data showed. Here’s a picture. The red line is the actual survey numbers. The blue line is the fake seasonally adjusted number.

graphic1440 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January
Remember: Red… actual. Blue… fake.
Just so you know your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, let’s zoom in to just the past 13 months.
graphic1441 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January
There you have it. The headline, fake, number was up by 243,000, purportedly the biggest increase since 2006. But what’s this? The actual survey number showed a decrease of 1.1 million jobs. In the world of seasonally adjusted government data, down can be up.

There are times when one questions a report as possibly being wrong or in error, and then there are times when one has to raise a flag and say “This is an intentionally false picture being presented by a government agency.”

Remember that last month, the alleged 200,000 jobs that were gained were a phantom; when one looked inside the household data we found instead deterioration in both the employment participation rate and a decline in the absolute number of employed persons, while population rose. That is, the actual counts (as opposed to black-box statements) said that the labor picture deteriorated in December, contrary to the reported numbers.

This month it was worse. Far worse.

Let’s start with the “base picture” that is causing the cheering:

 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

That nice red line looks good, right? Well……

 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

“Not in labor force” numbers leaped upward on an annualized basis (seasonally adjusted the “right way”) and what’s worse, on a raw basis, 1.572 million people exited the labor force last month.

This is reflected in the percentage of those not in the labor force as a percentage of the working-age population, which hit an all-time high going back to the initiation of the data series that’s been tracked since 1999:

 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

That’s 0.6% of the entire labor force that departed the working population in one month, three times the alleged drop in the unemployment rateThis means that internally, the numbers were even worse than they first appeared!

 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

Indeed, the total number of employed persons fell. A lot. To put a number on it, the total number of employed persons fell by 737,000 by actual count.

Now the cheerleaders will state that this is a common thing in January, and indeed it is. But the correct adjustment is to look at the population increase and subtract that back off as well. In other words, we take the loss of employment and add the population growth. When we do this we get a whopping 2.422 million in the wrong directionwhich was bested only by the -2.618 million in January of 2009 during the heart of this recession!

In fact, other than January 2009, there has never been a single month in the whole table, which dates back to 1999, that put up a worse combined number. This “performance” rates a literal “second from utter despair and disaster”, and the employment rate shows it:

 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

This is not a strong report folks, and in fact documents an actual and ongoing collapse in the US labor force, despite the crooning on the mainstream media disinformation channels!

It appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that’s not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying professional jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing jobs. So much for the improvement.

Chart below shows it all.

People%20Not%20In%20Labor%20Force Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

And Labor Force Participation:

Participation%20Rate Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

This is the largest absolute jump in ‘Persons Not In Labor Force’ on record…and biggest percentage jump in 30 years.

20120202 notinlabor 0 Contrary to Government Claims of 243,000 Jobs Created, Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Were Actually LOST In January

Chart: Bloomberg

  • In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,565,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 1,145,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,420,000.
  • In January, the Civilian Labor Force rose by 508,000.
  • In January, those “Not in Labor Force” rose by an amazing 1,177,000. 
  • If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed.
  • Participation Rate fell .3 to 63.7%, taking out a 1984 low
  • Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.

Some of those labor force numbers are due to annual revisions. However, the point remains: People are dropping out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low.

The official unemployment rate is 8.3%. However, if you start counting all the people that want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc., you get a closer picture of what the unemployment rate is. That number is in the last row labeled U-6.

U-6 is much higher at 15.1%. Both numbers would be way higher still, were it not for millions dropping out of the labor force over the past few years.

Given the complete distortions of reality with respect to not counting people who allegedly dropped out of the work force, it is easy to misrepresent the headline numbers. Digging under the surface, the drop in the unemployment rate is nothing but a statistical mirage.

In January, those “Not in Labor Force” rose by a staggering 1,177,000. Things are much worse than the reported numbers indicate.

Either there is something massively changed in the income tax collection world, or there is something very, very suspicious about this BLS hugely positive number.

Actual jobs, not seasonally adjusted, are down 2.9 million over the past two months. It is only after seasonal adjustments – made at the sole discretion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics economists – that 2.9 million fewer jobs gets translated into 446,000 new seasonally adjusted jobs. Wow! If Santorum would stop talking about trans-vaginal probes and focus on the real jobs numbers, he might just get elected, but thank God I guess, for small miracles.

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About Steve King

iPeopleFINANCE™ Chief Operating Officer. Former CEO of Endymion Systems, Inc. a $36m Information Systems Services company. Co-founder of the Cambridge Systems Group, the creator of ACF2, the leading IBM Mainframe Data Center Security product; acquired by Computer Associates. IBM, seeCommerce, marchFIRST, Connectandsell alumni. UC Berkeley alumni. View all posts by Steve King

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