Jobs Number Quackery

Professor Drake
Professor Drake

Who’s running the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Professor Ludwig von Drake?

OK, so we got 236,000 jobs added to payrolls. Look beyond that number to see what the economy is really showing. ZeroHedge put aside the praise and found this:

When it comes to government data, every silver lining has a cloud. Sure enough even today’s NFP number, which on the surface was quite acceptable, had its share of thorny issues.

Those who track the quality composition of the jobs, as opposed to just the quantity, will know that the part and full-time jobs breakdown has long been a major issue. And not unexpectedly, in February according to the Household Survey, the number of full-time jobs declined by 77K from 115,918 to 115,841. The offset: a jump in part-time workers which rose from 27,467 to 27,569, or 102K. Part-time jobs, for those who are unaware, are “jobs” only in the broadest of definitions.

But the most surprising development in February from a quality standpoint was that the number of multiple job-holders rose by a massive 340K, which just happens to be a record. One wonders: how many actual people got new jobs, as opposed to how many qualified single individuals ended up getting more than one job in February in order to boost that much needed weekly income to sustainable levels.


However this takes place as the January number was revised from 157K to 119K. The unemployment rate slides to 7.7%, on expectations of a 7.9%. This was the lowest unemployment rate since December of 2008. The civilian labor force dropped as usual from 63.6% to 63.5%.

Not so fabulous.

Neither is this from CNSNews:

The number of Americans designated as “not in the labor force” in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work.

The increase marks the second month in a row, after rising in January from 88.8 million in December. Those not in the labor force had declined in December from 88.9 million in November.

In addition, employment among Hispanics was 9.6%; blacks 13.8% and teenagers 25.1%.

The BLS is playing with its numbers with as much certitude and reality as Walt’s Von Drake. At least we knew he wasn’t real.

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