February 04, 2013

Jobs in the USA and Government Obfuscation

Lets check out the Main Stream Media's latest stories about the job market:


Somehow none of these sources reported that employment declined in January 2013.  Which amount to around 2.84 million.  Note the phrase "Seasonal adjustment" is not used.  Yes, that is odd...

The unemployment rate is 8.5 percent in January.  Which is only .03 below January 2012..

So what is the real scoop?

  • Overall: 157K SA, -2.84 million NSA; January's actual job loss was worse than the 2.635 million seen in January 2012 which generated a 311K seasonally adjusted result. This looks like deterioration to me, not improvement. It also appears, looking at the three preceding years, that January's 157K SA figure could easily and justifiably been as low as 100K.
  • Private sector: +166K SA, -2.345 million NSA; again much worse than the -2.155 million seen in January 2012, and again with the seasonally adjusted number arguably overstated by 50K or more.
  • Health care: +23K SA, -57K NSA; the actual decline in January 2012 was far less (-36K), perhaps indicating that health care employment averaged over 12 months might be close to hitting a plateau.
  • Retail: +33K SA, -592K NSA; in this 2013's actual decline is worse than each of the past three years by 19K-32K. If retail stops adding people over time, look out below.
  • Construction: +28K SA, -272K NSA; this one's a real head-scratcher as to why we should be impressed. Contstruction employment is just over 100,000 greater than it was a year ago, and (seasonally adjusted) is still over (23 percent) below its January 2008 value of peak of 7.476 million. At that rate, it will take about 15 years for construction employment to get back to where it was.
  • Manufacturing: +4K SA, -90K NSA; the NSA number is worse than both 2012 (-65K) and 2011 (-80K). In the past 12 months, seasonally adjusted manufacturing employment is up by 109K, or just under 1 percent.

Let's just say that the MSM does not understand the difference between raw and seasonally adjusted figures.  After all it isn't like their jobs depend upon that...

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