Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood are co-editors of The Liscio Report:

The large upward revisions to August payrolls released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning (with jobs data for September) drove conspiracy theorists wild. And they were strong, about three times the usual revision. But, as we pointed out in a report we sent to our clients earlier this week, this is a long-standing pattern. It almost always happens, whether there’s an election coming up or not. Facts here:

August’s gain was revised upward by 46,000, and July’s by 40,000. Almost all the revisions, however, came from an upward revision of 101,000 to local government education in August before seasonal adjustment – a recurrent anomaly at this time of year that we wrote about in Wednesday’s report. The concurrent seasonal adjustment technique distributes large changes like that backwards, so the gain was split between July and August in the adjusted numbers. Some excitable types are attributing the upward revision to political machinations, but this pattern has been around a long time. It’s likely something is amiss in the BLS’s collection process, and they are working on it. There shouldn’t be a recurrent pattern of error like this. (Excitable types should also note that the birth/death model subtracted 9,000 jobs in September.)

-Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood

Perhaps in the future, we should stick with the data professionals and ignore the fools and old men.

Category: Data Analysis, Employment

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

14 Responses to “Public Service Announcement on the Non-farm Payroll”

  1. VennData says:

    And the CEO’s of American had better force GOP lawmakers to the table to do a budget deal.

    Don’t blame Congress.

    YOU asshats CEOs control Congress. YOU asshats are the ones who tell them what you want, and finance their campaigns. YOU asshats need to stop blaming Congress and tell them to sign a long-term deficit deal along the line of Simpson-Bowles.

    Congress is a reflection of the American people. If you’re going to let white, working-class racists decide the future of this country, that’s up to you asshat CEO.

  2. COTanalytics says:

    Are you kidding??
    Can’t you see how they did this?

    Lets say their sample size is 18000. They take a sample size of 20,000 then weed out the miscreants until they get the number they want.

    The ratio of part time workers to total is exactly .66666666

    Only working backwords can you get that!!!

    ~~~

    BR: They worked backwards, otherwise, you say one cannot possibly derive 0.6666 through normal division — say, like 2 divided by 3 ?

    Please go away.

  3. GreatGooglyMoogly says:

    I don’t by the fool or old man bit. Mr. Welch appears to be looking after his self-interests, Romney would benefit him and save him millions more on taxes than Obama. He wants Romney to win, and to that end he will say and do things to accomplish that goal. If you are part of the 2% of the population that makes more than $250k, and you feel that you pay more than your fair share of taxes, then you might want the same thing. Would you go out and say something inaccurate, perhaps even lie, to get to that end? Well that depends on your personal morals, values and ethics. We know where Jack stands.

  4. DeDude says:

    Obviously if the numbers don’t support the already drawn conclusions, someone must have cooked the numbers (no way could there be something wrong with their “gut-feeling”). Now if you look at the first page of the report, todays numbers are in no way out of the long-term trend. So the cooking would have to go back several years in a massive conspiracy. I guess if you don’t like the facts just reject them and make up some “facts” that you like (no need for proving anything just pull it out of your dumb fat a$$ an put it on the table).

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

  5. Frwip says:

    And once again, as with each NFP release, I will turn blue in the face and look like a raving lunatic but …

    But for you all ‘skeptics’/conspiracy theorists out there : if you want a clear picture of what’s going on in the job market, you look at one data series of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Repeat ! You look at ONE DATA SERIES of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    It’s called LNU02300060

    Repeat. IT’S CALLED LNU02300060

    It’s the Unadjusted Employment-Population Ratio – 25-54 yrs. which covers the core, prime age labor population. This statistic is wholly insensitive to demographic changes, labor engagement, propensity to work, etc. and doesn’t suffers from all the small biases which can affect unemployment survey numbers, etc. Then you look at the year-over-year change.

    Go to http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNU02300060
    Click on More Formatting Options
    Select 12-Month Net Change
    Click on Retrieve Data

    And then, you open your eyes and look at the graph in front of you.

    When the curve is above the zero line, it’s good. When it’s below, it’s bad. And right now, the curve is above the zero line. How much above? It doesn’t matter that much as long it’s above and staying that way for months in a row. It means labor conditions are steadily improving and has been solidly doing so since November of last year.

  6. 10x25mm says:

    Actually, the most interesting part of the September NFP report are the fortunes of the 16 – 24 year olds portrayed in Tables A-9 and A-10. 16 & 17 year olds sa their unemployment rate drop 4.0%. 18 & 19 year olds saw their unemployment rate increase 0.1 %. 20 – 24 year olds enjoyed a 1.5% drop in their unemployment. These are SA numbers, but the NSA numbers are consistent. And the 16 – 24 year old age group accounted for 455,000 of the 873,000 more jobs reported in the Household Survey.

    Why would the 18 & 19 year olds fare so much worse than the immediately younger and older age groups? Is the Household Survey a land line survey like most political polls? Could they be having trouble reaching a cell phone only generation?

  7. 10x25mm says:

    Actually, the most interesting part of the September NFP report are the fortunes of the 16 – 24 year olds portrayed in Tables A-9 and A-10. 16 & 17 year olds saw their unemployment rate drop 4.0%. 18 & 19 year olds saw their unemployment rate increase 0.1 %. 20 – 24 year olds enjoyed a 1.5% drop in their unemployment. These are SA numbers, but the NSA numbers are consistent. And the 16 – 24 year old age group accounted for 455,000 of the 873,000 more jobs reported in the Household Survey.

    Why would the 18 & 19 year olds fare so much worse than the immediately younger and older age groups? Is the Household Survey a land line survey like most political polls? Could they be having trouble reaching a cell phone only generation?

  8. victor says:

    Labor participation rate is important to account for when we talk unemployment rate. Here’s a NYT article which proposes that about half of the decline in the participation rate is due to discouraged workers and the other half is due to demographics trends (retiring baby boomers and our young enjoying the life of professional students). The article debunks Romney’s recent assertion that adjusted by the participation rate U would be 11% ? I see a lot people in politics warning us that “the beatings will continue until the moral improves”.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/fact-check-an-11-percent-unemployment-rate/

    Any comments to my comment? kind like a second derivative in math.or an option?

  9. philipat says:

    Lets remove all the debate and just use U-6 as a consistent measure of the true unemployment situation.

  10. theexpertisin says:

    Hats off to those responsible for the 7.8% bottom line unemployment stat.

    I don’t think those hiring knew they were doing so well.

    An October surprise? Who could be so cynical??

  11. pintelho says:

    Something that needs to die or be better proven with charts is the meme “barely keeping up with population growth”

    When I was “growing up” everybody said that the baby boomers were retiring this decade….That’s happening still isn’t it? So the population probably isn’t really growing at all in fact its shrinking. That in and of itself is having an impact on the unemployment rate as the population must be shrinking faster than what people are calculating.

    Whether or not this is healthy is what should be being discussed. All we used to hear about was baby boomers and aging population and the constraints it will have on the economy…but productivity isn’t suffering because the younger generation is more efficient than the last.

    It’s an unfortunate turn of events that we have lived through the worse financial cluster fuck since before our parents were conceived. However, it may have been a necessary flushout of some inequity due to an inneficient sector of the population.

  12. victor says:

    @ pintelho: The US population IS growing; since 2001 (285 MM) to 2011 (312 MM) we added a cool 27 MM (more than the population of today’s Texas or two Pennsylvania’s)!, with the Hispanic population the fastest growing group, see chart:

    http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=country:US&dl=en&hl=en&q=us+population+chart

    And the BLS estimates some 90,000/month NEW entrants in the labor force, for the 2010-2020 decade, somewhat lower than the previous decade, see :

    http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_305.htm

  13. philipat says:

    Here’s a good site with full U-6 data, including a full explanation about U-6.

    Of the BLS and The Household, I prefer the BLS because of a more robust methodology, by U-6 is better again and way more consistent. So lets avoid future arguements and just refer each month to U-6?

    I’m sure that Invictus will find some Liberal refutation of this approach. Always fun.

    ~~~

    BR: There are few people who have been advocating the reportage of U6 longer than I; See: Unemployment Reporting: A Modest Proposal (U3 + U6) But understand this: U3 (and 4, 5 & 6) all report different things. U6 is a measure of UNDER-Employment versus U3 UN-Employment.

    (Also, I think you mean ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY; Both it and the HOUSEHOLD SURVEY are done by BLS)

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