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The Employment Number Games Continue–Updated

By May 5, 2023Commentary

I have posted repeatedly about the Biden administration’s constant issuance of false initial employment-related numbers, followed by extensive downward revisions in succeeding months.  But since only the initial reports get any attention from the media, all the public sees are the initial lies, not the later corrections.  So we got the April report today from the Bureau of Laborious Lies and miracle of miracles, once again the number of new jobs exceeded expectations by about 50,000; 235,000 versus 185,000 expected.  Hmmm, but then March’s initial numbers were revised down by 61,000 jobs and February’s by 78,000.  January had already been revised downward.  You see the pattern.   So the revisions were far more than the supposed over-expectation number for April, which will inevitably be revised down in future months.

Also of interest is the exceptionally large confidence intervals for the two surveys used for the labor force report.  The business establishment report has a confidence interval of 130,000 jobs at typical statistical significance confidence levels, which is mammoth.  So April could be 105,000 jobs or 365,000 jobs.  Yet somehow the revisions are always down lately.  The household survey has a whopping 600,000 person error rate, so God knows what the actual unemployment rate is.

Finally, in another release yesterday, which was given no prominence, BLS revealed that productivity declined by 2.7% in the first quarter, the fifth straight quarter of declines in productivity.  This measure was started in 1948 and there have never been five consecutive quarters of declines before.  As a result, unit labor costs rose by 6.3%.  Here is what this combination is telling us.  There is no real economic growth.  There is no improvement in quality of life. Productivity is the most important thing for real economic growth.  And labor costs are often the single biggest cost input for any good or service, so we aren’t getting any inflation relief.

Welcome to the Biden economy–no growth, lots of inflation, but there is massive growth in government statistics lies.   (ZH Post)   (BLS Release and Data)

UPDATE:  And further from Zero Hedge on the fake employment numbers.  The wizards at the Bureau of Labor Statistics have lots of game playing room with a variety of “adjustments”, which in Bidementia land means do whatever you have to  to get a positive number.  Seasonal adjustments are always good for a laugh, but one of the BLS’ favorites is the “birth and death model”, which relates to employment changes which might be caused by firms going out of business or starting up.  This month, that model added 378,000 jobs, the second highest on record.  This is simply not believable for a lot of reasons, one of which is that as the bank issues mount, they aren’t making loans to startup small businesses.  In the last year almost half of the reported new jobs have been added via this model “adjustment”.  Meanwhile, the response rate to the surveys used for the employment data continue to plummet, meaning that there is less actual data and more room for model fudging.    (ZH Post)

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