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More and More on Jobs Reports

By June 7, 2023Commentary

I don’t actually know what is happening with employments or jobs and neither does anyone else because the official government statistics are basically fraudulent and while other sources try to fill in, they are at a disadvantage in giving a complete and accurate picture.  We keep getting these robust employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which seem at odds with some other realities, like large numbers of big company layoffs and a fall in postings on online job boards.  I have noted some of the BLS issues such as the major divergence between the company and household surveys and a huge drop in the survey response rate.  One other oddity is that all recent job growth is due to hiring of foreign-born workers.  Another big issue, highlighted in this ZH post, which unfortunately you would have to subscribe to receive, is seasonal adjustments.  (ZH Post)

To summarize the post, which relies on other research, the real jobs growth is perhaps half of what is being reported, which is not all bad news since it suggests continued modest growth in the overall economy.  The underlying issue is that BLS uses a variety of “seasonal” adjustments, by industry sector.  In recent months, those adjustments have initially been adding significant numbers of jobs, only to later be revised lower.  Compared to prior years, several economic sectors had much higher seasonal adjustments, including non-durable goods, financial services, education and hotels and similar accommodations.  A number of other sectors also had modestly higher than normal adjustments.  The really bad thing about all these machinations is, again, that it makes it very hard for policymakers and others to know what reality is.

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