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Oops, Sure Enough the BLS Got Caught With Phony Numbers and Did a Big Revision

By August 29, 2023Commentary

For several months I have following, directly in the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases and in Zero Hedge posts, the saga of the incredible shrinking initial jobs data releases, which look great on the initial release and are inevitably revised downward (or upward, depending on which way means it got worse) in succeeding months.  That can’t go on forever without someone noticing and eventually having to make a big correction.  And the most recent release today of the JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report had a spectacular downward revision of job openings.  It typically isn’t just the past month that gets revised; it is multiple past months.  So to get a true sense of the scale of the change you have to look back at all revisions.

So the number reported in June was revised down by 417,000 job openings (and let’s be clear, a job “opening” doesn’t really mean the employer is actually intending to hire someone soon) to 9.165 million.  And the July reported number was 8.827 million.  So in two months almost 800,000 job “openings” disappeared and in three months 1.5 million did.  The openings are important because they give some indication in trend about how employers feel about their business.   The summer has been a parade of ongoing worse revisions to data–industrial production, home sales, actual payrolls.  In the JOLTS report, the number of hires declined and the number of voluntary quits decreased, an indicator of people feeling less certain they will find a better job elsewhere.

As usual, the response rate to this survey was pathetic, around 30%, leaving the Bidementia administration ample room to make stuff up, which they obviously do.  Screwing up a couple of months would be one thing.  There is no way this pattern does not reflect intentional release of misleading data to boost the public perception of how Mr. Senile has managed the economy and help his non-existent re-election campaign.  And I keep asking myself when Republicans are going to make a big stink out of this because they should.  (BLS Release)   (ZH Post)

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