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The Latest From the Bureau of Labor Shenanigans

By February 3, 2024Commentary

These monthly jobs reports during the Bidementia administration have been a good source of hilarity.  Usually revised downward, they are full of statistical wonders and likely just made up goo.  The report on January hits a new low, as detailed in Zero Hedge as usual. (ZH Post)  You can find the actual release and accompanying tables here.  (BLS Release)   The basic premise of the release is that job growth was almost twice expectations and average hourly wage growth was high as well, although that was largely due to a reduction in hours worked.  As has been the case for over a year, however, the survey of companies, which is used for the job numbers, tells a far more positive story than the survey of households, which shows little job growth.  Seasonal and annual adjustments also play a substantial role in the apparent job growth, in fact, all of the job growth in January was due to a seasonal adjustment and the number of supposed new jobs is within the margin of error for that adjustment.  And all the new jobs for the past year have been part-time ones.

Several initial observations would include that based on the level of illegal immigration, it is entirely possible that just the sheer size of population growth represented by that flood of people results is more jobs being needed and filled.  And most of these people, unlike many native-born Americans, are actually eager to work.  And indeed, almost all new jobs have been filled by foreign-born workers.  The second is the obvious politically driven data manipulation by the federal work force, including those at the BLS.  This work force is far more ideological and political party-goal driven than ever before and it is almost all Dems.  So there is no reason to think they wouldn’t feel free to futz with the data to get a positive outcome.  And along the same lines, government employees are increasingly incompetent; particularly recent university graduates, who basically learn nothing other than ideology.  It might be that pure inability to gather and analyze data is behind the constant erroneous and ever-more significantly revised BLS releases.

What is notable about the trustworthiness of numbers in this release is that they are at odds with other private organization data, such as the ADP payroll counts.  There continue to be significant revisions to past months data and when the BLS does its annual revisions to underlying assumptions and methodology, substantial changes also occur.  This is primarily survey data, and the response rates are extremely low and likely biased.  I keep looking for data on things like the number of workers for who unemployment compensation or workers’ compensation payments are made.  Trends in these numbers would be useful.

The Bidementia administration obviously wants the public to believe the job market and economy are healthy.  But at best it is an unhealthy health.  A person taking massive amounts of steroids can gain substantial muscle mass and look exceedingly fit, but the health problems caused by steroids will inevitably surface.  All the economic growth is fed by massive, truly unprecedented federal deficit spending; literally every bit of it.  And if you look at jobs growth by category, government employment is responsible for much of it, as is health care and social assistance, largely funded by government.  We are on track for another year of over $2 trillion in deficit spending.  Interest on the debt will shortly become the single largest federal expenditure.  The supply of debt is overwhelming demand and will keep interest rates high.  When the money merry-go-round stops, every one will get hurt, but especially low-income people.

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