by ilene - September 4th, 2010 3:13 am
Courtesy of Mish
This morning the BLS reported a decrease of 64,000 jobs. However, that reflects a decrease of 114,000 temporary census workers.
Excluding the census effect, government lost 7,000 jobs. Were the trend to continue, this would be a good thing because Firing Public Union Workers Creates Real Jobs.
Unfortunately, politicians and Keynesian clown economists will not see it that way. Indeed there is a $26 billion bill giving money to the states to keep bureaucrats employed. This is unfortunate because we need to shed government jobs.
Hidden beneath the surface the BLS Black Box – Birth Death Model added 115,000 jobs, a number likely to be revised lower in coming years. Please note you cannot directly subtract the number from the total because of the way the BLS computes its overall number.
Participation Rate Effects
The civilian labor force participation rate (64.7 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.5 percent) were essentially unchanged from last month’s report. However, these measures have declined by 0.5 percentage points and 0.3 points, respectively, since April.
The drop in participation rate this year is the only reason the unemployment rate is not over 10%. The drop in participation rates is not that surprising because some of the long-term unemployed stopped looking jobs, or opted for retirement.
Nonetheless, I still do not think the top in the unemployment rate is in and expect it may rise substantially later this year as the recovery heads into a coma and states are forced to cut back workers unless Congress does substantially more to support states.
Employment and Recessions
Calculated Risk has a great chart showing the effects of census hiring as well as the extremely weak hiring in this recovery.
click on chart for sharper image
The dotted lines tell the real story about how pathetic a jobs recovery this has been. Bear in mind it has taken $trillions in stimulus to produce this.
June, July Revisions
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from -221,000 to -175,000, and the change for July was revised from -131,000 to -54,000.
Those revisions look good but it is important to note where the revisions comes from. The loss of government jobs in June was revised from…
by ilene - February 19th, 2010 9:37 pm
Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made
This morning’s inflation report is generating all sorts of headlines about core consumer prices falling for the first time since 1982. In looking at the screen shot of the detailed data from the Labor Department below, there is clearly some sort of a math problem associated with changes that were recently made to category weightings (note that only the relevant data is included below from a much larger table).
Looking at the weighting (Relative importance) and the indentation on the left to determine which categories are sub-categories of others it becomes clear that you can’t get the large negative number of -0.5 percent circled in red from the data circled in blue.
It appears that they are mistakenly weighting the -2.1 percent decline for lodging away from home at a much higher level and, since housing is a major component of core inflation, the first negative reading in 28 years was the result.
Apparently, Tim’s attracting visitors from the BLS. Here’s what he’s found.
Well, someone at the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been poking around here this afternoon and they spent a fair amount of time here. Hey! That’s my taxpayer money, isn’t it?
I’ve not heard from anybody on this subject yet but I did go through some calculations with some of the other categories in the most recent inflation data as a sanity check and, as far as I can tell, they’ve got an error in today’s report as noted here earlier today.
It still seems to me that, despite what you may have read in the mainstream media and elsewhere today, monthly core inflation did not decline for the first time since 1982.
by ilene - November 15th, 2009 7:19 pm
Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns
This morning, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff had another wonderful piece. I am only going to take on one part of it here. I have linked to the full article below so that you can read his analysis in it’s entirety (registration free but required).
The part I want to focus in on has to do with GDP revisions. Basically, the GDP numbers the U.S. government releases are always revised when more complete data come in. Often the data come in years later via tax returns and other slower-to-report channels, so we can get huge disparities in what was reported at the time and what ends up being the final data series. Rosenberg thinks Q3 is going to see major, major downward revisions because of small businesses.
He says the following (highlighting added):
We noticed an interesting piece of research on U.S. GDP from Goldman Sachs’ Economics team that’s worth highlighting. The team questions whether the official government GDP statistics capture how poorly small businesses (ie, sole proprietorships) are doing. The weakness in small business sentiment is seemingly at odds with the recent 3.5% Q3 GDP reading but may explain why the unemployment rate has continued to steadily increase. Part of the reason for small business weakness is that most don’t have the same access to credit as larger firms and larger firms’ output tends to be better captured in the GDP data. While sole proprietorships tend to be small they collectively account for a nontrivial 17% of the U.S. economy.
The Goldman team uses a couple of different statistical approaches to test their thesis. They use timely data from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) confidence survey, which shows that despite a recent improvement, confidence remains exceptionally weak (in fact two standard deviations below long-run trends). The first model suggests that the NFIB survey is consistent with overall GDP growth of 2.5% to 3.0% — not the 3.5% reported. As well, they find that current NFIB readings are more in line with below-50 readings on the ISM manufacturing index versus the actual reading of 55.7.
The second approach has to do with revisions to the GDP data and their relationship to the NFIB. U.S. GDP goes through many revisions as more, and
by ilene - July 19th, 2009 5:46 pm
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Courtesy of Mish
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program began in June 30,2008. Benefits under the act have now been extended twice. Unless Obama extends the program a third time, it’s the end of the line for many receiving unemployment benefits.
Please consider First wave of jobless exhaust unemployment benefits.
Thousands of jobless Pennsylvanians are joining the growing ranks of people around the country who are exhausting unemployment benefits, as some experts worry about another blow to a stumbling economy.
Gov. Ed Rendell said 17,800 Pennsylvanians exhausted their jobless benefits in the week that ended Saturday, the first big wave of Pennsylvanians to do so. He urged legislators to pass a bill to extend the benefits.
Around the country, the number of people exhausting their benefits is piling up. By the end of September, more than 500,000 people will exhaust their benefits checks, with the biggest groups in Pennsylvania, California and Texas, according to estimates by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers based in New York City. That number will nearly triple by the end of the year, the group said.
New York Qualifies For Extended Benefits
As some states exhaust extended benefits other now qualify. In New York, Benefits Extended As State Unemployment Numbers Rise.
The number of jobless New Yorkers across the state jumped significantly during the month of June, according to state Department of Labor statistics released Thursday.
The unemployment rate increased from 8.2 percent in May to 8.7 percent in June. That’s the highest level since October of 1992.
In New York City, the rate increased from nine percent in May to 9.5 percent in June — the highest level in more than a decade. That translates into more than 850,000 people out of work in the state.
"Because of our 8.7 percent unemployment rate, we will qualify for an additional seven weeks of unemployment insurance benefits," said New York State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith. "So right now New Yorkers will be eligible for 79 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits."
Unemployment benefit extensions are expected to help an additional 47,000 jobless New Yorkers who would have lost their benefits in August.
79 Weeks is a long time to be…
by ilene - June 10th, 2009 10:11 pm
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Oxen Group Trades are doing exceptionally well! Remember to check out the Oxen Group section each morning for David’s daily trading idea (click or scroll down).
Do you like numbers games? This might be the post for you.
Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon
Although I believe that our government has every incentive to make the economy look better, employment appear stronger, and inflation seem weaker than they really are, I’m not a statistician or an economist (for what it’s worth, some might view that as a good thing).
Hence, while I can’t sit here and say for certain that our government manipulates the data in such a way that it has become meaningless, common sense tells me, for instance, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ assumption that start-up businesses accounted for 43,000 new construction jobs in May is reason enough to doubt whatever Washington is telling us (for a bit more color on this particular statistic, check out "May Employment Report Not Believable" at ChrisMartenson.com)
With that in mind, it’s not hard to side with the views of the statistical gadfly cited in the following SmartMoney report, "True or False: U.S. Economic Stats Lie."
How’s the economy treating you? Chances are, your answer is colored largely by three things: whether you’re working (if you want to), how much you’re making and how quickly your expenses are rising. Economists rely heavily on the same factors to judge the nation’s health. At last count, 9.4% of the workforce is jobless. Compared with a year ago, the goods and services we produce are worth 5.7% less while the ones we buy are 0.7% cheaper.
Two bright people might see sharply different things in those numbers. To one, the shrinking economy is a healthy unwinding of past excess, for example, while to another it’s a dangerous downturn that calls for bold government action. But what if the numbers themselves are something we should be debating? In the alarming view of a vocal few, America’s economic measures are misstated — rigged, really.
The accusation goes like this: Surveyors collect the nation’s data and statisticians compile and report it. Politicians naturally want the numbers to show improvement. Not being