Was that a good jobs report or a bad one?

It may have been naive to expected an un-jimmied jobs report this close to the election, but even by the loose standards we've learned to apply, this one is a doozy.  Somehow, we added fewer jobs than are needed to keep pace with a growing population, but the unemployment rate took a dive to 7.8%, the first time in 43 months it's been below 8%.  OK, you can get there by driving a phenomenal number of people out of the workforce, I guess, but the numbers still don't add up.  We added 114,000 non-farm jobs but lost 456,000 unemployed people, while the household survey showed that the number of people with jobs rose by 873,000 (seasonally adjusted) -- the highest one-month increase in 29 years.  It seems that the latter number includes 582,000 part-time jobs accepted by workers who were seeking part-time work but taking what they could get.  Total "multiple jobs holders" rose by 183,000.

Zero Hedge is having some trouble with the numbers.  Here's an interesting coincidence, for instance:  the household survey figure is 873,000 jobs, of which 582,000 are part-time, which is precisely 2/3.  Sound a bit like a plugged number?

I'm totally confused, but I take it that the unemployment number uses the household-survey jobs (873,000) instead of what Zero Hedge calls the "establishment" jobs number, which was the 114,000 figure.  Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has unexpectedly revised upward the disappointing jobs figures for the last three months.

Well, I just hope the jobs picture is turning around, and these aren't simply numbers that will be quietly revised downwards later, per the usual practice.


Dad29 said...

Oh, they'll be revised down.

But that revision is scheduled for AFTER a certain election, ya' know.

bthun said...

"Was that a good jobs report or a bad one?"

I suppose that depends on who you ask. I'd bet if you were to ask the folks who make up that BLS labor participation rate number Zero Hedge presents, they'd probably give it the description it deserves. Male-Bovine Scat.

1984 came and went with little fanfare, until recently...