Sunday, January 06, 2013

Employment Reporting Gibberish

Now here is some real “unbiased” reporting for you. The National Monitor goes so far as to say in their headline that, “Obama scores another victory: Unemployment rate falls to 7.8 percent, hiring continues.”

As to the “Obama victory,” they do not specify the opponent over which Obama scored this “victory,” presumably unnamed Republicans, nor do they do not mention what specific Obama policies led to it, merely citing “White House officials” saying that the report is “the latest sign of success.” Apparently they translated success into victory, thinking that they mean the same thing.

The “unemployment rate falls” part is interesting, too, because in November it was reported as 7.7%, so apparently it is falling upward. But it gets even more confusing, because after stating in the headline that the rate fell to 7.8%, they say at the beginning of the story that, “nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000 in December, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 7.8 percent.” Actually, the rate was 7.7% in November, but was revised upward to 7.8% at the same time that December’s rate was published at the same number.

When they make the statement about employment rising by 155,000 and cite unemployment rate in the same sentence they are not only conflating two entirely different reports, but are doing so with reports which present highly conflicting numbers. The first is from the Establishment Survey, which interviews employers and does not report unemployment rate at all. The second is from the Household Survey report which provides their unemployment rate but reports a increase of only 28,000 in the number of employed. Given conflicting numbers, of course they choose the more optimistic one, even though they are reporting the unemployment rate from the report which contains a number of newly hired which they are ignoring.

When they do discuss the Household Survey, they actually have the nerve to say that “the number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million, was little changed,” when it actually increased by 164,000. So when you’re talking about new jobs 155,000 is a big number, but when you’re talking about people who have lost jobs the significantly larger 164,000 is “little changed.”

So according to one BLS report, the one which is used to calculate the unemployment rate, we added only 28,000 new jobs, and we are certainly not adding jobs at a pace sufficient to keep up with the increasing size of the labor force. Since the labor force increased by 192,000, even the most optimistic job creation number, the 155,000 hyped by the Obama cheerleaders, is not enough to keep up with our growing population.

The White house tells us this is “the latest sign of success,” and the National Monitor scores it as a “victory for Obama” and headlines a lie that the unemployment rate fell.

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