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Jobless Down Thanks To ‘New Metrics’?

From the Bureau Of Labor Statistics:


The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today…

We are supposed to believe that a measly increase of only 36,000 jobs made the unemployment rate go down .4%?

The unemployment rate (9.0 percent) declined by 0.4 percentage point for the second month in a row. The number of unemployed persons decreased by about 600,000 in January to 13.9 million, while the labor force was unchanged

The number of unemployed persons decreased by 600,000 "while the labor force was unchanged"? How is that even mathematically possible? (Maybe the explanation can be found in the BLS’s accompanying announcement, below.)

After accounting for the annual adjustment to the population controls, the employment-population ratio (58.4 percent) rose in January, and the labor force participation rate (64.2 percent) was unchanged

Accompanying the BLS’s press release is this announcement:

Changes to The Employment Situation Tables and Data

Changes to The Employment Situation news release tables are being introduced with this release. In addition, establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual bench-marking process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors. Also, household survey data for January 2011 reflect updated population estimates

Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey

Effective with data for January 2011, updated population estimates have been used in the household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new information and assumptions about the growth of the population during the decade. The change in population reflected in the new estimates results from adjustments for net international migration, updated vital statistics and other information, and some methodological changes in the estimation process.

The population control adjustments introduced with household survey data for January 2011 were applied to the population base determined by Census 2000

So the BLS are updating and adjusting their unemployment estimates based on information from the US Census from eleven years ago?

The adjustment decreased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional [sic] population in December by 347,000, the civilian labor force by 504,000, and employment by 472,000; the new population estimates had a negligible impact on unemployment rates and most other percentage estimates.

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments affect the comparability of household data series over time. Estimates of large levels, such as total labor force and employment, are impacted most

Note that the BLS claims that these population estimates "had a negligible impact on unemployment rates." And yet in their employment summary above they seem to be saying that the labor force remains unchanged, and only the employment to population ratio has gone up.

It sure sounds to us like the .4% decline in unemployment is solely due to this new population estimate. But given all this bureaucratic gobbledygook we could be wildly mistaken, of course.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 4th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Jobless Down Thanks To ‘New Metrics’?”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    “Accounting” I learned early, is a game for swindlers cheats and thieves played with shadows, sleight of hand and Hide-The-Ball-carney-figures in order to make two chickens look like a flock. On paper.

    Here’s real Accounting 101 …. you have two dollar bills in your hand. How much do you have?

    Two dollars.

    That’s … accounting. Anything else is vaporware.

    • River0 says:

      Democrats always have been economically illiterate, from the original (in spirit), Thomas Jefferson – who burned through a huge fortune and died bankrupt – to the bank-hating Andrew Jackson (who founded the Democrat Party), to Wilson, FDR, Johnson (who took the silver out of our currency), to Carter, to Clinton, and now Obummer.

      Satanic prophets like John Maynard Keynes and Paul Krugman are always around to enshrine lies, delusions, and ignorance.

      They hate free markets and their principles, always seek to alter or undermine them, and always have to be bailed out by Republicans. Problem now is we have a LOT of economically illiterate Republicans!

    • GetBackJack says:

      Geez, River … I wish you’d loosen up and tell us what you really think! :-)

    • River says:

      You’re darn right, and I will, GetBackJack! Check this out:


    • GetBackJack says:

      Well, alrighty then! Turns out we’re kin, we’re Family. Benedicat tibi Dominus, et custodiat te. Num 6:24address is mackenzie.jack@gmail.com (Reggie, what an adorable scamp)

  2. bill says:

    Soviet style accounting … So if 36,000 is 04.% of the total, then … Can anybody do math anymore? Your cell phopne does have a calculator, doesn’t it?

    You sure don’t get many jobs with $1.4 trillion in new debt.

  3. TerryAnne says:

    Just did the math.

    If 36,000 = .4%, then 9,000 = .1%, or 90,000 = 1%. Multiply that by 99 and you get 8,910,000. If you round the US census numbers up to 310 million, to account for those who didn’t reply and for the illegals, the 8,910,000/310,000,000 = 2.87%.

    Therefore, approximately 3% of the workforce = perfect employment to our liberal media.


  4. proreason says:

    Lying MF’s

  5. River0 says:

    Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything. ~Gregg Easterbrook

    Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein

    Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable. ~Bobby Bragan, 1963

    Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable. ~Author Unknown

    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than for illumination. ~Andrew Lang

    Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases. ~Theodor Billroth

    Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say. ~William W. Roth

    98% of all statistics are made up. ~ River W.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn lies, and statistics. ~ Mark Twain

    • GetBackJack says:

      Rusty, I know that quote well from America’s Bard, but I think we’re gonna have to add a fourth category …. Democrats.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      No Jack……there’s a fifth………dingleBarry Obama.
      EVERYTHING out of this putz mouth is a effing lie!!
      (with El Douche’ style and mannerisms)
      Truly, truly, truly disgusting.

  6. BigOil says:

    Maybe we were a little hasty when we laughed off all the Messiah comparisons. Decreasing unemployment without any hiring is a miracle.

    Has anybody checked the sea levels lately?

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    The US Gov’s been channeling Lou Costello it seems:


    And as a bonus, Abbott & Costello Explain Obama’s Stimulus Plan


  8. eaglewingz08 says:

    Gallup has unemployment as 9.8 percent, so who do you trust Obama’s Labor Department or Gallup? What a world.

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