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Employment Report: IT SUCKS

February 5, 2011

Wow…. if you remember on the ADP and Claims numbers, I said I was expecting +100k.

That was way off – we really got +36k.


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. Employment rose in manufacturing and in retail trade but was down in construction and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in most other major industries changed little over the month.


There’s no love in here.  Worse, the benchmark revisions are out, and they show about 300,000 supposedly-reported jobs that didn’t really happen. No, really?  How come that number seems to always be in this direction?  That is, why is it that the BLS always seems to over-report reality in the establishment survey?

That inconvenient truth, incidentally, is why I always use the household numbers.  They’re at least a real survey without BS “adjustments” applied and while they’re subject to sampling error at least they’re not intentionally distorted.

This officially sucks.

On a month-by-month basis the number of actual employed people dropped by more than 1.5 million!  That’s a huge decrease and what’s worse, the trend is awful, being unbroken now since the first of last year.

Remember, we need about +150,000 in actual employment just to keep up with new entrants into the workforce.  We instead lost ten times that number of actual employed.

The monthly numbers are noisy in this regard, but there’s simply no way to argue “strength” in these numbers, irrespective of how much cheerleading you’d like to do.

Not-in-labor force numbers are still rising, but the annualized change is now negative.  That’s a positive.  Mildly.  Unfortunately it’s not turning into actual jobs, it’s turning into people looking for work and not finding it.

The employment rate posted a new low for the recessionary period – 57.6%, falling below the 57.8% registered in January of 2010.

There has been no improvement – at all – in the employment picture, and in fact the employed rate, as a percentage of the non-institutionalized population, is now the worst it has been since the economic downturn began.

Recovery my ass.

The Market-Ticker

A few more charts, courtesty of Calculated Risk

Percent Job Losses During Recessions

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks

Yup.  Lies, lies and more damn lies.

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