Employment Report: Blatant And Outrageous Lies
There are times when one questions a report as possibly being wrong or in error, and then there are times when one has to raise a flag and say "This is an intentionally false picture being presented by a government agency."
I'm in the latter camp with this one, and it is rare for me to brand something as not possibly wrong and in error, but intentionally fraudulent.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.
I wish I could take this report, pick it apart at the household level, and find confirmation. Remember that last month the alleged 200,000 jobs that were gained were a phantom; when one looked inside the household data we found instead deterioration in both the employment participation rate and a decline in the absolute number of employed persons, while population rose. That is, the actual counts (as opposed to black-box statements) said that the labor picture deteriorated in December, contrary to the reported numbers.
This month it was worse. Far worse.
Let's start with the "base picture" that is causing the cheering:
"Not in labor force" numbers leaped upward on an annualized basis (seasonally adjusted the "right way") and what's worse on a raw basis 1.572 million people exited the labor force last month.
This is reflected in the percentage of those not in the labor force as a percentage of the working-age population, which hit an all-time high going back to the initiation of the data series I've tracked since 1999:
That's 0.6% of the entire labor force that departed the working population in one month, three times the alleged drop in the unemployment rate. This means that internally, the numbers were even worse than they first appear!
Indeed, the total number of employed persons fell. A lot. To put a number on it, the total number of employed persons fell by 737,000 by actual count.
Now the cheerleaders will state that this is a common thing in January, and indeed it is. But the correct adjustment is to look at the population increase and subtract that back off as well. In other words, we take the loss of employment and add the population growth. When we do this we get a whopping 2.422 million in the wrong direction which was bested only by the -2.618 million in January of 2009 through the process of this downturn!
In fact other than January 2009 there has never been a single month in my table, which dates back to 1999, that put up a worse combined number. This "performance" rates a literal "second from utter despair and disaster", and the employment rate shows it:
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