(Thomas Mitchell/4THST8) – You can’t tell the players without a program, and you can’t interpret statistics without the raw numbers.
As Joseph Curl of the Washington Times so aptly pointed out Sunday the latest unemployment rate decline — down to 8.3 percent in January from 8.5 percent in December — reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is accomplished with a bit of sleight-of-hand known as seasonal adjustment.
At the rate of unemployment decline being reported by BLS, Curl calculates, the jobless rate will hit 6.3 percent by Election Day.
But, as more than one wag has noted of late, every silver lining has its dark cloud.
While the administration says 243,000 net jobs were created, the raw numbers tell another story. Rather than take the word of Curl and Zerohedge.com’s Tyler Durden, whom Curl quoted extensively, I went to the BLS website and looked up the stats for myself.
Their math holds up.
The sad facts about the differences between December 2011 and January 2012 are: The civilian (non-institutionalized) population grew by 1.7 million, but the number of employed people fell by 737,000. This means the employment-to-population ratio fell from 58.5 percent to 57.8, and the unadjusted jobless rate grew from 8.3 percent to 8.8. Those who currently want a job grew by 360,000.
If you look at the data, again not seasonally adjusted, for January 2011 to January 2012, the number of people not in the labor force for whatever reason, including giving up looking, grew by 2.6 million. That is equivalent to the entire population of the state of Nevada disappearing in a single year.
Curl quoted a somewhat bewildered Charles Biderman, CEO of trimtabs.com, as saying:
“Actual jobs outstanding, not seasonally adjusted, are down 2.9 million over the past two months. It is only after seasonal adjustments — made at the sole discretion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics economists — that 2.9 million less jobs gets translated into 446,000 new seasonally adjusted jobs for January and December. No one I know has any idea as to how the BLS does this seasonal adjustment.”
But never let the facts stand in the way of a good story for The New York Times’ buddy Obama. The paper boasted, “The Labor Department’s latest snapshot of the job market, released on Friday, makes clear that employers have been hiring more in recent months, with 243,000 net new jobs in January. The unemployment rate now stands at 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent a month earlier and from 9.1 percent as recently as last August.”
Truth doesn’t always make you free, just free from lies, damned lies and statistics.