atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1839: I don't believe it.

Headline on the Chicago Sun-Times this morning: "JOB LOSSES SLOW TO A TRICKLE".

The economy lost 11,000 jobs in October, claims the article, and the unemployment rate declined to 10%.

...what?

AP changed the story I linked to in this post. The original headline opened with "Job creation near"; the link now leads to an article headlined with "Unexpected drop in jobless rate sparks optimism".

They got rid of the story which said unemployment was bad and replaced it with an optimistic story saying it's not. They didn't post a new story with a new URL; they replaced the story at that URL with a new story.

By doing a search I found the article which was replaced.

So: 130,000 jobs lost in September, 111,000 lost in October...suddenly only 11,000 are lost in November? The rate shrank by an order of magnitude in one month with no change in market conditions?

I don't believe it.

To make matters worse, the old article no longer says that U3 was 10.5%; now it says that U3 was 10.2%.

The former article reports 190,000 jobs were lost in October. The new article says 111,000 were lost in October; were the other 79,000 jobs "saved or created"? 130,000 job losses were estimated for November; we're told we only lost 11,000. Were those 119,000 other jobs "saved or created" too?

The people who are responsible for tracking this stuff generally don't make such egregious mistakes as to produce estimates which are an order of magnitude too large. Can anyone point me to an example in the past 30 years? (Republican or Democrat, I don't care. Be prepared to defend your answer with facts and figures.) This stinks, it stinks bad, and it has the odor of "let's help the boss look good".

Check me on this: if there were a mere 11,000 jobs lost in November, that's unalloyed good news about the economy, isn't it? I mean, earlier this year we were hemhorraging 600,000 jobs per month, and now it's just 11,000 in the past 30 days, so isn't that wonderful news? It's good economic news, a sign that the economy is getting better!

...why release that report on a Friday?

It's going to be old news by Monday. The way the news cycle works, politicians have a habit of releasing bad or questionable news on Friday afternoon specifically so that it doesn't get the full-on press whammy. Obama has proved to be no different in this respect. Heck, the Democrats have started having important votes on ObamaCare on the weekend to avoid the press as much as possible.

If I were Obama, I'd want that news released on Monday morning, not Friday afternoon, because I'd want to give the press all week to praise me for it. Objectively speaking, it's good news, so why wait until Friday afternoon to release it?

My theory? It's bullshit. It's the result of tinkering with definitions and numbers to give a falsely positive result. You release that kind of thing on a Friday because you want to give your people time to talk it up on the weekend news and commentary shows, before the commentators and reporters who are hostile to your administration can dig down into the details of the thing and explain what's wrong with the numbers.

And it comes right on the heels of Obama's "jobs summit". Coincidence?

My predictions are usually wrong, so God knows WTF is really going on. But from here I can't see how it can be anything else.

* * *

By the way: isn't October-November about the time stores do a lot of seasonal hiring? How many of those jobs will still exist come January or February?
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