The last time that I talk about BLS reporting bias …

… certainly won’t be today

Unbelievable, they did it again this week.

I promise that I’ll stop writing about BLS reporting bias when the streak ends, but …

Now we’re up to 80 out of 81 weeks — and, at least 21 election season weeks in a row — that the BLS’s “headline number” has under-reported the number of initial unemployment claims … and cast the jobs situation as brighter than it really is.

Based on Thursday’s BLS report, the number for the week ending Sept. 22 was revised upward from 382,000 to 385,000.

In itself, the 2,000 isn’t a big deal.

But, in context it is

Again, I ask: statistical bias or political bias?

I’m now starting to conclude the latter.

The BLS has plenty of statisticians on payroll … and this is an elementary stats problem

* * * * * *

Let’s try a new way of reporting … here’s a picture.

Note that the preliminary estimate (the blue line) is ALWAYS low … by a couple of thousand.

Hint to BLS: just add 2k or 3k … or .8% to your prelim forecast !

image

* * * * *

Here are the nums … but the picture says it all.

image 

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One Response to “The last time that I talk about BLS reporting bias …”

  1. TK Says:

    Isn’t the BLS commisiiner a non-political technocrat? My understanding is that John Galvin is nit a politician, so it is difficult to believe he is scheming to make Obama look good.

    How is this number compiled? From what i’ve read it is a mixture of self-reporting, tax files, and some anecdotal data with a whole bunch of seasonality and weather assumptions thrown in.

    I need some more evidence before i buy into the conspiracy theory. Let’s see how well the model has done historically. Is it better when the economy is stable or when the economy is growing. Should we just add 2,000 the trend changes or is consistency ofmethodology more important?

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