Posts Tagged ‘seasonal adjustments’

So, is employment up or down since Obama took over?

March 21, 2012

Team Obama keeps crowing about the millions of jobs they’ve added with their trillions of dollars of fiscal and monetary stimulators.


Here are the facts, direct from the BLS

In February 2008 — right as the financial crisis was becoming evident — employment was 136.356 million.

Employment dropped by about 5 million between February 2008 and February 2009.

In February 2009 — when Obama took office — there were 131.314 million workers employed.   Real jobs, no seasonal adjustment.

Note: Obama’s Stimulus was passed January 28, 2009

The comparable number in February 2012 was 131,164 million.

By simple subtraction,  there are 150,000 fewer jobs now then there were in February 2009.

Note: During the same period, the labor force (i.e. those folks who are employed or looking for work) grew by about 300,000 … from 153.804 million in Feb 2009  to 154,114 million in Feb. 2012. 


* * * * *

Let’s dig a little deeper with another view of the data:


Cutting to the chase, “real” employment is back to where it was when Obama was inaugurated … but up substantially from the low point in Obama’s term.

The “issue” is who owns 2009 — Bush or Obama?

Obamites argue that the drop in 2009 is simply a reflection of the momentum coming out of the Bush years … slowed by effects of the Stimulus.

GOPers argue that — since Obama’s Trillion-dollar Stimulus was passed in January 2009 and since the administration made promises re: keeping unemployment in check — that Obama owns 2009.

The answer is probably somewherw in between.

You decide … 

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What to look for in next week’s jobs report …

March 1, 2012

Next week’s unemployment report will be quite interesting.

As we’ve posted before, Gallup’s daily tracking report indicated that the unemployment rate was about 9% in mid-February … and has risen to 9.2%. 

Gallup’s mid-month number is usually a good predictor of the BLS’s end-of-month number. 

A good test of whether the books are being cooked is to look at the seasonal adjustment factor being applied to total employment.

In January, the BLS increased its seasonal adjustment factor … so, total employment went from a seasonally unadjusted loss of jobs to a seasonally adjusted gain in the number of jobs … and the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.3%.

Below is the historical data for the past couple of years re: how much the BLS jacks up February’s total employment numbers via seasonal adjustment.

Takeaway: if the seasonally adjusted total employment is more than about 1.18% higher than the non-seasonally adjusted number, you can suspect some book-cooking.

Let’s see what happens …


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