Why you shouldn't trust the jobs report

It's correct to be suspicious of the employment figures, but not because of the false suspicions that come from critics of the Obama administration.

By The Fiscal Times May 3, 2013 12:50PM
 Resume copyright Dynamic Graphics, age fotostock, age fotostockBy Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

The monthly jobs report tends to engender a lot of conspiracy theories.

During the climax of the 2012 presidential election, the sharp decline in the unemployment rate led Jack Welch -- the legendary former head of General Electric (GE) -- to blindly allege that the numbers were being fixed for President Barack Obama.  

It's correct to be suspicious of the employment figures, but not because of the false suspicions that come from critics of the Obama administration. This is about statistics and monthly hiring data that have a margin of error of plus or minus 100,000 jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that payrolls increased by 165,000 in April, as the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 7.5 percent. These are estimates. And as demonstrated by the rest of the government report, they tend to get substantially revised.

The revisions in the report overhaul the entire narrative of the U.S. economy. When it was announced almost a month ago that the economy added a mere 88,000 jobs in March -- not enough to match population growth -- the story quickly became that the economy was starting to shudder from the end of the payroll tax holiday and the start of the sequestration cuts.
After all, the data backed this up.

This story no longer holds.

The BLS amended its figures for March and February, locating 114,000 additional jobs in those previous two months. As a result, the March disappointment becomes a somewhat more satisfactory 138,000 new jobs, while February becomes an explosive increase of 332,000, the highest monthly increase since May, 2010.

Michael Strain, a research fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, summarized the situation on Twitter: "Great news on revisions, good report all around. Recovery steady, but too slow."

Josh Boak is the Deputy DC Bureau Chief at The Fiscal Times.  
Tags: GE
May 3, 2013 1:22PM

Obama is a genius.


Step 1. Ram obamacare down our throats.

Step 2. Because of obamacare, force employers to cut workers hours by 1/3 to avoid obamacare fines and costs.

Step 3. These employers hire extra part-timers to make up for the former full-time to part-time demotions. Unemployment magically goes down with purely part-time workers.

Step 4. Force welfare like min wage, foodstamps, fake disability, section 8 to keep these people happy, fat, dumb and voting liberal. People with morals and aren't foodstamper trash that wont take handouts for a vote will get a 2nd job, increasing the new jobs.

Step 5 Repeat until the money is all gone and the low information voter stories of gun laws or gay marriage no longer work.

Step 6. Retire with millions and play golf all day with the money of morons that's supported you.

May 3, 2013 1:30PM
Twain observed more than 100 years ago (and this has always been true)

 "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
May 3, 2013 1:27PM
hehe U6 is the only jobs numbers that counts and it's 13.7%, the real unemployment is 11%, in truth, temp jobs and part-time jobs can't sustain a family or a single person, how is one to pay a mortgage on temp partime jobs??? or a car loan, or tuition?? please!! facts are facts this nation in in the toilet, there are no full time CAREERS being created, how the hell is anyone going to pay the obamacare nightmare costs coming up??? 20 grand for a family of 4 is what the calculation is, by the regimes OWN people!! WTF?!! that better be some damn good high paying temp job!!!
May 3, 2013 1:28PM
May 3, 2013 1:41PM
This article fails to mention one of the MOST significant facts; and that is, That nearly all of these new "hires" are for PART-TIME positions.  Now try living on that!!  The Obummer is a major failure.  That's what you can take to the bank.  
May 3, 2013 2:11PM
I don't care who is in the white house, our economy is in the toilet!
May 3, 2013 1:39PM

Too bad the numbers for March and April are still 75,000 short of the number to maintain a constant level of employment.

The "recovery" is likely to stall out when increased economic activity leads to inflation which will increase interest rates.

May 3, 2013 1:25PM
193,000 of the jobs added in March were the result of the BLS's statistical adjustment called the "Birth/Death Model." 
May 3, 2013 1:53PM
Well, there you go...
Obama now has Three secret machines hidden under the bed.

One controls gas prices.
The Second prints money day and night.
Now a third has been added to manipulate all govt statistics.

The secret is out.  That does it...vote Obama out in 2016 !!!

May 3, 2013 1:52PM
if the government has anything to do with  it  hell  no  they lie  threw there teeth
May 3, 2013 2:49PM
I have no idea how the Obama Admin thinks we are going to be able to pay for mandatory healthcare next year. I'm told mine, as a single person, will cost a meager $530 a month without the government subsidy. Who in the sam hell has an extra $530 a month lying around? Even if it were $200 a month. That's absolutely impossible to pay and it ain't gonna happen no matter who's president. Good luck to us all!
May 3, 2013 2:51PM
332,000 jobs in February is "explosive"??  Not even close.  Try Sept. 1983, when 1,114,000 jobs were created.  Or how about the 480,000 created in Feb 1984.   Hell, even Bush Jr managed to create more than 300,000 jobs in seven separate months during his first 6 years in office.

May 3, 2013 2:17PM
A margin error of plus or minus 100,000.Are all these distorted numbers for the last few years worth Dow 15,000?I heard you have to have a degree now to flip burgers at Mcdonalds.What classes would you need to take at college?Burger and fries 101,spitting on food 202,how to live on fast food wages 303?
May 3, 2013 2:49PM
part time and low paying jobs don't do anything but make some numbers look good and most unemployment claims have run out
May 3, 2013 2:35PM

if you like obama you probably have a low iq you should heve it checked your one of those 47% ers its a shame the black people stand behind him because of color you are the racist of this countryif your one of those people  this guy isnt presidential grade human hes a community organizer and a crooked chicago lawyer just llike jesse jackson jr

May 3, 2013 2:57PM
Don't believe the report because it's not true, just twisted
May 3, 2013 3:21PM
how can the main-stream-media keep peddling this tripe that the BLS puts-out?  Obama is a disaster for this country. Today, he's down in Mexico apologizing for America's bad attitude toward Mexicans and the poor undocumented illegals north of the border. We are bad people!  I'm going to get sick.
May 3, 2013 1:36PM
[That unfortunate moment] when someone is making a seemingly objective point, backed by facts, and then out come the damning partisan words, cliched, jaded phrases, etc. 

Please people, don't let your passion for what you are discussing cause you to buckle and reveal your agenda. 

Your country needs you, a lot more than your party or ideology.
May 3, 2013 3:12PM

The numbers lie. Period. The BLS is a joke. A very, very, very bad joke. All revisions to these made-up numbers is only to make a better lie so the government can look better.


The jobs numbers don't count the number of people that have stopped looking for work. The jobs numbers don't count the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce all together. The numbers don't count the number of people working only part time. The numbers don't count the number of people that are working multiple part-time jobs just to get by. The numbers don't even take into account population growth, and the number of jobs that have to be added to the economy just to keep up.


The numbers only count those with jobs. The numbers don't care what kind of jobs makes up these made up jobs numbers.


The truth is that participation in the workforce significantly lags behind those not a part of workforce. The numbers are biased for the government (both parties), for the monied elites, for the corporate oligarchs, and especially for Wall Street who has no shame whatsoever.


The truth is that there has been no recovery. The truth is that the tens of millions of American Middle Class jobs that have been out-sourced will never be coming back. And that once the unemployment benefits runout Americans who still are not employed will die by the tens of millions and there will be no government chart to measure that.


Of course the numbers lie. The whole system is a disgrace to humanity.


May 3, 2013 2:53PM
I am truly amazed this question is being ask anymore. Incredible.
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