873,000 Jobs in September

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby Zamfir » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Impeach, Hippo: quit the insults and personal attacks.

Impeach: rape is considered a sensitive subject around here. Don't use rape analogies for rethorical effect.

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:09 pm UTC

"Well, the question of what "adhering to their enemies" comes to mind for me. If it includes the act of recognizing the authority of a foreign entity over that of congress then this would constitute treason but my point is not that it fits the definition of treason, it's that we should be upset about it regardless. The constitution is not a perfect document and we should say "what's the perfect system of laws? Let's look it up in the constitution" but nevertheless it is the law of this country and we should not let it be violated. If we decide that we want to CHANGE the laws, we can do that. Treason or not, I think people should be upset over the removal of war powers from it's rightful place."
Since you're backing away from treason and went to "violations of war powers is a bad thing", we can discuss some more. Congress whined a bit, and backed down. That is congress's fault since they didn't choose to follow up on the violation. Did you ask your senator or House member what they were doing about it? Personally, I would have preferred the president follow the war powers instead of Congress giving an implicit approval of the Libyan war by not complaining.

Btw, I saw the same video you did, you're confusing international politics with submitting to another authority. I don't care what some libertarian senator with an axe to grind has to say. See, dismissing the opinions of others is fun! Anyway, can you describe this authority that Panetta is submitting to? Is it the UN? Does it occur all the time? Only in certain regions? Is it a shadowy organization whose makeup is a mystery?

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:55 pm UTC

Impeach wrote: If it includes the act of recognizing the authority of a foreign entity over that of congress then this would constitute treason but my point is not that it fits the definition of treason, it's that we should be upset about it regardless.
Just to clarify: Your point isn't that you're using the word treason correctly, but that we might still want to be upset over what's happening?

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

Impeach wrote:Treason or not, I think people should be upset over the removal of war powers from it's rightful place.

Problem is, all the laws in the world don't mean a thing if they're not enforced. I would agree that the executive branch is probably a bit more powerful in relation to the legislative branch than I'd like to see, but historically, this is something that's varied quite a bit, and frankly, the president has often had pretty huge practical influence over use of force.

In short, while I can think of MANY instances where the president basically pushed congress into conflict, I can't think of a time when congress forced a president into a war he didn't want.

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

If congress passes a law basically saying that they don't want to deal with war any more, and they are passing it off to the president, is the president making a power grab?
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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby Wnderer » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

Another jobs report from BLS.


The major points

The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November. The number of unemployed
persons, at 12.0 million, changed little. (See table A-1.)

The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 63.6 percent
in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November. Since the beginning
of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the
average monthly job gain of 153,000 in 2011.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +148,000
to +132,000, and the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.

The funniest thing is Paul Solman at the PBS (Plenty of Bull Shit) Newshour.

When the 873,000 number he practically went into hiding, tip toeing around calling the numbers bullshit.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdes ... to-78.html
A rare banner day on the jobs front, at least at first glance. The official unemployment rate -- U-3 -- dropped below 8 percent to 7.8 and even our all-inclusive U-7 is down 0.08 percent -- to 16.87 percent. The most impressive numbers are in job creation as reported by the monthly survey of "establishments." While the 114,000 new jobs added in September is a modest figure, the upward revisions for July and August are substantial: 86,000 more jobs, or a bump of better than 30 percent. It's a good reminder not to take any given month's numbers too seriously. But it's a reminder in the right direction.

You can read the Bureau of Labor Statistics press release for yourself for more detail, but though I'm interviewing David Wessel this morning about his book on the budget -- "Red Ink" -- and therefore am pressed for time, I do want to add a note of caution about today's numbers. If the statistical sampling is trustworthy, 873,000 more Americans said they were employed in September than the month before. Great. But 600,000 of those seem to be part-timers, looking for full-time work. So today's story may be a surge in part-time work and remember: if you only worked one hour in the past week, you're counted as officially employed.

Then the October report is basically just a personnel attack on Jack Welch, while singing the praises of the +172,000 job increase which in the November report has just been revised down to +138,000.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdes ... ch-si.html

At the risk of incurring Jack Welch's wrath, I am obliged to report that this morning's unemployment numbers for October are unambiguously and decidedly positive: 171,000 new jobs added (according to the survey of employers); and 170,000 more Americans working (according to the survey of American households). Even the last two months of job creation were revised upwards, by a substantial 84,000.

The official government headline unemployment number -- "U-3" -- rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8. But that's only because the civilian labor force swelled by nearly 600,000. Since the civilian population rose by just 200,000, that implies that 400,000 Americans went back to looking for work and thus were counted in the workforce where previously they had not been.

Indeed, when you look at the government's most inclusive measure of unemployment -- "U-6" -- it dropped instead of rising, to 14.6 percent. So did our own even more inclusive number -- "U-7" -- which sank to 16.69 percent from last month's 16.87, the biggest drop since March.

On the sober side, U-7 had hit a low of 16.55 percent back in March: 26.6 million people who told interviewers that they wanted a job but couldn't find one or were working part-time but wanted full-time work. Today's total is higher: just above 27 million (27,070,000). On the up side, however, the number of part-timers looking for full-time work is actually down this month by several hundred thousand, after rising by more than half-a-million a month ago.

And that brings us back to Jack Welch, the bantamweight ex-CEO of GE who blasted last month's unemployment data in a pugnacious tweet that was re-tweeted 5,248 times:

Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers
— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 5, 2012

He then followed up on the passionately partisan Wall Street Journal op-ed page with an essay that explained why he found last month's report "downright implausible."

Now to give Welch his due, he is, without question, an acknowledged master of unemployment. When he left his job, he wangled what Forbes magazine called "by far the richest" severance package up to that point, or, so far as I can tell, ever. His severance totaled $417 million -- for leaving the company, mind you -- and included an "$80,000-per-month Manhattan apartment owned by the company, court-side seats to the New York Knicks and U.S. Open, seating at Wimbledon, box seats at Red Sox and Yankees baseball games, country club fees, security services and restaurant bills." Writing as a Bostonian, I can imagine that the value of the Red Sox tickets have declined. But other than that, Welch can fairly be described, I think, as having made out like a bandit.

Envy aside, I have some sympathy for Welch and the heat he took for his skeptical jobs tweet. Though he obviously didn't do enough homework to understand that the unemployment drop last month was due to the addition of so many part-time jobs, we did and we both reported it here and tweeted accordingly:

U-7 post explains: most of Sept 'job gains' were part-timers looking 4 full-time. Worked 1 hr last wk? Ur 'employed'to.pbs.org/PEnWRM
— Paul Solman (@paulsolman) October 5, 2012

That enraged a certain @Yayyess, who tweeted back: "You can be as smugly arch as you like. My daughter is grateful she was offered P/T work last week."

And then: "That 1-hour crack was callous hubris. Did a measurable number of people get hired to work 1 hr?"

Ah well. I hope @Yayyess and others will find this month's post less callous. As to Jack Welch's new-found sympathy last month for America's jobless, however, it seems increasingly suspect and politically motivated, despite his protestations that neither he nor his wife were affiliated with the Romney campaign. Welch has in fact been tweeting up Romney all month on Twitter @jack_welch. As to this morning's unemployment numbers, he is, as of 10:25 a.m., noticeably silent.

But this month the election is over and he can give a serious analysis.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdes ... ys-it.html

The MSM (mainstream media) have looked at this morning's employment data and declared them good. Better than good, in fact.

But our own U-7 unemployment statistic, designed to be all-inclusive, edged down very modestly, and the total number of Americans who reported themselves "employed" -- 12 million -- didn't budge at all. Nor did the other MSM -- the mainstream markets -- react much either, at least not in the first few hours after the data were released.

November U7 and Solman Scale

Online, however, every one of the MSM Big Four trumpeted the new numbers in their leads:

Financial Times: "US payrolls rose by 146,000 in November, well ahead of forecasts, as an expected disruption from Hurricane Sandy did not show up in the figures."

The Wall St. Journal: "U.S. job growth picked up in November and the unemployment rate fell as the labor market shrugged off superstorm Sandy, the latest sign of a steady economic recovery."

Bloomberg.com: "Payrolls rose more than anticipated and the jobless rate fell to an almost four-year low in November, indicating superstorm Sandy's effect on the U.S. labor market was limited."

New York Times: "...The strength of the numbers was all the more notable because many experts expected a muted jobs performance because of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast on Oct. 31."

So what's going on?

You might call it a case of BLSMPD: Bureau of Labor Statistics Multiple Personality Disorder. That is, there are two very different BLS employment surveys administered every month -- one of employers, the other of employees -- and as we've long warned, they sometimes contradict each other. This morning, they did so once again, though subtly.

The so-called "payroll" or "establishment" survey of employers provided the positive headline: 146,000 new jobs, almost double the low consensus estimate, itself a function of Sandy shock.

And at first glance, the "household" survey of actual people made a similarly upbeat proclamation: unemployment dropping to 7.7 percent.

But if the month-to-month payroll number means little, headline unemployment fluctuations may mean even less. Reported as "U-3" by the BLS, the headline unemployment percentage excludes anyone who didn't look for a job in the past 4 weeks. Counted as employed, therefore, is anyone who worked at least one hour in the past week, even if they said they were "part-time" for economic reasons and wanted, desperately even, full-time work.

That's why we tally U-7, which totals everyone who says they want a job -- the BLS asks this very question each month -- and adds everyone who is working part-time but tells the survey taker that s/he wants to work full-time. U-7 dipped from 16.69 percent to 16.60 percent in November, hardly the headline drop from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. Without numbing you with the arithmetic, the U-3 drop is five times larger than what happened to U-7. So what explains the difference?

The answer lies deeper in the data. The US "civilian noninstitutional population" grew by a couple of hundred thousand but the labor force shrank by more than a quarter of a million. That's a whole lot of people who didn't die, didn't emigrate. So where did they go? Given the BLS definition of "labor force," they were no longer laborers -- presumably because they hadn't looked for work in the past four weeks.

This would jibe with another downbeat statistic. A full hundred thousand fewer Americans were reported as "employed" (even if only super-part-time, remember), though this could be Sandy related. And the shrunken labor force also corresponds to the "fact" that some 200,000 people were subtracted from last month's "unemployed" total. They are simply no longer "unemployed" by U-3 standards. But they almost surely consider themselves to be if you take seriously the "persons who want a job" number, which rose dramatically in November.

Bottom line, today's "healthy" drop in U-3, it would appear, is nothing to write home about. As for the payroll survey surge, relative to low projections in the wake of Sandy, I don't know what to make of it except to proceed with caution. I can't count the number of times, over the years I've been looking at the BLS data, that the payroll and household surveys have contradicted one another. As economist Dean Baker wisely counseled me long ago, look at trends, not the latest monthly blips.

In that spirit, I should point out, as the BLS did this morning, that the much-ballyhooed payroll jobs numbers of the past two months have now been revised downward by almost 50,000. Who knows what will happen to November's?

In The Wall St. Journal this morning, Jeffrey Sparshott and Eric Morath sum up nicely:

"While November's rise in employment was well ahead of expectations, it followed sharp downward revisions to the prior two months. October's nonfarm payrolls rose 138,000, versus the initially reported 171,000, and September was up 132,000, not 148,000. The lower unemployment rate, meanwhile, largely reflects people leaving the work force."

The economy sucks.

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:59 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:The economy sucks.

Oh, this is true, and the numbers most definitely were BS...but to offer a brighter spin to things, it does seem to be improving. Very, very slowly, but so long as we can avoid any other big system shocks*, it should eventually sort itself out.

*Sequestration would be the obvious one to worry about. That mess ain't gonna help anything if it goes on too long.

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Re: 873,000 Jobs in September

Postby ConMan » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:46 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Wnderer wrote:The economy sucks.

Oh, this is true, and the numbers most definitely were BS...but to offer a brighter spin to things, it does seem to be improving. Very, very slowly, but so long as we can avoid any other big system shocks*, it should eventually sort itself out.

*Sequestration would be the obvious one to worry about. That mess ain't gonna help anything if it goes on too long.

I wouldn't say they were BS, but it does highlight the problem in trying to deal with the current end of the time series. Technically, given the way BLS seasonally adjusts their numbers, anything up to about 5 years ago could be revised but the significant revisions all happen at the bit we're most interested in. This has nothing to do with the numbers being "wrong", it's about the fact that the seasonal patterns are adjusted for using a model that draws on the data both from adjacent periods and the same period in adjacent years, with some semi-manual intervention made to adjust for one-off events that affect the ability to estimate the seasonal pattern like, say, a hurricane. You could look at the behaviour of the original, unadjusted series, but that tends to be dominated by a combination of seasonal and irregular effects to the point that month-to-month movements are pretty much meaningless.
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