Friday, September 7, 2007

Behind the Numbers

Today we hear that 4,000 fewer people had jobs in the USA in August than in July. Don't believe that - the losses are much worse than just 4k.

The numbers of losses have just gotten too big for the statistical "adjustments" to hide. The actual employer survey data showed job losses throughout the second quarter and minimal gains in the first quarter. The Birth/Death Model added 120k jobs in August. That is the assumed net addition from startup businesses, less the losses from existing firms folding. Does anybody actually believe that number should be positive instead of negative given the number of small business failures? The actual employer survey showed 124k losses. The reality is likely to be worse than that once the actual net jobs from business startups and failures is measured.

The household survey has been flashing danger even longer. No jobs created since November of last year. August household survey shows 316k jobs lost. The unemployment number stayed flat because they just took nearly 600k people out of the workforce for no apparent reason. The household survey captures people not considered employees - sole proprietors and independent contractors mostly. That would describe a lot of building subcontractors, realtors, mortgage brokers, etc. With what's happening in the housing sector, you should expect large discrepencies for a while as many such people lose their jobs.

August Employment Report

BLS Birth/Death Model