Friday, September 6, 2013

The Non-Farm Payroll Report: The BLS Outright Embarrasses Itself

I want to preface my comments today by stating that the Government's monthly employment report is a complete work of fiction.  This has been shown to be true ad nauseum by many analysts.  What really amuses me is that these supposed highly educated, highly paid Wall Street "experts" go on programs like CNBC and Bloomberg News and have a serious discussion about an economic report that is really nothing more than a statistical comic book.  It's like watching a human version of "Family Guy."

Having said that, today's particular report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was an outright embarrassment for the people working at the BLS - the few who actually put in a solid 30 hours per week not including their one hour lunch.  The headline number reported that 169k jobs were added to the economy in August, well below the 180k expected by Wall Street's finest forecasters.  But the real shocker was the downward revision to July's report.  The original report stated that 162k jobs were created in July.  But today's report showed a downward revision to just 104k jobs (please keep in mind that these numbers are purely fictitious).  If you care, here's a link to the actual report:  No BS like BLS

Huh?  The Phd Government statisticians and data-gatherers missed their original estimate by 38%?  You can't be serious.  If an insurance company actuary missed his estimates on expected payouts over the next year by 38%, he would be fired on the spot.  This is a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.  But what's most pathetic about the situation is that an error in estimation this egregious essentially means that everyone who works at the BLS on the employment report has been rendered of no use.  They are working on the taxpayer payroll in order to produce reports that are completely useless.  Their jobs are meaningless.  Why even bother going into the office?

What's equally as astonishing is that the Government has the nerve to report that the unemployment rate actually fell to 7.3%.  Again, this is a purely fictitious number.  The reason that the unemployment rate fell in August is that 516,000 people left the labor force.  Over half a million people either gave up looking for a job and crawled down some rabbit hole, took out massive student loans and enrolled at University of Phoenix online or went for the real money and decided to apply for social security disability and get paid by the taxpayer to stay at home and stare at reality tv.

Recall that the unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of people not working but appear to be looking for a job that's not there divided by the labor force.  The labor force is defined as everyone working plus everyone who really wants to work.  If you leave the "labor force" for any of the three reasons I listed above, you are no longer considered part of the BLS statistic known as "the unemployment rate."

From this the labor force participation rate dropped to 63.2%.  This rate is the number of people defined to be in the labor force divided by the working age population.  With over a half million people dropping out of the BLS's sight, the labor force participation is at its lowest level since 1978.  Think about that for a minute.  What were you doing in 1978?  What was our country like?  What was going on in our country?

Think about what it means that our economic system can only support the same relative number of jobs now that it supported in 1978.  That is truly an appalling fact.  That's even more mind-blowing than the revelation that everyone at the BLS who works on the monthly non-farm employment report is completely useless..


  1. "Consider this: The nation has averaged 148,000 new jobs a month for the last three months. The number was 160,000 for the last six months, and 184,000 a month over the last year. That looks to me like a downward trend, no two ways about it. It’s certainly not the gradual acceleration that most mainstream economists have forecast as 2013 advances and the impact of tighter fiscal policy fades.

    Want another sign? The proportion of the U.S. population that had a job in August was 58.6 percent. Six months earlier, the number was a whopping — wait for it — 58.6 percent. The year is nearly three-quarters over, and the economy isn’t growing fast enough to put a higher proportion of its citizens back to work.

    You don’t have to squint hard to see evidence that the “nice, steady improvement” theme that has been the conventional wisdom is missing part of the story."

  2. Bullshit Labor Statistics (BLS)
    the trick is to layer the holograms, like an onion

  3. What Are We Doing in Syria?

    Guest host Phil Donahue examines the deadly civil war in Syria and the consequences of another American intervention in the Middle East. Our guests include NPR Middle East correspondent Deborah Amos and historian and analyst Andrew Bacevich.

    1. Since the Syrians are fighting against forces recruited from all over the world by Saudi Arabia, how is this a "civil war"? It is an attack on Syria by a mercenary army controlled by Islamic extremists.

  4. Dave, you are awesome. I love people who say it how it is. Thanks bro.

  5. michael schumacherFriday, 06 September, 2013

    I guess it sounds more believable coming from a wife's latin so don't hate.
    How about all those part-time jobs?..
    yet another "unintended" consequence of the great health-care fiasco presented as obamacare.

    I know of three people this week who were told that hours were being cut to 20 a week, these are professional, educated people, yet the workload remains the same and they do not pay overtime. They all work in same place and get compensatory time off if overtime worked so this is not walmart I'm talking about in this case.
    But it's certainly starting to feel that way.........

    See the math issue here if you normally work 40 hours a week yet hours cut to 20 and comp. time still given? Neither do they ;-) It's absurd out there now....

  6. What are we doing in Syria? Short answer. -- Obozo needs a serious distraction before the Sheeple wake up to the reality he's done shit for the economy, rammed and unconstitutional healthcare train wreck nightmare down our throats meanwhile bilking 100 mil here and there for vacations

  7. Dave,

    A little tough on the folks at BLS but a good read. Let's hope the downward revision for July had something to do with the Qrtly's.

    I like to look at the employment data in terms of decades -- it is pretty disturbing.

  8. Another kick-ass post, Dave, with no prisoners taken. I like it. One minor quibble, however, is your comparison of the boneheads at CNBC and Bloomberg News to Family Guy (Peter Griffin may be a moron, but even he would be dismayed by the comparison). Tsk, tsk!

  9. Seems to me that we are playing a gigantic, world wide game of fiat musical chairs, it is that tragic and farcical. The sickening, saccharin
    allure of the carnival barkers -CNBS & Bloomberg- keep hyping a rotten corpse of a financial 3 Card Monte market that the clueless, brain dead, American public thinks is just fine. Ask someone in your family at the next BBQ about tapering and Syria and watch their eyes glaze over. This all the while the Cramer's, LIESman's & Nadler's of financial gurus are hoping to grab a seat on the last plane out of Saigon before the music stops.

    When the musics over, turn out the lights.

  10. Dave, I have a question. What do you think caused the sharp decline of the gold lease rate since 2009?

    If you go to the LBMA website and look the LIBOR-GOFO column, you will find that the lease rates have been much lower since 2009 than in 2000s and 1990s.

    (I know that the formula Gold lease rate=Libor - GOFO is not accurate. This formula is based on the interest rate parity theory which is only an approximation of the real world and doesn't hold perfectly. Besides that, the formula ignores the bid-offer spread. However, it can still give us some idea where lease rate are going)

    At the moment, I have 2 explanation for this.
    1. The Fed adopted the zero-rate policy in 2008. Gold miners can borrow the USD cheaply so they don't need gold loans( gold lease rates are usually quite cheap). Besides that, a lot of gold miners have cut their hedge books. The demand for gold loans have thus declined.

    2. The western central banks have been aggressively leasing out gold since 2009 to hold down the gold price. But the problem with this explanation is that it's hard to prove. The only evidence perhaps is Germany's 7 year gold repatriation.
    Which explanation do you think is more plausible? Do you have any other explanation? Many thanks.

    1. How do you know the CB's that are leasing out gold are only leasing out the gold they legally title too?

      LIBOR is lower too and that affects the GLR and GOFO.

      The simple fact is that GOFO goes negative when there is a shortage of immediately deliverable gold.

      Lease rates go negative when the CB's flood the market with gold to keep the price down.

  11. Police Across USA Charged With Traffic Ticket Quotas To Meet Budgets
    Georgia, Alabama, New York and Michigan police all facing quota investigations

    If the Atlanta police department wants to make sure their future pay raises come in, they had better write more tickets and make sure they show up in court to defend them, says a report from Channel 2 Action News in the Georgia capitol.

    The TV news team obtained an email sent from the police union chief Ken Allen to his members in the Atlanta Police Department explaining that future raises will be funded through ticket revenue based on the most recent city budget.

    It may be the first time a major city overtly spelled out the connection between traffic ticket revenue and police salary and raises, and it raises questions that the southern city is instituting an official quota system.

    "The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases ... (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries," Allen told officers in the email, according to Channel 2. "Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed."

    As city's cope with tightening budgets, "unofficial" ticket writing quotas have been uncovered in the last year, with line officers, many of whom object to the practice, caught in the middle.

    In Bethel Heights, Ark., last month, Officer Timothy Brasuell recorded his police chief pushing him to manufacture reasons to make more traffic stops and get his ticket numbers up. Brasuell, reported NBC TV affiliate KNWA, played the recording for the county prosecutor and mayor who dismissed the officer's concerns "as an internal matter."

    In Staten Island, NY, three police officers were charged in 2012 with writing phony tickets to meet unofficial quotas they claimed were forced on them by superiors. Officer Paul Pizzuto, who was dismissed and lost his pension, made the claim that bosses threatened to transfer him if he didn't keep up a quota of 150 tickets per month. Pizzuto was caught submitting bogus summonses of people he had previously ticketed, and even people who were dead.

    In Auburn, Ala., earlier this year, a police officer was fired for allegedly going against a ticket quota policy dictated by superiors to raise extra revenue for the city. Officer Justin Hanners charged that his commanding officer told him and his fellow officers they had to write at least 100 tickets per month, according to The Opelika-Auburn News. Cops who wrote the most tickets, Hanners charged in court papers, were rewarded with gift certificates for steak dinners and other goodies. Those who fell short, he charged, were threatened with job loss or mandatory over-time on holidays and other undesirable days.

  12. Syria – Cui bono Part 2 – Qatar, Saudi, Russia and Gas

    Our leaders would like you to believe that what is going on in Syria is simple – a bad man has gassed innocent victims and it is up to good people to punish him (take out his air defenses), prevent him from ever doing it again (regime change) and serve notice to other bad men (Iran) that doing really bad things (to be defined as and when) to people we like is verboten. In Simple World, the emphasis is on ‘what happened’. As if why things happen is unimportant or too obvious to be concerned about. It’s ‘watch the birdie’ politics. Please look right here – only here. Something pops out, you’re surprised, there’s a flash and we all enjoy the memories.

    Or you can ask ‘Why?’ But asking ‘why’ confuses the simplicity.

  13. The West Dethroned — Paul Craig Roberts

    What this reveals is that the support behind the liar obama is feeble and limited. The ability of the Western countries to dominate international politics came to an end at the G20 meeting. The moral authority of the West is completely gone, shattered and eroded by countless lies and shameless acts of aggression based on nothing but lies and self-interests. Nothing remains of the West’s “moral authority,” which was never anything but a cover for self-interest, murder, and genocide.

    The West has been destroyed by its own governments, who have told too many self-serving lies, and by its capitalist corporations, who offshored the West’s jobs and technology to China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, depriving the Western governments of a tax base and the support of its citizens.

    It is difficult to know whether citizens in the West hate their corrupt governments any less than do Muslims, whose lives and countries have been devastated by Western aggression, or than do citizens of third world countries who have been impoverished by being looted by predatory First World financial organizations.

    The idiot Western governments have pissed away their clout. There is no prospect whatsoever of the neoconservative fantasy of US hegemony being exercised over Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, South America, Iran. These countries can establish their own system of international payments and finance and leave the dollar standard whenever they wish. One wonders why they wait. The US dollar is being printed in unbelievable quantities and is no longer qualified to be the world reserve currency. The US dollar is on the verge of total worthlessness.

  14. Webster Tarpley On Noam Chomsky, Randy Credico For NYC Mayor, And Syria On The Black Tower Show

  15. Koch Brothers Spend $7.2 Billion To Acquire Conglomerate/Drone Parts Manufacturer

    Will the "libertarian" Koch brothers do the right thing and shut these operations down?

  16. Coincidentally, another bit info sourced by Paul Craig Roberts (from several months ago): In a KWN interview, he said he believed that the blatant obviousness with which the BLS data has been manipulated was possibly a testament of the statisticians integrity. That is, the report's writer wanted the public to know the data was B.S., the statisticians weren't trying to trick or fool anyone.
    Rather the are attempting to make the lie that they are forced to tell as obvious as possible. To the extent that this report is published/edited by prideful, professionals (as opposed to admin. henchmen eg. Holder, Rice), I would agree.

    Doug S.