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The US Did Not Create 205,000 New Jobs in October, 2013 -- Jobs Fell by 499,000
Raymond Richman, 11/12/2013

As we have been pointing out for several months, the data with respect to employment and unemployment published by the BLS needs to be read carefully before accepting the summaries, the news reports, and television reporting. We prefer to ignore the seasonally adjusted weekly data because as economists we see no need to seasonally adjust weekly data. If the data is seasonally adjusted, the actual data should be reported and an explanation why the trend, if any, may not be relied on because of seasonal factors could be mentioned in a footnote. Another example of the misuse of seasonal data appeared last week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in October, 2013, 205,000 new non-agricultural jobs were created, according to a survey of employers. We were surprised by the figure since the four weekly reports made during the month indicated that more than a 1.2 million new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in October. Checking Table 1 of the monthly report corroborated what the BLS reported.

But what is one to make of Table 8, which contains both unadjusted and adjusted data from the household survey. Not seasonally adjusted non-agricultural employment decreased 499,000 and seasonally adjusted non-ag employment decreased even more by 667,000.

Look at what else the table shows. The number of part-time workers increased 178,000 from 7,522,000 to 7,700,000.

Altogether, not a pretty picture. The stock market went up Friday after the BLS Report. Do you think it would have done so had the media reported Table A-8?

Following is the table:  

             

HOUSEHOLD DATA

Table A-8. Employed persons by class of worker and part-time status

[In thousands]

Category

Not seasonally adjusted

Seasonally adjusted

Oct.

Sept.

Oct.

Oct.

Sept.

Oct.

2012

2013

2013

2012

2013

2013

CLASS OF WORKER

 

Agriculture and related industries

2,222

2,271

2,263

2,195

2,209

2,209

Wage and salary workers(1)

1,446

1,477

1,415

1,394

1,397

1,356

Self-employed workers, unincorporated

758

762

800

751

772

795

Unpaid family workers

18

32

48

-

-

-

Nonagricultural industries

141,817

142,380

141,881

141,245

142,095

141,428

Wage and salary workers(1)

132,967

133,612

133,333

132,326

133,319

132,826

Government

20,745

20,309

19,864

20,555

20,233

19,726

Private industries

112,222

113,303

113,469

111,784

113,099

113,090

Private households

707

694

796

-

-

-

Other industries

111,514

112,610

112,673

111,058

112,434

112,313

Self-employed workers, unincorporated

8,775

8,723

8,492

8,819

8,634

8,531

Unpaid family workers

76

44

57

-

-

-

 

PERSONS AT WORK PART TIME(2)

 

All industries

 

Part time for economic reasons(3)

7,870

7,522

7,700

8,286

7,926

8,050

Slack work or business conditions

4,976

4,763

4,878

5,177

4,960

5,047

Could only find part-time work

2,634

2,532

2,618

2,618

2,557

2,599

Part time for noneconomic reasons(4)

19,460

19,151

19,228

18,896

18,967

18,786

Nonagricultural industries

 

Part time for economic reasons(3)

7,768

7,437

7,628

8,162

7,860

7,964

Slack work or business conditions

4,910

4,715

4,832

5,105

4,896

4,998

Could only find part-time work

2,613

2,517

2,611

2,631

2,556

2,601

Part time for noneconomic reasons(4)

19,058

18,848

18,866

18,527

18,696

18,432

Footnotes

(1) Includes self-employed workers whose businesses are incorporated.

(2) Refers to those who worked 1 to 34 hours during the survey reference week and excludes employed persons who were absent from their jobs for the entire week.

(3) Refers to those who worked 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason such as slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, or seasonal declines in demand.

(4) Refers to persons who usually work part time for noneconomic reasons such as childcare problems, family or personal obligations, school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, and other reasons. This excludes persons who usually work full time but worked only 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for reasons such as vacations, holidays, illness, and bad weather.

 

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