Suspicious Data From the BLS

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While sifting through the numbers from the November employment report,[1] I ran across what appears to be suspicious data from the BLS.  At the bottom of Table A-11 I found this:

HOUSEHOLD DATA

Table A-11. Unemployed persons by reason for unemployment

[Numbers in thousands]

Reason

Not seasonally adjusted

Seasonally adjusted

Nov.

Oct.

Nov.

Nov.

Oct.

Nov.

2010

2011

2011

2010

2011

2011

UNEMPLOYED AS A PERCENT OF THE

 

CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

5.8

4.8

4.7

6.2

5.2

4.9

Job leavers

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.6

0.7

0.7

Reentrants

2.2

2.2

2.1

2.2

2.2

2.2

New entrants

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm.  Accessed December 2, 2011.

Take a close look at those last three rows.  The numbers are virtually identical.  What’s especially troubling is that the seasonally adjusted figures are the same as those that are not seasonally adjusted.  I would expect a discrepancy in November due to seasonal holiday hiring.

I have no idea whether this is important or even real.  And, yes, I realize the numbers are small relative to the job losers and persons completing temporary jobs.  But this leads me to a bit more doubt about the veracity of the BLS numbers.

 



[1] Yes, I know I have too much time on my hands.  Table 11???

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.