The BLS Has a Problem

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The latest jobs report (December 5, 2014) includes outright contradictions. According to the New York Post’s John Crudele, a comparison of the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data is, um, instructive. Let’s look at the data first:

BLS data November 2014 The BLS has a problem

The ratio of the seasonally adjusted to non-seasonally adjusted data should be pretty close to the same in two consecutive years. But it’s not. Even worse, the NSA figures decreased between 2013 and 2014. But the SA numbers increased. There’s something very, very wrong here. (Click here to download my Excel workbook.)

While trying to track down the NSA figures for 2014, I ran across this table: ESTABLISHMENT DATA Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail [In thousands]. Clearly subtracting the October figure from the November number should equal the 1-month change. And it does, confirming Mr. Crudele’s data.

Long-time readers will recall my refusal to use government statistics until 2017. This is yet another example of malfeasance at BLS. Future economists will be forced to exclude the 2013 – 2016 time period from their research because the numbers are not believable.

Thanks to John Crudele and Twitter satirist @hale_razor whose Tweet brought this to my attention.

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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.