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Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in At TMV | 4 comments

You Can Wonder About The Unemployment Numbers Without Being Partisan

While I am not going to take the conspiracy route I do think it is reasonable to wonder about the seeming disconnect in the employment figures today

Every month the government does two surveys, one where they ask employers how many people they hired and one where they ask households who is working (it is this latter number they use to calculate the unemployment rate)

As you might imagine these stats usually are close to each other. If employers say they hired 100k people the past month then households usually report around 100k more people working. Obviously not always 100% the same but close.

This past month employers reported adding about 130,000 new jobs, which is about the same as they have been reporting in past months and about the same that households have reported.

But the household figure was over 800,000 in new jobs.

There is something odd there, that the numbers would have matched for literally years then suddenly be so far apart.

Now certainly there could be innocent reasons. If you worked one hour last month then you are considered to be working in the household survey, so it may just be that a lot of temp jobs came up in September.

But I think you can question why the figures are so far off without being called partisan.

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  • Rambie

    “…These numbers are always tremendously volatile, but the reasons are statistical, not political…”

  • The_Ohioan

    Not really, we can’t really dismiss partisanship. Mr. Romney doesn’t believe it. Just like Joe Scarborough and Jack Welch don’t believe it.

    [ROMNEY”: …but the truth is if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today as on the day the president got elected, why, our unemployment rate would be around 11 percent.”

    He is about half right. If the labor force participation rate was exactly what it was when Obama came into office the unemployment rate would be nearly 11 percent. But economists say that the labor force is shrinking not just because people are too discouraged to look for work, but also because there is a surge in baby boomers retiring and people are staying in school longer.]–abc-news-politics.html

    It is encouraging that at least one main stream media source has begun checking the Romney truthometer – ABC news. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue until the election.

  • The_Ohioan

    Alan West doesn’t believe it. Most of the right wing websites don’t believe it. I’m beginning to not believe it. If Michelle Bachman says she doesn’t believe it, that will be the final proof that, yes, it is a conspiracy theory just like so many others she’s been able to inform us about. But not partisan, never that.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor


    So what questions, if any, can I raise without being partisan ?

    I made it clear that I do not buy into the conspiracy theory, I suspect this to be a statistical glitch that will be revised next month to give us numbers that match more closely.

    And to my friends on the left, if this happened under a GOP President would you be allowed to question it or would that be partisan too ?

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