The Politics of Unemployment

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by numediaman, May 14, 2004.

  1. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #1
    I suppose this would be better for a blog than a forums, but here goes:

    Are you aware that last month the Labor Department included 270,000 jobs to the employment report that did not exist? The Labor Department uses a formula it calls the "birth/death model" to include (or exclude) jobs that they feel they can not track through their normal surveying.

    As a result, in March, the Labor Department added in 153,000 jobs to the report. Not content with this level of adjustment, the LD added in another 117,000 jobs to their report for April, bring the total of fake jobs to 270,000. No wonder the jobs report looked great!

    WHAT ARE THEY SMOKING AT THE LABOR DEPT.?
    By JOHN CRUDELE, NY Post

    May 11, 2004 -- DON'T get too excited about all those new jobs that were supposed to have been created in April.Anyone who plodded through my column last Thursday knows I predicted that job growth in April would be better than the 160,000 to 170,000 jobs that the "pros" were anticipating.

    But I also said, quite emphatically I hope, that the stronger growth would be an illusion - the result of the Labor Department's computers making happy predictions about seasonal job creation that could neither be verified nor justified.

    I'll explain one aspect.

    Back in the March employment report, the government added 153,000 positions to its revised total of 337,000 new jobs because it thought (but couldn't prove) loads of new companies were being created in this economy.

    That estimate comes from the Labor Department's "birth/death model." You can look up these numbers on the Department's Web site.

    As staggering as the assumption about new companies was in March, the Labor Department got even more brazen in April.

    Last Friday, it was disclosed that these imaginary jobs had been increased by 117,000 to 270,000 for the latest month - because, I guess, the stat jockeys got a vision from the gods of spring.

    Without those extra 117,000 make-believe jobs, the total growth for April would have been just 171,000 - sub-par for an economy that's supposed to be growing at more than 4 percent a year, but right on the pros' targets.

    Take away all 270,000 make-believe jobs and, well, you have the sort of pessimism that the political pollsters are seeing . . .

    http://nypost.com/business/23936.htm

    By the way, this column is from the Murdoch owned NY Post, one of the most stauchly pro-Bush papers in the country.

    The "birth/death model" can cut both ways -- and I wouldn't be surprised if the level of job growth has been slightly underestimated in the past year or so.

    So, if you can't trust the Labor Department numbers, what can you trust in order to have a true idea of the employment picture in America? I would argue that it is "total employment".

    Here is a chart from Jobwatch that shows the payroll gains and losses since 2001. I don't know Jobwatch's definition of "insufficient growth" -- though I suspect they mean that these states have had growth, but an insufficient number of new jobs to cover population increase. Anyway, what it shows is obvious.

    My question: can a sitting president win a 'swing' state when the number of employed has decreased during his term? I think this explains why Kerry is leading in Ohio -- a state Bush MUST win.
     

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  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  3. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #3
    As someone living in Oregon, I deeply understand the reality of the situation...we have been among the hardest hit states throughout this recession...I guess I should move to Alaska. Hopefully this will be the issue it deserves to be in the coming months...
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    I hear there are a lot of extra oil and logging jobs going up there...
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Gone but not forgotten.
    #5
    Supposedly, Floriduh has very low unemployment right now. Of course, that should just mean that many people have run out of benefits.

    How could the government track employment? Why not use Social Security payments? However, this might cause an unsettling light on the condition of Social Security in general.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    What, the numbers are just guesswork? And world stock markets rise and fall on the back of this? Can't you guys agree on a method of counting? It's bad enough when politicians mangle the language, but mangling the math should at least leave a trace. This is just like Enron were doing with their figures.
     
  7. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    Jan 1, 2004
    #7
    *so confused*

    How are those numbers chosen? It may be legitimate. I know that in the next 5 years when all the Baby Boomers are retiring the actual number of people employed will drop tremendously but the job market will be a dream and there should be tons of available jobs :D So the numbers will have to be adjusted to recognize a huge shift in population... but I want to know how and why they did it this time...
     
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
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    #8
    You've heard the accountant's joke, right?

    Employer: "What's 1 + 1?"

    Prospective employee: "What do you want it to be?"

    Oh, I didn't realise it was up to me now. I think if I was in charge of the money and reporting, someone would be trying to kill me for working to get at the truth. :D

    By the way, if you haven't noticed, the stock markets in NYC particularly change on rumour, not just "factual" information. ;)
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Apparently "factual information" is SO twentieth century that it's ALL rumour nowadays...
     

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