How many jobs did the U.S. economy generate in December?
The correct answer is:
- None of the above
David Stockman wrote on his “Contra Corner” blog: “According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the US economy generated a miniscule 11,000 jobs in the month of December. Yet notwithstanding the fact that almost nobody works outdoors any more, the BLS fiction writers added 281,000 to their headline number to cover the ‘seasonal adjustment.’”
When we checked the jobs report, the BLS claimed that the economy generated 292,000 jobs in December (after seasonal adjustment), not 281,000. We couldn’t verify Stockman’s claim that the actual figure should be 11,000, but searching the term “seasonal” turned up a whopping 41 hits in a single news release. So Stockman’s numbers may not be 100% accurate, but he’s clearly on to something.
The BLS press release noted, “The effect of such seasonal variation can be very large.” But large enough to use a multiplier of 25+?
Stockman wrote that an upward revision for December is typical as an adjustment to account for cold weather, but December 2015 was an exceptionally warm month. Santa arrived in shorts and sunglasses. (more…)