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Fri Feb 1, 2019, 09:38 AM

U.S. creates 304,000 jobs in January, unemployment rises to 4%

Source: Marketwatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. gained 304,000 new jobs in January in another show of strength for the economy, though hiring at the end of 2018 wasn't nearly as robust as originally reported. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 172,000 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate edged up tp 4% from 3.9%. The Labor Department said the government shutdown had no "discernible" impact on net hiring, but it did contribute to the higher jobless rate. The average wage paid to American workers, meanwhile, rose 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $27.56 an hour. The 12-month rate of hourly wage gains dipped to 3.2% from a revised 3.3% in the prior three months that marked a post-recession high. Hours worked each week was flat at 34.5. The government said 222,000 new jobs were created in December instead of 312,000. November's gain was raised to 196,000 from 176,000. The big change in December stemmed in part from annual updates the government makes based on newly available information.

Read more: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-creates-304000-jobs-in-january-unemployment-rises-to-4-2019-02-01?mod=bnbh

41 replies, 4103 views

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Reply U.S. creates 304,000 jobs in January, unemployment rises to 4% (Original post)
UpInArms Feb 2019 OP
INdemo Feb 2019 #1
UpInArms Feb 2019 #2
Iliyah Feb 2019 #4
Yavin4 Feb 2019 #16
DrToast Feb 2019 #34
onenote Feb 2019 #21
itcfish Feb 2019 #30
progree Feb 2019 #32
politicaljunkie41910 Feb 2019 #41
BumRushDaShow Feb 2019 #3
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #6
BumRushDaShow Feb 2019 #8
UpInArms Feb 2019 #22
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #23
Johnny2X2X Feb 2019 #5
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #7
progree Feb 2019 #9
Johnny2X2X Feb 2019 #13
Yavin4 Feb 2019 #17
progree Feb 2019 #18
Yavin4 Feb 2019 #19
mathematic Feb 2019 #24
progree Feb 2019 #28
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #10
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #11
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #12
progree Feb 2019 #14
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #20
progree Feb 2019 #29
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #31
progree Feb 2019 #33
Mr. Sparkle Feb 2019 #15
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #25
IronLionZion Feb 2019 #26
DrToast Feb 2019 #35
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #36
progree Feb 2019 #37
Vinca Feb 2019 #27
progree Feb 2019 #38
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2019 #39
progree Feb 2019 #40

Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:01 AM

1. I dont believe this

The Trump people are cookin the books in the labor department or whatever dept this data comes from

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:06 AM

2. It will be revised downward next month

eom

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:18 AM

4. I don't believe them as well.

I remember how the Bush administration cooked the books as well. Then all of a sudden, (-) jobs in the hundred of thousands happened.

I fear the same from the fucked up t-rump administration and the fucked up Republican party.

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:02 PM

16. I believe it. It's not Trump's people. It's the BLS.

Jobs are being created because interest rates are still in stimulus territory. What's truly happening is that jobs are being created, but they're not paying wages at cost of living levels.

It's easy to get a job, but getting a job that can support a family or even support yourself is the true problem.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #16)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 03:04 PM

34. Thank you for stocking up for the BLS

It’s the same BLS as it was under Obama. They aim to get the numbers right. They’re not going to cook the books for anyone.

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:48 PM

21. Hmmm...where have I heard that argument before?

Do you really want to be recycling the stupid conspiracy theories that Trump was spinning when Obama was president?


And think about it for a minute: if they were "cookin the books" why would they show a 90,000 downward revision for December or an increase in the unemployment rate or no growth in hours worked?

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:53 PM

30. Do these statistics

Include temporary Christmas employment? Partimers? These worker when they are laid off cannot apply for unemployment. This is what I understand.

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Response to itcfish (Reply #30)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 02:18 PM

32. Some answers

"Do these statistics Include temporary Christmas employment?"

Yes

"Partimers?"

Yes. To clarify they are considered as Employed in both the Establishment Survey (the payroll jobs stuff) and in most of the Household Survey numbers (all the other job-related numbers other than the hourly and weekly earnings numbers). In other words, they count the same as full time workers in most of the headline employment statistics (payroll jobs, unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, to name the big 3 that I can think of). So that's problematical.

There are separate statistics on part-time, full-time, and multiple job holders. The U-6 unemployment rate also counts as "unemployed" part-timers who say they want full-time work. Which is why it is often called the underemployment rate.

"These worker when they are laid off cannot apply for unemployment. This is what I understand."

I don't know what the criteria are for being eligible for unemployment benefits, so I can't comment on that. (I think they are covered if they are employees and not if they are independent contractors. And there might be some minimum hours that must be met).

But unemployment benefit status has nothing to do with the unemployment number counting -- the unemployment rate and number of unemployed, labor force, etc. etc. numbers are from a survey of 60,000 households each month. They are NOT a count of the number of people collecting unemployment benefits. See: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm (and search the page for the word "insurance" )

Also the numbers are seasonally adjusted.

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Response to INdemo (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2019, 01:15 AM

41. This is the only administration I believe this about. Having a career in Accounting and Finance,

and working for DoD and the Federal Govt, I never believed it when people would question the jobs number each month. But I wouldn't put anything past the current administration. Trump used to claim that Obama was fixing the jobs numbers and unemployment rates each month, and I knew that wasn't true because 1) Obama wasn't responsible for providing that info, and 2) President Obama had too much integrity to be accused of fixing the number. Now Trump is a whole different story. I wouldn't trust anything he says, if his tongue came notarized. He lies about everything and neither he nor his cabinet members have any integrity IMO, outside the Intelligence Community because I worked with that community. He can make his cabinet members say anything as when they hold their "praise" meetings and heap praise on Trump, OR they're just willing to say anything to please him.

Now that doesn't include the Intelligence Community in general, though I don't personally trust Pompeo after his meeting with the Saudi's after they murdered Kashogee (pardon my spelling) in the Turkish Embassy. When Pompeo first went to meet with the Saudi's after his murder, Pompeo was smiling too much for me when he met with the Crown Prince who authorized the murder. I thought that there was nothing to smile about with Pompeo there to investigate a murder, but he just kept smiling all the while he was talking with the murderous Crown Prince. At that point, I concluded that he had no credibility to investigate the Royals. I know Pompeo's not a wealthy man and I concluded then that he was probably for sale too, just as the Trumps and Jared Kushner had sold their soul's to the Saudis. This is just my opinion.

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:07 AM

3. Hopefully

mahatmakanejeeves will roll in with his background info!!! He may be running late this morning.

This part -

222,000 new jobs were created in December instead of 312,000.


is a HUGE revision! We're talking a -90,000 correction. Yikes.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:46 AM

6. I just got in five minutes ago. I'll be adding to this thread throughout the day.

Last edited Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:52 PM - Edit history (1)

Good morning. We're having flurries here, and I'm in no hurry.

Hat tip to UpInArms for starting the thread. MarketWatch is a good source.

Hat tip as well to BumRushDaShow for usually starting this thread when I am nowhere to be found at 8:30 a.m. on the first Friday of the month.

Payroll employment increases by 304,000 in January; unemployment rate edges up to 4.0%

Economic News Release USDL-19-0140

Employment Situation Summary
Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until 8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 1, 2019

Technical information:
Household data: (202) 691-6378 * [email protected] * www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data: (202) 691-6555 * [email protected] * www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact: (202) 691-5902 * [email protected]


THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
at 6.5 million, edged up in January. The impact of the partial federal government
shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures. Among the unemployed, the
number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000. This figure
includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on
temporary layoff under the definitions used in the household survey. (See tables
A-1 and A-11. For information about annual population adjustments to the household
survey estimates, see the note at the end of this release and tables B and C. For
more information on the classification of workers affected by the partial federal
government shutdown, see the box note at the end of this news release.)
....

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, compared with
an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018. In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings from the establishment survey. (See table B-1. For information about the annual benchmark process, see the note at the end of this release and table A. For more information on the classification of workers affected by the partial federal government shutdown, see the box note at the end of this news release.)
....

Construction employment rose by 52,000 in January. Job gains occurred among specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the nonresidential (+19,000) and residential (+15,000) components. Employment also rose in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000) and residential building (+9,000). Construction has added 338,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
....

Mining employment increased by 7,000 in January. The industry has added 64,000 jobs over the year, almost entirely in support activities for mining.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the month (+30,000) and has increased by 546,000 in the past 12 months.

Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in January (+13,000). Over-the-month job gains occurred in durable goods (+20,000), while employment in nondurable goods changed little (-7,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 261,000 over the year, with more than four-fifths of the gain in durable goods industries.

Employment in federal government was essentially unchanged in January (+1,000). Federal employees on furlough during the partial government shutdown were counted as employed in the establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive pay) for the pay period that included the 12th of the month.
....

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January. In manufacturing, both the workweek and overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours and 3.5 hours, respectively. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $27.56, following a 10-cent gain in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 85 cents, or 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $23.12 in January. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up from +176,000 to +196,000, and the change for December was revised down from +312,000 to +222,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 70,000 less than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged 241,000 per month over the last 3 months. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to the November and December revisions.)

_____________
The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 8, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).


_____________________________________________________________________________
|
| Partial Federal Government Shutdown
|
| Some federal government agencies were shut down or operating at reduced
| staffing levels during a lapse in appropriations from December 22, 2018,
| through January 25, 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was
| funded during the shutdown period and was operating as usual. Data
| collection for the household and establishment surveys occurred as
| scheduled.
|
| In the household survey, individuals are classified as employed,
| unemployed, or not in the labor force based on their answers to a series
| of questions about their activities during the survey reference week.
| Workers who indicated that they were not working during the entire
| survey reference week and expected to be recalled to their jobs should
| be classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. In January 2019, there
| was an increase in the number of federal workers who were classified as
| unemployed on temporary layoff. However, there also was an increase in
| the number of federal workers who were classified as employed but absent
| from work. BLS analysis of the underlying data indicates that this group
| included federal workers affected by the shutdown who also should have
| been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. Such a
| misclassification is an example of nonsampling error and can occur when
| respondents misunderstand questions or interviewers record answers
| incorrectly. If the federal workers who were recorded as employed but
| absent from work had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff,
| the overall unemployment rate would have been slightly higher than
| reported. However, according to usual practice, the data from the
| household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity,
| no ad hoc actions are taken to reassign survey responses.
|
| In the establishment survey, businesses and government agencies report the
| number of people on payrolls during the pay period that includes the 12th
| of the month. Individuals who work or receive pay for any part of the pay
| period are defined as employed. Federal employees on furlough during the
| partial federal government shutdown were considered employed in the
| establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive
| pay) for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. Other workers
| (including federal contractors) who did not work or receive pay during the
| partial federal government shutdown were not counted among the employed.
|
| Additional information is available online at
| www.bls.gov/bls/shutdown_2019_empsit_qa.pdf.
|_____________________________________________________________________________


Revisions to Establishment Survey Data

{snip a whole bunch}

* * * * *

[center]Facilities for Sensory Impaired[/center]

Information from these releases will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

* * * * *

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:51 AM

8. TGIF to you too!

Getting some pixie dust flying up here in Philly too. Spring can't come soon enough!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:54 PM

22. you rock, mahatmakanejeeves

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Response to UpInArms (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:00 PM

23. Gawrsh



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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:39 AM

5. Labor Department still independent

Last edited Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:32 AM - Edit history (1)

These numbers are valid just as they were valid under Obama.

The job market is still cooking. Fantastic, the problem for now isn't finding a job, it's finding a job that pays well. Wage growth never really picked up and when it did start to show signs of life inflation increased to eat it all up and then some.

We consistently had 1.5% to 2.0% wage growth under Obama which was a slow, but steady boost to working people only because inflation was near 0% for years. Now Trump is boasting about 2% wage growth, well that's being eaten up and then some by inflation in excess of 2%. Under Obama, working people were seeing real gains, under Trump they are falling behind.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:48 AM

7. "These numbers are valid just as they were valid under Obama."

You are correct, sir. BLS has the same people as ever. The acting commissioner has been there for over two years.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 10:56 AM

9. BLS data doesn't agree with inflation-adjusted wages falling behind under Trump part,

Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees, 1982-84 dollars, total private, seasonally adjusted
(i.e. inflation adjusted, also known as real average hourly earnings)
https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000032

Jan 2009: 8.91, Jan 2017: 9.16, Dec 2018: 9.37 (preliminary) (in 1982-84 dollars)

+2.8% under Obama, +2.3% under Trump

The January 2019 inflation-adjusted number won't be available until the CPI report is out later this month.


Similarly for all private employees

Average hourly earnings of all employees, 1982-1984 dollars, total private, seasonally adjusted
(i.e. inflation adjusted)
https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000013

+2.7% under Obama, +2.3% under Trump

#### OH, as far as what's on my sigline (http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439) -- I've been hard-at-work most of the week doing the yearly update -- this one will be the 24 month (2 year) point of the Trump admin (February 1, 2017 thru January 31, 2018. I always assign the inaugural month to the predecessor). Anyway, I hope to have the ones of most interest -- EF-0 thru EF-2 -- by noon central time today.

#### EDITED TO ABOVE -- I spent more time on this thread than I planned, and I screwed up a spreadsheet, so things are going slowly on updating the above pages. So I'm aiming for early Saturday morning to post the updates to the EF- pages.


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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:36 AM

13. Wages should be exploding right now

4% UE! We should be seeing wage growth that is fantastic. There is real competition for hiring out there, companies can't find or keep workers. Why aren't we seeing truly dynamic wage growth?

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:06 PM

17. Because the very definition of a "job" has changed.

When these stats were first being compiled, it meant stable, full time employment paying a certain wage. Today, we have more part-time workers, "gig" workers, contractors, fluctuating hours, etc.

For example, an Uber driver is considered employed and gets counted as such. But try supporting yourself with that job, it aint happening.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:15 PM

18. Inflation-adjusted average WEEKLY earnings are also up (4.0% under Obama, 2.6% under Trump)

Average weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees, 1982-84 dollars, total private, seasonally adjusted
(inflation-adjusted)

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031

Jan 2009: 295.83
Jan 2017: 307.75
Dec 2018: 315.83

Up 4.0% under Obama and up 2.6% under Trump

BLS claims only 5% of the employed are multiple job holders
https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12026620

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Response to progree (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:26 PM

19. $315.83 a week is poverty level

No adult can support him/herself on that weekly wage.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:02 PM

24. 315.83 is an index value not a dollar amount n/t

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:27 PM

28. Those numbers in my #18 are 1982-1984 dollars.

That's what the inflation-adjustment is -- expressing all amounts in 1982-1984 dollars.

Here are the numbers expressed in "current dollars" i.e. no inflation adjustment, i.e. "greenbacks"
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000030

Average weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees, total private, seasonally adjusted
1/2009: $610.88
1/2017: $733.15
1/2019: $779.14


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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:03 AM

10. Links to earlier reports:

[center]Past Performance is Not a Guarantee of Future Results.[/center]

Nonetheless, what is important is not this month's results, but the trend. Let’s look at some earlier numbers:

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in January 2019:

U.S. added 213,000 private-sector jobs in January, ADP says

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in December 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 312,000 in December; unemployment rate rises to 3.9%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in December 2018:

U.S. adds most private-sector jobs in almost 2 years, says ADP

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in November 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 155,000 in November; unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in November 2018:

U.S. adds 179,000 private-sector jobs in November: ADP

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in October 2018:

The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October, unemployment stays at 3.7 percent

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in October 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 227,000 Jobs in October 2018:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in September 2018:

Unemployment rate declines to 3.7% in September; payroll employment increases by 134,000

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in September 2018:

U.S. adds 230,000 private-sector jobs in September: ADP

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in August 2018:

U.S. Added 201,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Steady at 3.9%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in August 2018:

U.S. Firms in August Added Fewest Workers in 10 Months, ADP Says

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in July 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 157,000 in July; unemployment rate edges down to 3.9%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in July 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 219,000 Jobs in July

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in June 2018:

U.S. Added 213,000 Jobs in June; Unemployment Ticks Up to 4%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in June 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 177,000 Jobs in June

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in May 2018:

U.S. economy extends its hiring spree, with a better than expected 223,000 new jobs in May

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in April 2018:

U.S. adds 204,000 private-sector jobs in April, ADP report shows

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in March 2018:

Payroll employment edges up by 103,000 in March; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in March 2018:

Manufacturing Industry Has Strongest Jobs Increase in Three Years

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in February 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 313,000 in February; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in February 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 235,000 Jobs in February

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in January 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 200,000 in January; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in January 2018:

U.S. Private Sector Added 234,000 Jobs in January

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:14 AM

11. Additional links:

From the BLS Twitter account:

Payroll employment increases by 304,000 in January; unemployment rate edges up to 4.0% https://go.usa.gov/vrK #JobsReport #BLSdata



Understanding BLS Unemployment Statistics … #JobsReport #BLSdata



More charts and analysis on the January nonfarm payroll employment numbers http://go.usa.gov/4UqY #JobsReport #BLSdata



* * * * *
REAL TIME ECONOMICS ECONOMY
Five Things to Watch in the January Jobs Report

By Eric Morath
Jan 31, 2019 5:30 am ET

The U.S. government releases its broad measure of the January labor market on Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the Labor Department to report employers added 170,000 jobs during the month and the unemployment rate held at 3.9%. Here are five things to watch in the report. 1. Shutdown Spillover The long […]

TO READ THE FULL STORY
SUBSCRIBE

* * * * *

It used to be that you could get free access to articles in The Wall Street Journal. by going in through TWSJ.'s Twitter account or the Twitter accounts of the authors:

How to get around the paywall to read articles in The Wall Street Journal.:

For free access to articles in The Wall Street Journal., trying going in through the authors' Twitter feeds:

This trick doesn't seem to work anymore, but you might be able to get in if they've slipped up. Here are those accounts:

* * * * *

The Wall Street Journal.: @WSJ
https://twitter.com/wsj

Wall Street Journal

Breaking news and features from the WSJ.

* * * * *

Ben Leubsdorf: @BenLeubsdorf
https://twitter.com/BenLeubsdorf

I cover the economy at @WSJ. @ConMonitorNews, @AP, @the_herald alum. DC native. Hyperactive news omnivore. Also I like burritos. [email protected]

* * * * *

Josh Zumbrun: ‎@JoshZumbrun
https://twitter.com/JoshZumbrun

National economics correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Covering the world's usual state of greed and disorder, confusion and apathy. [email protected]

* * * * *

Nick Timiraos: @NickTimiraos
https://twitter.com/NickTimiraos

National economics correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

Please look at the tweets, as Nick Timiraos likes to slice and dice the data every which way. Also, link to the "11 charts " article from his Twitter feed to get past TWSJ.'s paywall.

* * * * *

Jeffrey Sparshott: @jeffsparshott
https://twitter.com/jeffsparshott

[email protected]

* * * * *

Paul Vigna: @paulvigna
https://twitter.com/paulvigna
Markets, bitcoin, and the zombie apocalypse.

* * * * *

Eric Morath: @EricMorath
https://twitter.com/EricMorath

[email protected]
I'm a Wall Street Journal economy reporter, dad, husband and Spartan for life. [email protected]

Washington DC

blogs.wsj.com/economics/

* * * * *

Sarah Chaney: ‎@sechaney
https://twitter.com/sechaney

Economy Reporter at The Wall Street Journal. Tar Heel. [email protected]

* * * * *

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:24 AM

12. Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation; lengthy this month

We still don't have a BLS commissioner. The acting commissioner has been in that position for over two years. Here's his statement, which contains the fast and dirty information that the TV news anchors can recite:

Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

Statement of

William J. Wiatrowski
Acting Commissioner
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Friday, February 1, 2019


Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.0 percent. Job gains occurred in a number of industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

Incorporating revisions for November and December, which decreased nonfarm payroll employment by 70,000, on net, monthly job gains averaged 241,000 over the past 3 months.

Our evaluation of the establishment survey data indicates that there were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the January estimates of employment, hours, or earnings. Federal government employment was essentially unchanged over the month (+1,000). Federal employees on furlough during the shutdown were considered employed in the establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive pay) for the survey?s reference period, which is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. It is likely that some private industries were affected by the shutdown; however, we are not able to quantify the impacts.
....

As noted above, unlike the establishment survey, some of the estimates from the household survey show the effects of the partial federal government shutdown. This is due to differences in the concepts and definitions used in the two surveys. In the household survey, workers who indicate that they were not working during the entire reference week due to a shutdown-related furlough and expect to be recalled to their jobs should be classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, whether or not they are paid for the time they were off work. In January 2019, many furloughed federal employees were so classified, contributing to a rise in the overall number of people unemployed on temporary layoff. This mirrored the effect of the October 2013 partial federal government shutdown on the estimate of unemployed on temporary layoff.

However, as with the October 2013 shutdown, some federal workers who were not at work during the entire January reference week were not classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. Instead, they were classified as employed but absent from work. Our review of the underlying data indicates that most of these workers should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. This type of misclassification is an example of nonsampling error and can occur when respondents misunderstand questions or interviewers record answers incorrectly. As in 2013, no ad hoc actions were taken to reassign survey responses; the data were accepted as recorded.

If the federal workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been slightly higher than reported. Additional information is available online at www.bls.gov/bls/shutdown_2019_empsit_qa.pdf.

In January, there were routine adjustments to the data from our two surveys, following our usual annual practice. The establishment survey data released today reflect the incorporation of annual benchmark revisions. Each year, we re-anchor our sample-based survey estimates to full universe counts of employment, primarily derived from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which counts jobs covered by the unemployment insurance tax system. The effect of these revisions on the underlying trend in nonfarm payroll employment was minor. (Additional information about the benchmark revision and its impact is contained in our news release and on our website at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesbmart.htm.)

Household survey data for January reflect updated population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Again this year, the impact of the new population controls on the unemployment rate and other ratios was negligible. (Further information can be found in our news release and on our website at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-pop-control-adjustments.pdf.)

In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.0 percent.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:44 AM

14. Yup, chaos. The number of Employed fell by 251,000 while payroll jobs up 303,000

over the past month.

Employed comes from the Household Survey
. . http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12000000?output_view=net_1mth
Payroll jobs comes from the Establishment Survey
. . https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth

As the Commissioner's long note say, the former were affected by the furloughs while the latter were not

And affected by the annual change in population controls

Making it a double-big-whammy month.

Another fun number: the Civilian Non-Institutional Population: fell by 649,000 to 258,239,000. (population controls again, Pol Pot style)

Unemployed went up by 241,000

The U-6 unemployment rate -- the broadest of all the BLS's unemployment measures (includes part-timers wanting full time work and includes those having looked for a job in the past year (as opposed to the past 4 weeks used in the headline U-3 official unemployment rate), anyway U-6 went up from 7.6% to 8.1%

All of the above numbers are changes over the past month. And everything above comes from the Household Survey except the payroll jobs.

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Response to progree (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 12:45 PM

20. Thanks. From the report:

It sounds Orwellian, but I'm guessing that I can look at the report from a year ago (easily enough done) and find the same adjustments.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
....

Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey


Effective with data for January 2019, updated population estimates were incorporated into the household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new information and assumptions about the growth of the population since the previous decennial census. The change in population reflected in the new estimates results from adjustments for net international migration, updated vital statistics, and estimation methodology improvements.

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey estimates for December 2018 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population adjustments, however, differences in selected December 2018 labor force series based on the old and new population estimates are shown in table B.

The adjustments decreased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in December by 800,000, the civilian labor force by 506,000, employment by 488,000, unemployment by 18,000 and the number of persons not in the labor force was by 294,000. The total unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force participation rate were unaffected.

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the comparability of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the introduction of new population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force measures between December 2018 and January 2019. Additional information on the population adjustments and their effect on national labor force estimates is available at https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-pop-control-adjustments.pdf.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:40 PM

29. I didn't mean to imply they are any more screwed up than any other January numbers

Just that the annual adjustments in January make comparisons of January with the preceding December meaningless.

For example, if you look at Table A, the monthly change column is left blank in the January report (today's report, and every January report -- the one that comes out the first Friday in February).

Sorry I don't have a link to Table A, other than this for the whole job report
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

In the other 11 jobs reports for the year, they always have the last month's change column filled.

And like the Commissioner note says, furloughed federal employees were counted one way in the Establishment Survey and another way in the Household Survey, making this January especially bad for comparisons between Employed (Household Survey) and Payroll jobs (Establishment Survey).

Sorry I used the word "chaos". I meant statistical chaos. I'm sure you've seen my many many postings about how wildly the Household Survey numbers -- the ones expressed in thousands -- bump way up and way down month to month during even "normal" months.

EDITED sentence below to clarify meaning --
I didn't mean to imply that the Russians and Trumpsters were fucking up the BLS surveys and operations.

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Response to progree (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:53 PM

31. Got it. Thanks, as always, for the great explanatory material. NT

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #31)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 02:26 PM

33. Likewise, and thanks for all your material and hard work each month. NT

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:55 AM

15. The real unemployment rate, Januaries u6 number is 8.1%. It rose from 7.6%

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:18 PM

25. The mind-numbing rant, based on a version posted on the first Friday in September 2016:

Last edited Mon Feb 4, 2019, 01:35 PM - Edit history (3)

I used to run this every month in the commentary in the zeroeth post. It explains just about every aspect of the monthly report.

[center]Facilities for Sensory Impaired[/center]

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.


[center]Introduction[/center]

Good morning, Freepers and DUers alike. I especially welcome our good friends from across the aisle. You're paying for this information too, so I am absolutely delighted to have you participate in this thread. Please, everyone, put aside your differences long enough to digest the information. After that, you can engage in your usual donnybrook.

Full disclosure: I do not work for BLS, nor am I friends with anyone over there. I'm just someone who appreciates the work they do. My sole connection with the agency is that I've been in the building to pick up some publications.

Thank you for being a part of this thread.

If you don't have the time to study the report thoroughly, here is the news in a nutshell:

Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

It is easy to find one paragraph, or one sentence, or one datum in this report that will support the most outlandish of conclusions, from "the sky is falling" to "we'll have blue skies, nothing but blue skies, from now on." Easy, but disingenuous.

Every month, you can find something in the report that will cause you concern. Take the information in context. Consider not just this month’s data, but the trend.

There is a vast amount of government and other statistics and information available. Please take the time to look at progree's thread reviewing and discussing these data:

Economic Statistics with links to official sources, rev 2/2/19

Thank you so much for that, progree.

Let's begin with a couple of questions:


[center]What Is the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
Why Does It Release All These Numbers Every Month?
[/center]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

The BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, and impartiality in both subject matter and presentation. To avoid the appearance of partiality, the dates of major data releases are scheduled more than a year in advance, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.

[font color="red"]New material, added August 29, 2016:[/font] Print title, Washington Post, Saturday, March 10, 2012, front page, above the fold: "Watching the clock: Monthly data release is an economic, political obsession timed to the nanosecond"

‘Jobs Day’: Monthly release of employment data an economic, political obsession

By Eli Saslow
http://twitter.com/elisaslow

March 9, 2012

The release of employment numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has long been a ritual in Washington, but lately it has turned into an obsession during an election year defined by economic instability. Once each month, a nondescript government agency compiles and releases 24 tables of economic data that have come to define the 2012 election and so much else. Republican presidential candidates turn the numbers into speeches. The president’s staff monitors how they affect his approval rating. The Federal Reserve reevaluates interest rates. Investors prepare for the stock market to rise or fall, sometimes swinging in value by $150 billion in the minutes after the report is released.
....

The raw data had arrived at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), like always, on Wednesday the week before the report’s release: millions of characters representing survey information from 55,000 households; and then, a few days later, monthly payroll data from 486,000 businesses. Kosanovich’s boss posted a two-page schedule on the office wall, detailing the tasks ahead for a team of more than 20 economists. They would be required to make a series of six deadlines. Their work would undergo 15 fact checks and then 15 clearance reviews. They would sit together in a windowless conference room and read aloud from their eventual creation, a three-page news release and 24 data tables, debating commas and verbs for hours on end.

They would do it all with absolute discretion during an eight-day security lockdown, signing confidentiality agreements each morning, encrypting their computers and locking data into a safe every time they walked 10 yards away to use a bathroom. “Is your workstation secure?” asked a sign in the hallway. They all remembered the last security miscue, in November 2008 — the accidental transmission of some data to one wire service a full 25 seconds before the report’s scheduled release, an incident that had necessitated a series of internal investigations and revisions.

“We always tape paper over the windows of the conference room or draw the shades,” Kosanovich said about her typical routine during a lockdown. She made a habit of refraining from answering phone calls or e-mails from unknown numbers and never discussing data outside her office. For eight days, nobody visited her team’s floor at BLS without a security clearance. The custodial staff did not empty their trash until the report was released.
....


[center]Household Survey vs. Establishment Survey[/center]

From the February 10, 2011, DOL Newsletter:

Take Three

Secretary Solis answers three questions about how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment rates.

How does BLS determine the unemployment rate and the number of jobs that were added each month?

BLS uses two different surveys to get these numbers. The household survey, or Current Population Survey (CPS), involves asking people, from about 60,000 households, a series of questions to assess each person in the household's activities including work and searching for work. Their responses give us the unemployment rate. The establishment survey, or Current Employment Statistics (CES), surveys 140,000 employers about how many people they have on their payrolls. These results determine the number of jobs being added or lost.

[font color="red"]New material, added March 9, 2018:[/font]

People often wonder how in the world the BLS comes up with all this information. This article from January 2018 will help explain things:

Monthly Labor Review

JANUARY 2018

The Current Population Survey—tracking unemployment in the United States for over 75 years

For more than three-quarters of a century, the Current Population Survey has been a vital tool for providing information on U.S. unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article highlights major developments in the survey’s history.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) has been conducted for more than three-quarters of a century.1 From the outset, the main purpose of the survey has been to gather information on the employment status of the U.S. population, with an emphasis on the measurement of unemployment. CPS data have been used by policymakers and others to gauge both the degree of labor market weakness during recessions and the strength of the job market in economic expansions. More than 900 monthly reports on national employment and unemployment have been issued since the survey began in March 1940.

The survey also has been used to provide a wealth of information on a wide range of other subjects—some related to the labor market and some unrelated—through supplemental questions to the basic survey instrument. Over the years, supplements to the CPS have been used to collect data on topics ranging from income and worker displacement to tobacco use and participation in the arts.

The main objective of the CPS, however, has always been to measure unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article summarizes some of the major developments in achieving this goal over the past three-quarters of a century.
....


[center]Complaint Department[/center]

I post this information on a nonpartisan basis. I am not here to make elected officials of any party or persuasion look good. I am certain that the people who compile these data are of the same outlook. They are civil servants. They do not work for a party; they work for you, the American people.

My only contribution is to cut and paste a few paragraphs from the BLS and then, in the commentary, link to some sources that I feel are trustworthy. I hope people come away with a better understanding of the data after reading this thread. Once again, I do not work for BLS, but I will nonetheless try to assist if I can.

If you feel the Bureau of Labor Statistics is handing out bunk, start here:

Point of Contact for Complaints Concerning Information Quality

Affected persons who believe that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has disseminated information that does not meet its guidelines or those of the Department of Labor or Office of Management and Budget, and who wish to file a formal complaint may send their complaint by mail, e-mail, or fax to:

Division of Management Systems
Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Department of Labor
2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Room 4080
Washington, D.C., 20212-0001
E-mail: [email protected]
Fax: (202) 691-5111

Complainants should:

Identify themselves and indicate where and how they can be reached;
Identify, as specifically as possible, the information in question;
Indicate how they are affected by the information about which they are complaining;
Carefully describe the nature of the complaint, including an explanation of why they believe the information does not comply with OMB, Departmental, or agency-specific guidelines; and
Describe the change requested and the reason why the agency should make the change.

Failure to include this information may result in a complainant not receiving a response to the complaint or greatly reducing the usefulness or timeliness of any response. Complainants should be aware that they bear the burden of establishing that they are affected persons and showing the need and justification for the correction they are seeking, including why the information being complained about does not comply with applicable guidelines.


[center]How Do You Define Unemployment?
The Large Print Giveth, and the Fine Print Taketh Away.
[/center]

Long ago, a DUer pointed out that, if I'm going to post the link to the press release, I should include the link to all the tables that provide additional ways of examining the data. Specifically, I should post a link to Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization. Table A-15 includes those who are not considered unemployed, on the grounds that they have become discouraged about the prospects of finding a job and have given up looking. Here is that link:

Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Also, hat tip, Recursion: How the Government Measures Unemployment


[center]What About Employment on Farms?[/center]

[font color="red"]New material, added May 4, 2018:[/font]

Note that the BLS measures only "nonfarm payroll employment."

Nonfarm payrolls

I'm hoping the following link goes to an impartial site:

What is 'Nonfarm Payroll'

So who measures employment on farms? Hmmmmmm....

United States Department of Agriculture
Economic Research Service

Farm Labor

ERS provides information on a range of farm labor issues, including:

Size and composition of the U.S. agricultural workforce (self-employed versus hired)

Recent trends in the employment of hired farmworkers

Demographic characteristics of hired farmworkers, including age, sex, and nativity

Geographic distribution of hired farmworkers (all occupations)

Wages of hired farmworkers

Labor cost share of total gross revenues

H-2A temporary agricultural visa program

Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

Legal status and migration practices of hired crop farmworkers

Finally, we provide links to key data sources with summaries.

[font color="red"]New material, added August 8, 2016:[/font]

This appeared at the top of page A2 in the Wednesday, July 27, 2016, print edition of The Wall Street Journal. as "Jobless Picture is Open to Interpretation."

Jobless Picture is Open to Interpretation

Gauges used to measure unemployment vary in how they define who is out of work {print: "Political campaigns clash over different ways of measuring unemployment"}



By Josh Zumbrun
[email protected]
@JoshZumbrun

July 26, 2016 7:56 p.m. ET

Because political campaigns can rise and fall on the health of the economy, spats often flare over the gauges used to measure growth and unemployment.

The latest dust-up, raised by the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, focuses on the monthly employment numbers. A long streak of hiring has nudged the jobless rate down to 4.9%. ... Donald Trump Jr., the nominee’s son, recently criticized the official statistics as “artificial numbers…massaged to make the existing economy look good.”

The nominee himself has said unemployment is far higher than the Labor Department’s headline 4.9% rate would suggest, part of his message that the economy is in a dire state. After he won the New Hampshire primary in February, Mr. Trump called the official jobless figures “phony” and said the real number could be as high as 42%.

This isn’t the first time people have cast aspersions on the jobs numbers in an election year, but the Trump claim is also part of a larger discussion over how best to assess the health of the labor market.

The following link to Barron's might not work for everyone. See progree's tips.[/font] From the July 20, 2015, issue of Barron's:

Refresher Course: Inside the Jobless Numbers

Are we undercounting the unemployment numbers—or overcounting? How the BLS gathers and calculates the numbers, and why it matters.

By Gene Epstein
July 18, 2015

The unemployment rate has never been the object of as much attention from the markets and the media as it is now, sparked by the keen interest taken in its monthly fluctuations by policy makers at the Federal Reserve.

Despite the heightened focus, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about how the rate is calculated. Some people assume the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the rate from the unemployment-insurance rolls. On that basis, they fault the BLS for undercounting the unemployed. But that’s just one myth among many about this cornerstone measure of economic pain and labor-market slack.

To estimate the unemployment rate, the BLS actually relies on the monthly Current Population Survey conducted for it by the Census Bureau. While the data are highly imperfect in their own way, we think the Federal Reserve is right to view the official unemployment rate as the best available information, while also keeping its eye on ancillary measures of “labor underutilization.”

In fact, a close look at BLS methods suggests that, if anything, the official unemployment rate may be overcounting rather than undercounting the unemployed.


[font color="red"]New material:[/font] In August 2015, DUers whatthehey and progree got into a 1995 report from economists John E. Bregger and Steven E. Haugen. The .pdf is unfortunately an image and thus challenging as a source of quotes. Trying to find it in a format that does make for easy copying, I was led to this:

Alternative Unemployment Rates: Their Meaning and Their Measure March 12, 2014


[center]Why Won't You Talk About the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR)?[/center]

Every month in certain circles, someone will cite the labor force participation rate as a cause for concern. Let's look at that right now.

[font color="red"]New material, added September 30, 2016:[/font]

September 2016

Labor force participation: what has happened since the peak?

The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older that is working or actively looking for work. It is an important labor market measure because it represents the relative amount of labor resources available for the production of goods and services. After rising for more than three decades, the overall labor force participation rate peaked in early 2000 and subsequently trended down. In recent years, the movement of the baby-boom population into age groups that generally exhibit low labor force participation has contributed to the decline in the overall participation rate. From 2000 to 2015, most of the major demographic groups saw a decrease in labor force participation. Teenagers experienced the largest drop in participation, which coincided with a rise in their school enrollment rate. Young adults 20 to 24 years also showed a decline in labor force participation, but the decrease was not as steep as that for teenagers. The labor force participation rate of women 25 to 54 years also fell, with the decrease more pronounced for women who did not attend college. The labor force participation rate of men 25 to 54 years continued its long-term decline. As in the past, the decrease in participation among men with less education was greater than that of men with more education. However, labor force participation rates of men and women 55 years and older rose from 2000 to 2009 and subsequently leveled off.

[font color="red"]New material, added July 31, 2016:[/font]

Title in the print edition of the Washington Post, page A17, Wednesday, July 27, 2016: "The unemployment-rate 'conspiracy' that isn't"

A popular conspiracy theory is spreading in the Trump family. It’s totally false.

By Matt O'Brien July 26
[email protected]
@ObsoleteDogma

The unemployment rate is not a conspiracy. It is not manipulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And anyone who suggests otherwise is either uninformed, or trying to misinform others.

Which is to say that you shouldn't listen to Donald Trump & Co. For a year now, the alleged billionaire has insisted that the "real" unemployment rate is something like 42 percent instead of the 4.9 percent it actually is. He hasn't said how he's gotten this — maybe it's from the same "extremely credible source" who told him President Obama's birth certificate was fake? (1) — but the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work. That's 40.4 percent right now. The problem with using that number, though, is that it counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally "unemployed" as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any. So it doesn't tell us too much, at least not on its own, unless you think it's a problem that we have more 70-year-olds than we used to.

(1)

Or unless conspiracy theories are one of your favorite accessories, as seems to be the case with the father, and now the son, Donald Trump Jr. On Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that the official unemployment numbers are "artificial" ones that are "massaged to make the existing economy look good" and "this administration look good."
....



Source: BLS

....
The boring truth is that the economy is in a lot better shape than it was when Obama took office, but that it could be in better shape still. The recovery, in other words, still has a ways to go. But that's a lot different from saying that we have 40 percent unemployment and that the government is trying to cover it up. That just suggests you don't understand — or don't want to accurately describe — how stats work and you don't know how to look up the ones you think the BLS is hiding. ... It's not what you'd expect from a major party presidential candidate.

[font color="red"]New material, added June 27, 2016:[/font]

Wonkblog

[link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/20/why-americas-men-arent-working/|
Why America’s men aren’t working]

By Ylan Q. Mui June 20

The national unemployment rate has fallen by more than half since the nation emerged from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It peaked at 10 percent in 2010 and stood at just 4.7 percent last month.

That’s mostly good news: Private employers have added more than 14 million jobs. About 2 million people have been out of a job for six months or longer, far too many but only about a quarter of the number of long-term unemployed people seven years ago. By almost every measure, the labor market has made incredible progress.

But there’s one statistic that has been vexing economists. The size of the nation’s workforce -- known as the labor force participation rate -- continues to fall. Since the start of the downturn, the percentage of that population that has a job or is looking for one has dropped more than 3 percentage points, to 62.6 percent, a level not seen since the 1970s.

{America’s jobs market has had a great 2016. Will it last?}

The problem is particularly pronounced among men between the ages of 25 and 54, traditionally considered the prime working years. Their participation rate has been declining for decades, but the drop-off accelerated during the recession. The high mark was 98 percent in 1954, and it now stands at 88 percent. A new analysis from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, slated for release Monday, found that the United States now has the third-lowest participation rate for “prime-age men” among the world’s developed countries.
....



....
People in prison are not counted as part of the population for the purposes of labor market statistics. At first blush, that would actually boost the participation rate: A smaller population means the share in the workforce is larger. But in reality, there are immense and well-documented barriers to the job market for workers once they leave prison. And the gloomy prospects of the formerly incarcerated outweigh the statistical benefit of having a large prison population.



....
Ylan Q. Mui is a financial reporter at The Washington Post covering the Federal Reserve and the economy. Follow @ylanmui

[font color="red"]New material, added January 2016:[/font] People who are not in the labor force: why aren't they working?

Beyond the Numbers

December 2015 | Vol. 4 / No. 15

EMPLOYMENT & UNEMPLOYMENT

People who are not in the labor force: why aren't they working?

By Steven F. Hipple

People who are neither working nor looking for work are counted as “not in the labor force,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2000, the percentage of people in this group has increased. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) provide some insight into why people are not in the labor force. The ASEC is conducted in the months of February through April and includes questions about work and other activities in the previous calendar year. For example, data collected in 2015 are for the 2014 calendar year, and data collected in 2005 are for the 2004 calendar year.1 In the ASEC, people who did not work at all in the previous year are asked to give the main reason they did not work. Interviewers categorize survey participants’ verbatim responses into the following categories: ill health or disabled; retired;2 home responsibilities; going to school; could not find work;3 and other reasons.

This Beyond the Numbers article examines data on those who were not in the labor force during 2004 and 2014 and the reasons they gave for not working. The data are limited to people who neither worked nor looked for work during the previous year.

This July 2014 report from the Council of Economic Advisers addresses the LFPR:

THE LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE SINCE 2007: CAUSES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

(Hat tip, Adrahil: Look deeper.)

[font color="red"]New material:[/font] Here's a Power Point (or equivalent) presentation given by Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, before the National Press Club on August 6, 2015. If you go to the next-to-the-last slide, you'll see that the long-term projected trend is down:

"Trends in Labor Force Participation", 8/6/15

(Hat tip, progree: Over the past month, over the past year, and since February 2010)

[font color="red"]New material:[/font] Paul Vigna had a comment about the LFPR in the December 4, 2015, MoneyBeat column about the November figures:

8:55 am

Breaking down the participation rate
by Paul Vigna

Here’s what we mean when we talk about the participation rate and employment-population ratio.

There are 251.7 million people in the “civilian noninstitutional population,” according to the BLS (this is all contained in this chart). This is the number of people over age 16 who are not in jail or health-care facilities or the military.

Of that group, 157.3 million comprise the civilian labor force. The ratio of the second group to the first is 62.5%. This is the labor force participation rate, the number of people who could be in the labor force – either working or looking for a job – who are in the labor force.

There are 149.3 million people working. The ratio of that group to the overall civilian population is 59.3%. This the employment-population ratio, the number of people who could be working who actually are working.

Why do these number matter? Well, if you just looked at the raw data, you’d see the numbers rising, more or less, month after month. That’s not because the economy’s so rip-roaring, but because the number of people in the nation keeps rising. So you need the ratios to get a sense of how strong the labor force really is.

The labor-force participation rate remains near multi-decade lows, and whether that’s due to demographics, as in people retiring, or weak job opportunities, or whatever, it points to one sort of unavoidable problem: the economy cannot grow at its full potential if you simply don’t have enough people contributing.

Oh, and for the record, there are 94.4 million people not in the labor force.

[font color="red"]New material, added December 2015:[/font]

3:12 pm ET
Dec 8, 2015
economics

As America’s Workforce Ages, Here’s Where the Jobs Will Be

By Jeffrey Sparshott

[email protected]
@jeffsparshott

The U.S. labor force is expected to expand only slowly over the coming decade as the country ages and more Americans give up on holding a job, a potential drag on broader economic growth.

The economy is expected to generate 9.8 million new jobs, a 6.5% increase, from 2014 to 2024, the Labor Department said in new projections released Tuesday. While steady, that is a historically slow pace. By comparison, 10-year job creation averaged almost 14% during the 2001-07 expansion and close to 17% during the 1990s.

The slowdown highlights declining participation as baby boomers retire and younger Americans opt out of the workforce. Those two trends are expected to continue to push the labor-force participation rate lower, to 60.9% in 2024 from 62.9% in 2014, Labor estimates. If realized, that would be the lowest level since 1973, when Richard Nixon was president.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen at a congressional hearing last week held out hope the participation rate would hold near current levels as people came off the sidelines and into jobs.


[center]Nattering Nabobs of Negativism[/center]

[font color="red"]New material, added February 26, 2016:[/font] More High-Wage Employment Doesn't Mean the Job Market's Out of the Woods

That's the print edition title.

Wonkblog

The recovery is generating more high-wage jobs — but does that matter?

The U.S. is still digging out of a big hole, and isn't creating new opportunities for those whose jobs disappeared.

By Lydia DePillis February 24

@lydiadepillis

A couple of weeks ago, some economists from Goldman Sachs came out with a rosy pronouncement: "Millions of new jobs and plenty of good ones," read the headline on a note to investors. High-wage employment appeared to pick up from 2013 to the present, a change from the early years of the economic recovery, which generated a disproportionate number of low-wage jobs.



And you don’t have to just take it from an investment bank. The Department of Labor has run its own numbers, and saw similar growth back in October, rendered in absolute numbers rather than growth rates (which Labor’s Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz says held through the end of 2015 in an analysis the department completed last week).

The green bars in the graph below show changes in actual employment, and the orange line shows what it would have been if the growth had been evenly distributed. Shierholz says the loss of low-wage jobs is likely a result of workers in those categories having their wages bumped up above $10 an hour, as the huge growth in low-wage sectors from 2009-2013 led to competition for people in restaurants and retail, or finding better jobs.



That renewed growth in high-wage jobs, which started to show up in 2014, is typical of recoveries from recessions: Low-wage retail and restaurant jobs come back first, as consumers start to buy small-ticket items and go out to eat again. Later on, the profitability trickles up, leading firms to make more expensive hires. Overall, the trend could be responsible for the small uptick in wages that's become evident in recent months, as well.

[font color="red"]Revised material:[/font] Here’s a grim thought:

Fed economists: America’s missing workers are not coming back

Wonkblog

By Max Ehrenfreund September 12 {2014}

A paper by Federal Reserve staff that will be discussed at the Brookings Institution on Friday {September 12, 2014} possibly hints at the central bank's thinking on interest rates and employment in advance of a consequential Fed meeting next week. The findings support [links:http://online.wsj.com/articles/fed-minutes-rate-hike-debate-heating-up-1408557628|hawks] on the Federal Open Market Committee, who feel that the Fed needs to prepare to raise rates sooner than expected, although the results are still being debated and might not persuade the committee's more dovish members.

The paper discusses the number of people who consider themselves part of the workforce -- including both people who have a job and those who are looking for work. It is a measure of the total manpower available in the U.S. economy. This number, the labor force participation rate, has been decreasing steadily since 2000. Americans who can't find work have been leaving the workforce, as have more and more retirees as the population ages.

Let’s follow that with another grim thought:

Why wage growth disparity tells the story of America's half-formed economic recovery

By Chico Harlan November 21, 2014

[email protected]
@chicoharlan

....
With unemployment down to 5.8 percent, the country’s half-formed recovery is often described with a convenient shorthand: We have jobs but little wage growth. But stagnancy is just an average, and for many Americans, the years since the financial crisis have pushed them farther from the line, according to a detailed analysis of government labor statistics by The Washington Post.
....

Among the winners in this climate: Older workers, women and those with finance and technology jobs. ... Among the losers: Part-timers, the young, men, and those in the health, retail and food industries.
....

Chico Harlan covers personal economics as part of The Post's financial team.

Dissenters, take note:

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate

David Leonhardt
AUG. 26, 2014

The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report has been the subject of some wacky conspiracy theories. None was wackier than the suggestion from Jack Welch, the former General Electric chief executive, that government statisticians were exaggerating job growth during President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Both Republican and Democratic economists dismissed those charges as silly.

But to call the people who compile the jobs report honest, nonpartisan civil servants is not to say that the jobs report is perfect. The report tries to estimate employment in a big country – and to do so quickly, to give policy makers, business executives and everyone else a sense of how the economy is performing. It’s a tough task.

And it has become tougher, because Americans are less willing to respond to surveys than they used to be.

A new academic paper suggests that the unemployment rate appears to have become less accurate over the last two decades, in part because of this rise in nonresponse. In particular, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people who once would have qualified as officially unemployed and today are considered out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for work.

[font color="red"]New material, added January 2016:[/font] From July 2013:

Mort Zuckerman: A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

Commentary

Mort Zuckerman: A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

More people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.

By Mortimer Zuckerman
July 15, 2013 7:09 p.m. ET

In recent months, Americans have heard reports out of Washington and in the media that the economy is looking up—that recovery from the Great Recession is gathering steam. If only it were true. The longest and worst recession since the end of World War II has been marked by the weakest recovery from any U.S. recession in that same period.

The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government's Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000—but there are jobs and then there are "jobs." No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The survey also reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared by 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000—three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007.

That's just for starters. The survey includes part-time workers who want full-time work but can't get it, as well as those who want to work but have stopped looking. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.

The 7.6% unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading. An estimated 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed; they are virtually invisible and mostly excluded from unemployment calculations that garner headlines.
....

Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.


[center]On the Road Again[/center]

The DOL Newsletter - October 6, 2011

DOL Data: There's an App for That
Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone? Now you can access the latest labor data and news from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment and Training Administration in the palm of your hand. The latest free mobile app displays real-time updates to the unemployment rate, Unemployment Insurance initial claims, the Consumer Price Index, payroll employment, average hourly earnings, the Producer Price Index, the Employment Cost Index, productivity, the U.S. Import Price Index and the U.S. Export Price Index in real time, as they are published each week, month or quarter. News releases providing context for the data can also be accessed through the app and viewed within a mobile browser or as PDF documents.

US Labor Department launches economic and employment statistics app

Smartphone users gain mobile access to latest labor data and news

WASHINGTON — The most up-to-date employment data and economic news releases from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and its Employment and Training Administration now can be viewed using a new mobile application.
....

The new app is currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Android phones. The Labor Department is working to develop versions for BlackBerry and iPad devices. Visit https://m.dol.gov/apps/ to download this and other mobile apps.

Download the Data, Other Mobile Apps


[center]A Few More Things[/center]

[font color="red"]New material, added July 8, 2017:[/font]

The power of the president over the economy is limited

By Ezra Klein January 13, 2012

....
But it would be even better if voters had a consistent benchmark for judging a president’s performance. The question — and it’s a tough one — is how to separate the very real influence the president has on the economy from the myriad other factors that weigh on whether consumers spend and businesses hire. So I put the issue to an exclusive club of economists who have an unusually fine-grained understanding of what the president can and can’t do: the former chairs of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. And I asked each the same question: How much of national job creation during a presidency can we properly attribute to the president?

“Very little,” wrote Harvard’s Martin Feldstein in an e-mail. Feldstein led the CEA under Reagan, and he didn’t see much role for the president in normal economic times. “The key is growth of population and labor force participation. Policy — primarily monetary policy — affects cyclical conditions and therefore the unemployment rate. Fiscal policy is usually irrelevant but with interest rates at the current level there has been a role for fiscal policy.”

Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a Berkeley economist who served under President Clinton, emphasized the need to consider timing in our evaluations. “There are significant lags between the time a President proposes a policy, the time it is enacted by Congress and the time necessary for it to take effect,” she wrote to me. “These lags should be taken into account in measuring the economy’s job performance under a President. The first year probably should not count at all in terms of assessing the effects of a new Administration’s policies.”

Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist who served as CEA chair under George W. Bush, directed me to a blog post he had written on the subject. “Randomness is a fact of economic life,” Mankiw wrote, “and it would be a mistake to judge a president by the economic outcome during his administration. It is better to look at the decisions the president made, and to acknowledge that the outcome is a function of those decisions and many other factors not under his control. As an economist, I have views about what best practices are for economic policy, and I judge presidents by how closely they adhere to those principles.” ... “Unfortunately,” he concluded, “that evaluation process is not quite as simple and objective as the reader might have hoped for. But I don’t think there is a better alternative.”
....

[email protected]
https://twitter.com/ezraklein

[font color="red"]New material, added February 4, 2016:[/font] This article appeared as "Stocks vs. the Economy: Which Ruins Which?"on page C2 of the print edition of The Wall Street Journal. on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.

Does the Economy Ruin the Stock Market or Does the Stock Market Ruin the Economy?

2:49 pm ET
Feb 1, 2016
Markets

By John Carney

Don’t confuse the market for the economy. Markets have overshot fundamentals. There are no signs of contagion into the real economy. ... Anyone paying attention has heard some version of these sentiments lately. Paul Samuelson’s famous quip that the market has predicted nine of the past five recessions is once again on the lips of the wise men and women of Wall Street.

But what if the stock market is more than just an indicator? What if a stock selloff can actually cause unemployment and recessions? ... That’s exactly what historical data on the stock market and the unemployment rate running back to 1929 seem to suggest. A persistent 10% decline in the stock market pushes unemployment up three percentage points.

That, at least, is the finding of University of California Los Angeles economist Roger Farmer. Currently a Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA and a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Mr. Farmer has been a fellow at the Bank of England and has won awards for his work on inefficiency in financial markets and self-fullfilling prophecies.

In a pair of academic papers written in the wake of the financial crisis, the first published in 2012 and the second published this year, Mr. Farmer has argued that changes in the value of the stock market cause changes in the unemployment rate. The idea will be expanded upon in Mr. Farmer’s forthcoming book, Prosperity for All.

[font color="red"]Moved here, February 6, 2016:[/font] The Federal Reserve looks at, among many other things, the BLS employment reports when it decides what to do with "the interest rate." The interest rate in question is the federal funds target rate. Here is some information about that:

Federal funds rate

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

Meet FRED, every wonk’s secret weapon

StorylineMeet the wonks

By Todd C. Frankel August 1, 2014

FRED stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data. It serves as an online clearinghouse for a wealth of numbers: unemployment rates, prices of goods, GDP and CPI, things common and obscure. Today, FRED is more than a little bit famous, thanks to the public’s fascination with economic data.

Federal Reserve Economic Data

So how many jobs must be created every month to have an effect on the unemployment rate? There's an app for that:

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Jobs Calculator™

(Note new link for Jobs Calculator™. Hat tip, progree.)

Monthly Employment Reports from BLS

The U.S. Department of Commerce releases economic data too. Some of its releases come from the U.S. Census Bureau:

U.S. Census Bureau Latest News

U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators

Other Department of Commerce releases come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Bureau of Economic Analysis

For people who need a daily fix:

BLS-Labor Statistics Twitter feed

Read tomorrow's news before it happens. Here's the schedule for all economic reports:

MarketWatch Economic Calendar

and for BLS reports only:

Bureau of Labor Statistics Release Calendar

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:19 PM

26. ADP says 213,000

Something seems a bit off.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 03:05 PM

35. ADP attempts to predict the BLS number

So ADP was off.

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Response to DrToast (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 03:33 PM

36. I'm not sure that ADP is attempting to predict the number that the BLS will release

a day or later.

ADP handles payroll processing for a number of firms:

https://www.adp.com/about-adp.aspx

It looks at its activities and comes up with data for employment in the nonfarm private sector, apparently just because it can.

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Response to DrToast (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 04:54 PM

37. The BLS payroll jobs number is +/- 120,000 with 90% confidence bounds

and that's just SAMPLING error.

I found this BLS technical note on sampling error -- http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.tn.htm . Based on what it says, there is a 90% probability that the Establishment Survey's payroll jobs number is within +/- 120,000 of the stated number. And a 10% chance that it is off by more than 120,000.

The above only covers sampling error. There are also many other sources of error (search the above link for "non-sampling error" )

Another difference from ADP is the BLS payroll job numbers that are headlined include government workers as well.

The BLS is a much larger and more comprehensive survey than ADP. ADP is making no attempt to predict or match the BLS's results.

There's more here, including a comparison to the Household Survey's Employment number
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10141934356#post21

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 01:26 PM

27. This report made my jaw hit the floor. How could this possibly be true?

Is Acosta doctoring the books in the hopes Don will fend off the FBI re his Epstein deal?

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Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 11:55 AM

38. Presidential Jobs Table. Also my EF Economic Statistics page updated (annual update)

Last edited Mon Feb 4, 2019, 12:51 AM - Edit history (3)

Economic Statistics with links to official sources, rev 2/2/19
. . . http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439


The below is just one small segment of the above --


Job Creation of record of post-WWII Presidents, Average Annual % Increases :

(Sorted from best to worst by average annual percentage increase in jobs. Republicans in red, Democrats in blue.)

Notice that -- with the tiny exception (0.2% difference) of Nixon to Kennedy -- the worst Democrat has a better record than the best Republican -- that is, until Obama, who inherited an economy that was losing several hundred thousand jobs a month And actually, Kennedy did not have a chance to complete his term -- had he done so, and had he had the same job creation numbers in December 1963 through January 1965 as Johnson had (a 3.48%/year annualized rate of increase), he would have easily topped Nixon.

Post-WWII Presidents ranked by Average Annual Percentage Increase In Jobs (the last column):
. . (updated 2/2/19 after new jobs report released - it has revisions going back decades.)




Trump beats 4 or the 6 previous post-WWII RepubliCON presidents in average annual percentage increase in jobs (so far) (he falls between Ford and Reagan). But he beats only one Democratic president: Obama.

Remember, Obama inherited the deepest recession since World War II, which lost 4.2 million jobs in the last 10 months of his predecessor, and in the last 3 months of his predecessor was losing 753,000 jobs a month. With that momentum, job losses continued for the first 13 months of the Obama presidency -- through February 2010 -- totalling 4.3 million jobs lost during those 13 months.

Anyway, despite the 4.3 million jobs lost in his first 13 months because of the Bush crash, Obama still beats 3 of the last 7 post-WWII Republican presidents. (The count of 7 post-WWII Republican presidents includes Trump).

In the above table, the average annual % increase in jobs (the last column) is a much fairer way to compare presidents than just the raw job creation figures in thousands because the latter is unfair to the earlier presidents who were working with much smaller labor forces to begin with. For example the number of job holders at the beginning of Truman's administration was only 38% as many as at the beginning of Clinton's administration, and 31% as many as at the beginning of G.W. Bush's administration. So Truman's pathetic-looking 93,570 jobs/month creation record turns out to be even better than Clinton's 238,521 jobs/month record when adjusted for the size of the labor force at the beginning of their terms.

In raw thousands of jobs created per year, both Reagan and Nixon beat Truman. But when adjusted for the size of the labor force -- again, by looking at average annual percentage increases in jobs -- Truman beats them both.

Official sources of information for the above:

# Payroll Jobs: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001
# Monthly change of above: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth
# . . Hint: to see both of the above two together on the same page, go to http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001 and click on the "More Formatting Options" link in the upper right and check the "Original Data Value" and the "1-Month Net Change" checkboxes and click the "Retrieve Data" button halfway down the page on the left
# Private Sector Payroll Employment: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001
# Monthly change of above: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001?output_view=net_1mth
# . . Hint: to see both of the above two together on the same page, go to http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001
and click on the "More Formatting Options" link in the upper right and check the "Original Data Value" and the "1-Month Net Change" checkboxes and click the "Retrieve Data" button halfway down the page on the left

The United States Unemployment Rate. Every Time The Democrats Fix It, The Republicans F*CK It Up (1960-2016)

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Response to progree (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 02:42 PM

39. Thanks for all the work that went into that.

I've updated my link (which means that I changed the date from 2/2/18 to 2/2/19).

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #39)

Mon Feb 4, 2019, 12:26 AM

40. "I've updated my link"

Thanks, I appreciate that.

In your https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142257573#post25

"Please take the time to look at progree's not-to-be-missed thread containing his thoughtful analysis, updated monthly. Here is the latest version: "

I am no longer updating monthly. I'm only promising an annual update in early February. If we hit an inflection point, like the economy starts crashing, I may do every 6 months.

Some of the other numbers I update more frequently, particularly in EF-5 -- National Debt, and Budget Deficits and Surpluses. I add anything of interest I stumble across like a big change in the projected deficit, or a CBO report projecting when interest on the national debt will consume as much tax revenue as defense spending (2027), or be the same size as Social Security (2048).

The same is true of any and all of the pages -- I may update some segment or two or add material or prune dead limbs here and there as I have time.

What I'm really trying to do is simply present the statistics, and most importantly the links to where it all comes from. So people can see for themselves and do their own research and analysis.

Maybe just drop the "updated monthly" part. And perhaps replace "thoughtful analysis" with something that mentions the large amount of government statistics with links to the sources. Or somesuch.

Thanks again for the link.

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