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Response to DallasNE (Reply #44)

Sat Jun 6, 2020, 01:54 PM

45. You're welcome 😂

Last edited Sat Jun 6, 2020, 05:34 PM - Edit history (1)

On the 42.65 million jobs claims over the last 3 months -- continuing claims were only 21.49 million. I guess the difference between the sum of about 3 months of initial claims filings, on the one hand, and continuing claims (those going on for 2 weeks or more) on the other hand, means that a lot of the claimints found jobs or dropped out of the UI claims/benefits system within one or two or three months. That surprises me, but it wouldn't be the first time.

As you probably know, the BLS jobs report and particularly the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate are not based on a count of unemployment claims, unemployment benefits status, or any other statistics from the state unemployment offices. Rather, they come from from a completely separate survey of 60,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau where they ask a bunch of questions to determine employment / unemployment status.

>> Also, why was the adjustment for March and April only 642,000 if they had the same problem as May where you calculate it as 4.7 million? <<

The upward revision of 642,000 on the number of jobs lost in March and April combined is for the Establishment Survey.

The 3 percentage point unemployment rate error for May which led to my calculated 4.7 million additional unemployed number for May is from the separate -- completely different and separate -- Household Survey.

The March and April errors in the Household Survey have nothing to do with the March and April revisions in the Establishment Survey. Different surveys, different methods, different people doing them.

>> And it puts a world of hurt on the confidence in the employment data that it has suddenly gotten so screwed up. Heads need to roll over this given the magnitude and the importance of these reports along with the big lie photo op it gave the orange one. <<

It doesn't bother me too much that this error occurred once under these unusual circumstances. Even twice, though I would have hoped it would have become a much smaller error the second time around (it didn't -- it increased from "almost 1 percentage point" in March to "almost 5 percentage points" in April", albeit there were a lot more jobs lost in April than in March). And then it was "about 3 percentage points" in May.

Yes, this hurts their credibility a great deal. Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy, is said to have said, "To err is human. But only a horses ass makes the same mistake twice".

A bit harsh. But still it's galling that they still can't get this right or near-right 2 months later.

The Washington Post article says that despite efforts to correct the problem (good article on the problem, BTW), "lots of field staff who had a tried and true way of asking questions and they were doing what they were used to doing.”


Economists say the BLS was trying to be as transparent as possible about how hard it is to collect real-time data during a pandemic. The BLS admitted that some people who should have been classified as “temporarily unemployed” during the shutdown were instead misclassified as employed but “absent” from work for “other reasons.”

... One of the first questions that gets asked is did the person do any work “for pay or profit?” There are then 45 pages of follow up questions that come after that. One of those questions asks if someone was “temporarily absent” from the job and why that absence occurred. One of the responses is “other.”

The BLS instructed surveyors to try to figure out if someone was absent because of the pandemic and, if so, to classify them as on “temporary layoff,” meaning they would count in the unemployment data. But some people continued to insist they were just “absent” from work during the pandemic, and the BLS has a policy of not changing people’s answers once they are recorded. It’s how the BLS protects again bias or data manipulation.

... “It’s surprising the BLS couldn’t come up with fixes to make this work in May,” said Erica Groshen, the former BLS commissioner under Obama. But, she adds, “This is a very unusual situation. There are lots of field staff who had a tried and true way of asking questions and they were doing what they were used to doing.”

The only political appointee at the BLS is the commissioner, who, Groshen said, does not have access to the data and only sees the finalized report.

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DallasNE Jun 2020 #44
LineLineLineLineNew Reply You're welcome 😂
progree Jun 2020 #45
MuchBetterThanThis Jun 2020 #30
47of74 Jun 2020 #31
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Aussie105 Jun 2020 #38
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