More Fuzzy Math on Jobs Numbers

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Economy, News

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Last week, we pointed out that the decline in the unemployment rate reflected data from an obviously defective household survey from the BLS.  I never really suspected any malice in the report, just a statistical anomaly.  However, today the BLS just released the weekly jobless claims, and I’m not sure what to conclude.  Jobless claims tumbled to 339k from roughly 370k.  At first, I didn’t think much of it; I thought it was just one good week.  The I came across this observation from Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:

This is just getting stupid. After expectations of a rebound in initial claims from 367K last week (naturally revised higher to 369K), to 370K (with the lowest of all sellside expectations at 355K), the past week mysteriously, yet so very unsurprisingly in the aftermath of the fudged BLS unemployment number, saw claims tumble to a number that is so ridiculous not even CNBC’s Steve Liesman bothered defending it, or 339K. Ironically, not even the Labor Department is defending it: it said that “one large state didn’t report some quarterly figures.” Great, but what was reported was a headline grabbing number that is just stunning for reelection purposes. This was the lowest number since 2008.

Remember, this is not some conspiracy theory.  The BLS is actually drawing attention to itself by pointing out that there is missing data from some unspecified “large state.”  I can guarantee you that it’s not a job growing state like Texas.

Once again, we must ask: why is it that every statistical anomaly always results in the headline number – the only one reported by the media – looking better for Obama?