NYT: POTUS “HANDING STRONG ECONOMY TO HIS SUCCESSOR”
I was about to write a thank you note to President Obama when I saw the NY Times headline in their “economy” section, then I decided to take a look for myself first. Fortunately for the NY Times, most of their readers don’t bother to do any due diligence beyond the pretty charts, graphs, and intelligent sounding headlines. But some of us do.
At first glance I saw 2 pretty charts, then the source of the charts at the bottom of each, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wow, that looks official, properly done and really convincing. Looks legit, I think I’ll order one of those Obama/Biden bumper stickers now or get a latte at Starbucks to consummate the epiphany. Then I decided to put the bumper sticker and latte on hold for just another minute or 2, and directed my glance beyond the pretty pictures and into the text.
After reading the text on the BLS site, I came to the conclusion that the downward trending chart in the graphic could very well have been the NY Times’ subscriber base pattern instead.
I found 5 key highlights worth noting, and are as follows:
BLS.GOV – The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 5.7 million, changed little in November but was down by 416,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
Oh… What’s an involuntary part-time worker, and why are there 5.7 million of them? Also, why were their hours “cut back”, and why were they “unable to find a full time job”? I thought this was a strong economy being handed off. Hold on, there’s more:
BLS.GOV – November, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up by 215,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
How do you get “marginally attached” to a labor force,… 1.9 million times? But wait, that’s UP by 215,000 from last year- that’s 1.9 million ‘marginal attachers’ who wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. Thank goodness it’s NOT seasonally adjusted, I might have to break out the sunscreen. They say you can never stop learning, and they’re right, I’m learning new words and phrases.
BLS.GOV – Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 178,000 in November. Thus far in 2016, employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month, compared with an average monthly increase of 229,000 in 2015.
So now they’re saying it’s DOWN 2,000 from the 2016 average and 51,000 from last years’s already dismal monthly numbers, on top of it all? Damn! I’m starting to get really bummed now.
BLS.GOV -Health care employment rose by 28,000 in November. Within the industry, employment growth occurred in ambulatory health care services (+22,000). Over the past 12 months, health care has added 407,000 jobs.
OK great news, the inevitable is occurring and people are still getting sick, thank God for small favors. We’ve got 22,000 new jobs in the “death and taxes” sector of the economy, ( that’s the guaranteed part of this whole economic picture for those of you who are still wondering).
What else have we learned?
BLS.GOV – Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.
Crap! Every real section of the economy that ‘makes up economy’, is still floundering at the unchanged level of an already dismal number… Mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month- OK so basically they’re saying the economy sucks, and is not moving forward in any way, shape or form. I guess the bright point in this report is that more people are getting sick and we need ambulatory services, and that anybody who can stand up and flip a burger is a beneficiary of this economic boon.
Lastly, there’s the very tiny ‘FINE PRINT’ in the last “establishment data” section, so lets enlarge it, highlight it, and take a look,… shall we?
From Table B9:
BLS.GOV – 3 The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding 2002 annual average aggregate weekly payrolls. Aggregate payrolls estimates are the product of estimates of average hourly earnings, average weekly hours, and employment.
I see the word “estimates” listed twice in this section, and, what the heck does THIS mean- (calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding 2002 annual average aggregate weekly payrolls)? Does it come with the hub caps, or not?
I think the NY Times reporter needs to move beyond illustrated books and on to books with words in them.
Here’s a video from Feb., 2015,… the details remain constant.