October 5, 2012

Average Job Growth in the Past Six Months: 106K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:35 am

A look at the updated raw and seasonally adjusted numbers shows that September was not an acceptable month for job growth (note: the 153K private-sector change was corrected to 163K Saturday morning, and the post was revised to reflect that change):


The benchmarks I set in the previous post for raw jobs changes were +750K overall and 300,000 or fewer job losses in the private sector. Neither benchmark was met.

If you notice Team Obama completely changing its tune from job growth to the unemployment rate, there will be a reason: As seen above, seasonally adjusted overall job growth has averaged a pitiful 106,000 per month during the past six months (105,000 in the private sector).

Okay, what about the past three months? Well, as seen above (seasonally adjusted):

  • Overall, the private sector has added 364,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, a monthly average of 121,000 — certainly not acceptable.
  • The economy as a whole has added 438,000.
  • The difference means that we have 74,000 more government workers. 17% of the job growth has been in government. Oh joy.

As might be expected, the credibility of today’s figures leading to the sub-8% unemployment rate are being questioned:

  • Jack Welch (longtime readers know that he’s not one of my favorites), via Business Insider — “JACK WELCH: Obama Is Manipulating The Jobs Numbers Because His Debate Performance Was Awful”
  • Zero Hedge — “Reason For Today’s Unemployment Rate Plunge: Part-Time Jobs For Economic Reasons Surge Most Since QE1 Announcement”
  • CNBC concurs — “The level of part-time workers reported the largest jump for the month, gaining 582,000.”

I’ve detected a couple of, ahem, anomalies as well, and probably won’t be able to get to them until my next column. One of them will probably relate to part-timers.

UPDATE: Both the raw and seasonally adjusted private-sector figures are the worst for September in three years.

The September Employment Situation Summary (100512): 7.8% Unemployment, 114K Job Adds

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:22 am

Econ news roundup:

  • Both Institute for Supply Management indices for September came in with improvements earlier this week. ISM’s Manufacturing Index, moving from 49.6% ti 51.5%, went into expansion after three months of tiny contraction. The Non Manufacturing Index (far more important, as it’s more than 80% of the economy) went into stronger expansion, moving from 53.7% to 55.1%. Both indices oddly saw order backlog contract while new orders increased.
  • Car sales for September were up by 13% over September 2011. Toyota (+49K, up 41%), Honda (+28K, up 31%), accounted for 57% of the 135,000 year-over-year increase in unit volume. As to Detroit’s Big Three, Chrysler was up 11.5%, while Ford and GM were flat.
  • ADP’s employment report showed 162,000 private-sector jobs added in September, but 29,000 in combined downward revisions to July and August.
  • Weekly initial unemployment claims came in at 367,000, a bit higher than the previous week, and will exceed the previous week by even more after they’re almost certainly revised up next week.
  • Yesterday, August factory orders, mirroring the disastrous durable goods news from the previous week (down 13.3%), fell 5.2%, beating expectations of 5.9%.

Overall, the picture is of a mostly awful August followed by a somewhat improving September.


  • The Associated Press carries a prediction of 111,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate ticking up to 8.2%.
  • Bloomberg has a prediction of +115K and 8.2%.
  • Reuters has +113k and 8.2%.

The Raw (Not Seasonally Adjusted) Numbers:

Readers here know that I look at what actually happened in the raw (not seasonally adjusted) numbers to get a gauge on where the job market is really going. Here is the layout of the past eleven years:


September is a quirky month. Overall employment usually rises because of teachers and other school workers returning from having the summer off, while the private sector goes the other way because seasonal workers are let go. The seasonal conversions in September are in my view especially vulnerable to not reflecting the underlying job-market realities.

My take is that overall employment before seasonal adjustment needs to increase by at least 750,000 and the private sector change has to be 300,000 or fewer jobs lost to lend any credibility at all to a narrative of improvement. Those seem to be aggressive numbers, but for heaven’s sake it’s the 39th month after the recession ended, and it’s no time to grade on a curve.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS — Below 8%, with still-small job growth (a distinct stench has been detected):

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 7.8 percent in September. For the first 8 months of the year, the rate held within a narrow range of 8.1 and 8.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 in September.

Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, following 3 months of little change. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 percentage point to 58.7 percent, after edging down in the prior 2 months.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 114,000 in September. In 2012, employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In September, employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.

Well, it will be hosannas for having the rate go below 8%, but the seasonally adjusted job adds, pending a look at the raw numbers, are NOT impressive (edited for this mistake at about 11:30 a.m.), and are on a downward trajectory compared to the upwardly revised July and August.

The big number of job adds in the Household survey would only seems to make sense if about 700,000 people (seasonally adjusted, remember) all of a sudden decided to become self-employed. Really?

More later.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100512)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:20 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Good Samaritan’s daring rescue in burning car caught on tape

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:15 am

From La Porte, Texas:

Posted on September 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM
Updated Sunday, Sep 30 at 11:40 AM

The heroics of a Good Samaritan who pulled a man out a burning car were caught on camera. 

Around 6 a.m. Thursday, an SUV lost control on in the 9500 block of Spencer Highway. It went off road and careened off signs, poles and two curbs before it stopped. 
The driver, for some reason, kept his foot on the accelerator. His spinning tires filled the parking lot with white smoke.
It was a daring rescue. Chris Murdock, a reserve Brazoria County Sheriff deputy, was there but to believe what he saw, he wanted to see video recorded by a camera hanging above Dr. Lisa Frazier’s eye clinic where the fire started.

“We were very blessed the curb stopped him,” Dr. Frazier said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have an office today.”

“At that point, he was down to rims and that’s where the sparks start,” Murdock said.

That’s when the Good Samaritan stepped in.

“He’s the hero,” Murdock said. “That guy saved [the driver].”

Murdock pulled up as the hero was dragging the driver away. Concerned about a potential gas tank explosion, Murdock helped pull the driver to a safe distance. Then, flames erupted.

“I [had] no idea if there’s anybody else in [the SUV] or not,” Murdock said. “I [was] hoping somebody shows up with a fire extinguisher or a hose. I’d have been happy with a garden hose, anything at that point.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.