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.



  1. What the? The GDP went south, and all of the other economic indicators are fairly weak and we get a sudden drop to 7.8%? Something ain’t kosher here.

    Comment by zf — October 5, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  2. A big part of it is statistical error. At the 90% confidence level, the labor force has a +/-494K MoE and the number of unemployed has a +/-255K MoE, which would allow for an unemployment rate that is rounded up to 8.0%. At the 95% level (labor participation +/-588K, unemployment +/-304K), it allows for a rounded-down 8.0% unemployment rate.

    Gallup’s 8.1% estimate, consistent from the end of August through the end of September, has a 0.1-percentage-point MoE.

    Comment by steveegg — October 5, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  3. #2, Sounds as good an explanation as any, and I have heard many.

    Comment by zf — October 5, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

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