January’s Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was even worse than expected. Seasonally adjusted employment fell by 598,000 jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 7.6%.
In his Saturday address that followed this news, President Barack Obama was correct in pointing out that 3.6 million jobs have been lost since the recession, at least as “defined” by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), began. The recession, as normal people define it (“a decline in gross domestic product [GDP] for two or more consecutive quarters”), began in the third quarter of 2008 and became official late last month when the fourth quarter came in negative.
What Mr. Obama “somehow” forgot to tell us is that almost 1.8 million of those seasonally adjusted job losses have occurred since his election, when his non-stop economic no-confidence game went into high gear, and that 2.8 million jobs have gone away during the seven months that began in July 2008, the first full month of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy:
Beyond that, in comparing the raw month-to-month figures, i.e., before seasonal adjustment, it’s clear that conditions on the ground in the real economy are in a worse state of decay than the seasonally adjusted data would indicate. The November 2008 to January 2009 economy underperformed the same months of the previous year by over 2.2 million jobs:
In the same report, the BLS did something else that virtually everyone ignored: it issued its annual comprehensive revision to previously released jobs numbers.
Let’s compare the last two-plus years before and after the revision:
The blue boxes show that BLS’s revision added 259,000 seasonally adjusted jobs to the fourth quarter of 2007 (500,000 vs. 241,000).
Yet the NBER claims that the recession started in December 2007, in a month when the economy added 120,000 jobs.