Patterico's Pontifications

3/5/2010

Jobless Rate Unchanged

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 1:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The February 2010 employment report showed 36,000 people lost their jobs and unemployment remained at 9.7%:

Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (-36,000) in February, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment fell in construction and information, while temporary help services added jobs. Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours; however, it is not possible to quantify precisely the net impact of the winter storms on these measures. For more information on the effects of the severe weather on employment estimates, see the box note at the end of the release.”

However, there was an increase in discouraged workers:

“Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in February, up by 473,000 from a year earlier.”

Remember Larry Summers’ claim that the snow might affect the February unemployment report? Here’s what the BLS note said about that:

“Effect of Severe Winter Storms on Employment Estimates

Major winter storms affected parts of the country during the February reference periods for the establishment and household surveys.

In the establishment survey, the reference period was the pay period including February 12th. In order for severe weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll employment, employees have to be off work for an entire pay period and not be paid for the time missed. About half of all workers in the payroll survey have a 2-week, semi-monthly, or monthly pay period. Workers who received pay for any part of the reference pay period, even one hour, are counted in the February payroll employment figures. While some persons may have been off payrolls during the survey reference period, some industries, such as those dealing with cleanup and repair activities, may have added workers.

In the household survey, the reference period was the calendar week of February 7-13. People who miss work for weather-related events are counted as employed whether or not they are paid for the time off.”

So people who missed work because of weather were counted as employed anyway, and people who got cleanup and repair jobs were also counted as employed. I’m not an economist but it sounds like the recent snows may have artificially inflated — not depressed — employment.

— DRJ

27 Responses to “Jobless Rate Unchanged”

  1. All of that snow and ice on the Eastern Seaboard sure discouraged me from looking for work…
    Oh, wait a minute, I live in SoCal…
    Never mind.

    AD - RtR/OS! (abf357)

  2. No mention of expectations?

    imdw (50eb29)

  3. imdw,

    I considered saying the BLS note on the weather was unexpected. I’ll be glad to add it if you want.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  4. The expectations of the Obowman Administration is that anything coming from what they have proposed is truly “unexpected” since they have a marked, and demonstrated, inability to see further than the tip of their nose.

    AD - RtR/OS! (abf357)

  5. “I considered saying the BLS note on the weather was unexpected. I’ll be glad to add it if you want.”

    BLS doesn’t release expectations. Analysts do.

    imdw (047270)

  6. A distinction without a difference.
    The BLS has hundreds, if not thousands, of analysts to – you know – analyze employment data.

    In the annuls of history there a charlatans, fools, and then there is Imadickwad.

    AD - RtR/OS! (abf357)

  7. Jobs continue to be lost.
    Population continues to increase.
    Unemployment rate remains the same.
    Previously employed are no longer in the employment sector where unemployment rates are determined.
    False non-negative for ObamaNation.

    John Hitchcock (8f46db)

  8. Given the methodology, because of the treatment of long term unemployed and those who have given up seeking work, this does indicate worsening employment.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  9. If you were laid off, but are being paid through the end of March, you won’t be counted as unemployed, but you still don’t have a job. If you have severence pay, you’re considered employed, but you still don’t have a job. I heard many complain about the “quality” of jobs during the last administration, where are they now? Don’t they care?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  10. Harry Reid just told me that that the loss of those 36,000 jobs was “really good”. He’ll tell you the same thing here. What a moron.

    Old Coot (9e58d8)

  11. Look on the bright side. So far, Obama’s unelected EPA hasn’t done the CO2 law yet. (Isn’t there something in the Constitution about that?) Once that goes into place, coal power plants will go bankrupt, sending more people to the unemployment lines, just as home energy bills skyrocket. And employer energy bills will skyrocket, forcing them to lay off employees and raise their prices at the same time. And people who used to have jobs but don’t anymore will choose not to buy the products whose prices just skyrocketed. And let’s not forget, those prices could quite easily lead to seven-dollar-a-gallon gasoline.

    So you gotta look in the bright side. We haven’t hit the double-dip, triple-dip, quadruple-dip unemployment and the accompanying Carter-on-steroids compound inflation yet. So, we’re still good with the real-world 17 percent-plus unemployment and underemployment numbers.

    John Hitchcock (8f46db)

  12. And jobs ain’t equal to jobs. Losing (presumably) higher paying jobs in construction and information is worse than gains in (presumably) lower paying temp services. Same number of people with jobs, but a net hit to the economy.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  13. imdw:

    BLS doesn’t release expectations. Analysts do.

    The BLS included a statement on the impact of the recent snow and it appears to undercut, not support, what Larry Summers said earlier this week. I’d call that unexpected.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  14. Also, imdw, some BLS reports are based on sampling and those reports are all about expectations.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  15. you gotta love a system where more people are unemployed than the last time they did the math and yet the answer is the same.

    i call “bullshit” “imdw”.

    Killmore Trout (fb8750)

  16. “Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in February, up by 473,000 from a year earlier.” – this is the part which makes me most nervous, since, as I understand things, those folk are not counted as among the unemployed …

    I need to find the source of numbers for unemployed, which will include both the recently unemployed as well as those who are “discouraged workers” … a comparison of those numbers, over time, is likely to give the most meaningful picture of how employment is actually doing …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  17. Alasdair, you also need to account for the likes of me in your work to get a true number. I lost my job in Nov 2008, was unable to get unemployment, didn’t get a job until June 2009, and got paid 1/3 what my previous job paid, got laid off again in July, unable to get unemployment, got another job in mid-August, even less income than the other temporary job. I don’t get counted in any fashion from Nov 2008 till now (and beyond).

    John Hitchcock (8f46db)

  18. “A distinction without a difference.”

    Who was it that was whining about the use of ‘unexpected’? They’re talking about wall street analysts. Not BLS. BLS doesn’t release expectations. They release the numbers.

    ” The BLS included a statement on the impact of the recent snow and it appears to undercut, not support, what Larry Summers said earlier this week. I’d call that unexpected.”

    Yes I know. These numbers beat expectations. Look around and you’ll find the reporting and what the expectations were.

    “Also, imdw, some BLS reports are based on sampling and those reports are all about expectations.”

    Why are you sending me to a page on consumer prices?

    “you gotta love a system where more people are unemployed than the last time they did the math and yet the answer is the same.”

    It makes sense once you realize what unemployment rate is good for — not so much for measuring misery, but more for measuring labor market slack.

    imdw (842182)

  19. Why are you sending me to a page on consumer prices?

    Your earlier comment suggests the BLS deals with facts, not expectations, but it does both.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  20. Yes I know. These numbers beat expectations. Look around and you’ll find the reporting and what the expectations were.

    Yes, and I posted on it here.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  21. ” Your earlier comment suggests the BLS deals with facts, not expectations, but it does both.”

    Oh I see. See, what’s going is, when BLS is releasing numbers, and people talk about how these compare to “expectations” those “expectations” aren’t BLS’s.

    ” Yes, and I posted on it here.”

    Yeah it seems like you’re not getting it. For example, the job cuts of 36,000 were below expectations for 50,000. Maybe it was Karl that was whining abut expectations, not you. In the recent past, we’ve done worse than expectations. This time we did better.

    imdw (085706)

  22. Doing better is still teh suck.

    JD (2ed087)

  23. When does the Administration expect to start adding jobs, imdw?

    DRJ (daa62a)

  24. 2011

    JD (2ed087)

  25. From the AP:

    “The Labor Department wouldn’t quantify how the snowstorms that hammered the East Coast last month affected job losses. Economists said the storms probably inflated job losses but by less than predictions of 100,000 or more. Without the storms, the economy likely would have seen a net jobs gain in February for only the second time since the recession began two years ago.”

    According to the BLS note DRJ posted, if someone worked an hour during the measuring period, they were counted as employed, so the concept of snowpocalypse having an impact on the numbers is just a BS manufactured excuse to mask ongoing weakness.

    daleyrocks (5710d7)

  26. IOW, I call imdw on the weather related job loss narrative.

    daleyrocks (5710d7)

  27. “When does the Administration expect to start adding jobs, imdw?”

    The last projections they showed were pretty crappy:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703382904575058882351747018.html

    imdw (168594)


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