Saturday, April 10, 2010

How Absurd Is This? BLS Says It's a ManRecovery

John Crudele has taken a closer look at the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and points to some pretty bizarre stats that really provide evidence for those who suspect the BLS is either fudging the numbers, or really has no clue as to how to collect employment data correctly.

Based on BLS data, this is a ManRecovery (In March and February, anyway) and the women are still lounging around the house. Crudele explains:

If we are to believe the Labor Department, 290,000 men over the age of 20 found new jobs in March. But, bizarrely, 43,000 women in the same age group lost their jobs.

But that's not where this trip into statistical improbability ends.

In February, the Labor Department thinks 233,000 men over 20 found jobs but only 11,000 women were as lucky.

If I believed the numbers this would be a column about workplace discrimination. But, really, could employers be passing over the ladies and hiring just the gents?

Not likely.

Meanwhile, the January figures were absurd in the other direction. According to the Labor Department, in January 529,000 women found work while 1,000 men lost their jobs.

I asked the Labor Department for an explanation, but it didn't have one, except to urge me to look at its data over a longer time frame.

Why is the mystery about men, women and employment so important? Because the numbers come from the government's monthly household survey of employment, which is used to determine the nation's closely watched unemployment rate.

1 comment:

  1. Clearly, government statistics are issued only for poltical purposes and are useless in understanding reality. So why does anyone continue to use the Fed Reserves numbers to predict a double dip in the economy? Rather than monitoring larbor dept. stats or FED numbers, Bernard Condon offers another possibilty.

    He wrote an article about analyst concerns about the low volume of trades as recorded by the stock exchanges. Organizations that have some incentive to be accurate. He concluded with: "In the last bull market, the trend was completely opposite the one today. The 200-day average daily volume surged to 1.7 billion shares in late 2007, up more than a third from early 2002, as individuals grew more confident in the rally.

    As it turns out, they should have sat on their cash. In October 2007, shortly after volume peaked, the market began to collapse. Investors will still be down 22 percent - even if the Dow does eventually close above 11,000."

    So the real question is; Will the absent retail investors fuel a slow but steady rise as they increase their participation?

    No one knows for sure, so the best approach may be to let the "bloodless verdict of the market" guide your decisions.