Saturday, February 7, 2015

A lights-out January US jobs report

The Obama Recovery seems to be in high-speed mode, even more than we previously knew. The January U.S. jobs report came out this morning with huge numbers not only for the start of this year, but at the end of the last one.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 257,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. Data for November and December was revised to show a whopping 147,000 more jobs created than previously reported, bolstering views consumers will have enough muscle to carry the economy through rough seas.

At 423,000, November's payroll gains were the largest since May 2010, when employment was boosted by government hiring for the population count.

While the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.7 percent, that was because the [labor] force increased, a sign of confidence in the jobs market.

January marked the 11th straight month of job gains above 200,000, the longest streak since 1994.
Not too bad, if I might say so myself. Even average hourly earnings were up by $0.12 for January, in a month when inflation is likely to drop with gas bottoming out, and it now puts the year-over-year increase at 2.2%- which is above the 1.6% inflation rate for 2014. That’s a welcome change from the largely stagnant to declining real wages we have seen in recent years.

Even without this positive data, the January U.S. jobs report is always a big one, because it features revisions for several years in the past, based on the “gold standard” jobs report, new population information and related statistics that improves the accuracy of the originally-reported figures. Here’s the explanation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on that, as part of the larger overall report.
In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today have been benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March 2014. These counts are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which enumerates jobs covered by the unemployment insurance tax system. The benchmark process results in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2013 forward. Seasonally adjusted data from January 2010 forward are subject to revision. In addition, data for some series prior to 2010, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate revisions.

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2014 was revised upward by 91,000 (+67,000 on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or less than 0.05 percent). The average benchmark revision over the past 10 years was plus or minus 0.3 percent.
The rest of 2014 was also given revisions, and while those numbers showed only a slight increase (17,000 more jobs added from April-October than first reported), the huge upward revisions in November and December along with the added 91,000 jobs in March solidified 2014 as the best year for U.S. job gains since 1999. It also continued a strong four-year record of gaining back jobs lost during the Great Recession.

Job gains 2011-2014
2011 total: 2.080 million (1.6%)
2011 private sector: 2.396 million (2.2%)

2012 total: 2.257 million (1.7%)
2012 private: 2.315 million (2.1%)

2013 total: 2.388 million (1.8%)
2013 private: 2.452 million (2.2%)

2014 total: 3.116 million (2.3%)
2014 private: 3.043 million (2.6%)

It’s been a pretty good four years in the U.S. We’re still not at full employment, as the 5.7% unemployment rate indicates, but we’re a whole lot better off than we were at the end of 2010, when the U.S. was struggling with a 9.3% rate.

This also brings further into focus how badly Wisconsin has lagged in growth in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. With these huge upward revisions, the overall Scott Walker jobs gap now stands at more than 50,000 at the end of 2014, and nearly 59,000 in the private sector. This is even taking into account the large increase in jobs the state has reported over the last 6 months, which has cut around 10,000 of both of these gaps.

Of course, the state will also have its numbers be benchmarked in its next jobs report, which comes out in early March. Given that this is benchmarked to the QCEW, this would indicate that Wisconsin’s jobs numbers are unlikely to go up with these revisions, and if anything, may go down (as noted in this post).

So stay tuned, and see how much of this reality is discussed or ignored as our fair Gov’nor travails around the country trying to talk his “accomplishments” in Wisconsin. It’s quite obvious that the real success story is the strength of the U.S. economy dragging Wisconsin up, despite the austerity and income-shifting to the rich and corporate that has been a hallmark of the Scott Walker reign. Scotty won’t say this publically, but behind the scenes, you know he and his backers are saying “THANKS OBAMA” for keeping the state’s economy afloat through the November 2014 elections, which limited the damage and allowed him to fool just enough voters to slip by with 52% of the midterm vote, lifting off his current nationwide grifting campaign.


  1. Yeah. Obama saved the day. God liberals are dumb.