Inside Dismal (+83,000) September BLS.

Inside the BLS Employment Situation Report


This is my monthly look inside the BLS Employment Situation Report. There are two BLS Surveys: the Establishment and the Household. Establishment surveys about 141,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 486,000 individual worksites. It is taken each month during the week which includes the 12th of the month. Household is a survey of 60,000 households taken each month during the week which includes the 12th of the month.

Each item below is suffixed with (H) if it is from the Household Survey, (E) if it is from the Establishment Survey, and (B) if it is from both.

– Nominal Nonfarm jobs was +142,000 (E). Revisions to the two previous months subtracted 59,000 making the total increase since the last report 83,000.

– the size of the civilian noninstitutional adult population increased by 229,000 to 251,325,000 (H).

– 350,000 fewer people were in the labor force last month. These are people who are now working or, at least, state that they are looking for jobs (H)

With a labor participation rate of 62.4% 142,900 more jobs were necessary to keep pace with population growth. With the adjustments for the previous 2 months we had 59,900 fewer population-adjusted jobs added than that. (H) The Employment/Population fell to 59.2%

The Labor Participation Rate fell to 62.4%. It was 62.7% a year ago. It peaked at 67.3% in April 2000.

– Nominal job growth last month was 83000. This accounts for the changes for the 2 previous months.
– the Unemployment Rate was flat to 5.1%. It was 5.9% a year ago.(B)
– Average hourly earnings was $29.09 down from the previous month’s $25.10. (E)
– Average work week was 34.5 down from previous month’s 34.6 hours. (E)
– Private jobs were +118,000 (without adjustments for previous 2 months). Government jobs were +24,000. (E).

– Good producing jobs were -13,000. The two previous months were revised to -22,000 and +7,000 (E)
-The labor participation rate (percent of adult noninstitutionalized population who are part of the labor force) fell tot 62.2%. It was 62.7% a year ago. (H) This, not the unemployment rate, is the number which should get everyone’s attention. It is this 62.2% of the adult noninstitutionalized population who get pay checks and contribute to GDP.
Last month BLS measured 4 sets of people entering or leaving the jobs market:
– Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs was 3,908,000 down 162,000 from previous month’s Job Losers and down 613,000 year-on-year. (H)

– Job leavers was 780,000. This includes anyone who retired or voluntarily left working. This is down 10,000 from previous month and down 36,000 year-on-year. (H)

-Reentrants was 2,430,000. Reentrants are previously employed people who were looking for a job and found one. This was +87,000 from the previous month and -369,000 year-on-year.(H)

-New entrants were 831,000. These are people who never worked before and who are entering the labor force for the first time. This was -19,000 from previous month and -263000 year-on-year.

One line in the BLS Report is termed “people employed part-time for economic reasons.” These are people who want to work full time but their employer, for whatever reason, decide to employ them only part-time. In this month’s report there were 447,000 more people working part-time for economic reasons. This is very weak.
The presentation of the total change in jobs is like looking at the final score of a game. The details tell the story:

– 83,000 more people are working.

– 350,000 fewer people are in the civilian labor force.

The unemployment rate was flat largely because 350,000 people left the labor force.

This is a very weak report on all fronts. While this is but one month it serves notice that the ongoing media accounts that the jobs market has been great were bogus. The jobs market is probably not as bad that this report indicates but it is not as good as the media have been reporting for months.