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Jobs Contract for Two Straight Years


And with massive Birth/Death Model revision, it could last even longer.


So much for ideas that the string of job losses would end this month. And with a massive revision to the Birth/Death model coming up, it might be another two months before we see it happen.

I'd like to point out upfront what a joke the announced unemployment rate is. According to Ben Bernanke himself, it should take 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with the birth rate and immigration. Instead, the civilian labor force dropped by 661,000 and those not in the labor force dropped by a whopping 843,00 workers.

There are now a whopping 2.5 million people without a job but that want one, yet aren't counted as unemployed.

So yes, the "official unemployment rate" can hold its own or even drop with this kind of nonsense, but the announced unchanged unemployment rate holding steady at 10% is a brutal distortion of reality at best.

Now for a closer look at the report.

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the December Employment Report:

"Nonfarm payroll employment edged down (-85,000) in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.0 percent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment fell in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade, while temporary help services and health care added jobs..."

Establishment Data


  • 85,000 jobs were lost in total vs. 11,000 jobs last month.

  • 53,000 construction jobs were lost vs. 27,000 last month.

  • 27,000 manufacturing jobs were lost vs. 41,000 last month.

  • 04,000 service providing jobs were lost vs. 58,000 added last month.

  • 10,000 retail trade jobs were lost vs. 15,000 last month.

  • 50,000 professional and business services jobs were added vs. 86,000 added last month.

  • 35,000 education and health services jobs were added vs. 40,000 added last month.

  • 25,000 leisure and hospitality jobs were lost vs. 11,000 last month.

  • 21,000 government jobs were lost vs. 0 lost last month.

A total of 81,000 goods producing jobs were lost (higher paying jobs). Professional services contributed to the plus side.

Note: Some of the above categories overlap as shown in the preceding chart, so don't attempt to total them up.

Index of Aggregate Weekly Hours

Work hours were flat at 33.2. Short work weeks contribute to household problems. Moreover, before hiring begins at many places, work weeks will increase.

Birth Death Model Revisions 2008

Birth Death Model Revisions 2009

Birth/Death Model Revisions

After the typical in January in which the Birth/Death Model revisions bore some semblance of reality, the birth/death numbers remain in deep outer space.

At this point in the cycle, birth/death numbers should have been massively contracting for months. The BLS is going to keep adding jobs through the entire recession in a complete display of incompetence.

Please note that one cannot subtract or add birth/death revisions to the reported totals and get a meaningful answer. One set of numbers is seasonally adjusted, the other isn't. In the black box, the BLS combines the two coming out with a total. The birth/death numbers influence the overall totals but the math isn't as simple as it appears and the effect is nowhere near as big as it might logically appear at first glance.

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