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progree's Journal
progree's Journal
September 18, 2012

EF-0. Economy Stats with links to original sources. Links to LBN jobs threads thru 11/3/23

11/3/23 - Added the October 2023 Jobs report link that came out 11/3/23

Kick note, 10/8/22 - I have to Kick this about every 2 1/2 years in order to keep it from falling into the archives.

See the Updates page for a list of updates.

While most numbers aren't up to date, I do keep adding links, e.g. inflation, prime rate, FedFunds rate, Treasury bills/note/bonds rate.

The collection of hundreds of economic links is the main feature of this megathread, that I find personally quite handy. Given the number of views (150-250 a month), I suspect quite a number of others are finding it useful too.

I also post a link every month to the latest Jobs reports thread (non-farm payroll employment, unemployment rate, and all that) at the top of this OP.

==== end Kick Note ===============================

LBN Threads that discuss the latest monthly jobs reports (the one with the unemployment rate and the payroll jobs numbers that usually comes out the first Friday of the month, but sometimes the second Friday)

For October 2023 jobs report (dated 11/3/23) , see: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143153410

Presidential jobs creation table (post WWII presidents) in January 2020 at near the height of the pre-Covid economy, and so is Trump at his best, and even then, 5 of 6 post-WWII Democratic presidents beat his record. (At the end of his term, he was the only one with a negative jobs creation record -- fewer jobs than when he started)
. . . https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=2880567

Since I'm not doing monthly updates anymore, the links below are the place to look for discussions of the numbers, usually in the Latest Breaking News Forum. I generally contribute to these threads, but it takes some time (like most of the Friday when they come out). I will at least add the latest link ASAP to the below. One can also look in the Latest Breaking News forum at shortly after 8:30 A.M. Eastern Time on the first Friday of the month (or the second Friday of some months) and find it.

When the jobs reports come out: https://www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/empsit.htm
. . . for 2023: 1/6, 2/3, 3/10, 4/7, 5/5, 6/2, 7/7, 8/4, 9/1, 10/6, 11/3, 12/8 (so only exceptions to the First Friday rule in 2023 is 3/10 and 12/8)


OCTOBER (dated 11/3/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143153410
SEPTEMBER (dated 10/6/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143140332
AUGUST 2023 (dated 9/1/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143123973
JULY 2023 (dated 8/4/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143109301
JUNE 2023 (dated 7/7/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143097688
MAY 2023 (dated 6/2/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143082170
APRIL 2023 (dated 5/5/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143070519
MARCH 2023 (dated 4/7/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143056808
FEBRUARY 2023 (dated 3/10/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143044342
JANUARY 2023 (dated 2/3/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143028492
DECEMBER 2022 (dated 1/6/23): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143015534
NOVEMBER 2022 (dated 12/2/22): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143001834
OCTOBER 2022 (dated 11/4/22): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142990161

Archives of all Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports (BLS), -- besides the first Friday jobs report (called the "Employment Situation" ) that is the main subject of this megathread, there is also the CPI and Producer Price Index, Employment Cost Index, Productivity and Costs, Real Earnings, U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes, Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS), and much much more --
In the list up at the top, under Major Economic Indicators, select Employment Situation for the jobs report or whatever else for other reports.

For a list of updates (besides adding the link to the latest Latest Breaking News job report above), please click this link:   EF-U. Updates List

Handy key links to BLS data series / graphs pages, some with the latest year or two of monthly numbers: (11/3/23) https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143153410#post1

I won't be doing monthly updates, but rather annual updates of the jobs number, so if the job statistics are somewhat out of date in the future, I hope people will read "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there". The other pages (EF-1 through EF-10) also has information about the economy that is still relevant or relatively timeless. I also make occasional changes to some of the other pages, particularly the debt and deficit information on the EF-5 page http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post5
and EF-9 Income and Inequality pages http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post9
. Again, please check out the   EF-U. Updates List

Another key purpose of this page is to provide links to the official sources of economic statistics and other resources for people to use in the message board / social media wars with the righties (and each other) about the economy.

Almost all sections have where to find the original-source numbers, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Treasury.gov, or widely cited non-partisan sources. Hopefully people will find these pages a useful reference for finding information. These are the numbers that are cited, and which virtually all analysis of the U.S. economy derive from. The rest is pretty much anecdotal (like "the prices in my grocery store have doubled in the past year" )

There are some amazingly distorted presentations of what their numbers are and what they mean that you find on the web, and yes, DU too. Please see the "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there" section in the bottom half of this page for examples of what I mean by distorted presentations of BLS statistics.

I don't claim that the BLS and other government sources are inerrant, or even unbiased, e.g. whoever came up with some of the definitions like the official (U-3) unemployment rate being a count of jobless people who looked for work sometime in the past 4 weeks. And it is obvious that most of the Household Survey numbers have a lot of statistical error, considering how they wildly bounce around from month to month.

I'm just saying all of this is a presentation of the actual BLS and Commerce Department numbers (for the most part) with links to the statistics being discussed, so that you can check it out for yourself.

Most of what you read about economic statistics, including those skeptical of the BLS and Commerce Dept numbers (e.g. GDP), rely on these same statistics, since there aren't many comprehensive non-governmental sources of economic statistics available. In other words, they use these statistics to criticize these statistics. So by giving you the links, you can see the full context -- as many polemicists cherry pick here and there to give a misleading picture.

Again, see the "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there" section in the bottom half of this page for examples of what to watch for.

Unfortunately, a lot of the formatting has been lost because of the May 2017 hack of the DU website. For the latest version at archive.org -- WHICH SHOWS THE ORIGINAL FORMATTING -- see:


Unfortunately the latest archive.org snapshot that shows the original formatting is April 2016. Oh well. There is a way to ask archive.org to save a current snapshot ... the "Save Page Now" feature at https://archive.org/web. But unfortunately any snapshots made after the May 2017 hack of the DU website appear the same as what you are looking at -- with only selected formatting restored.

For more on what formatting does and does not work at DU, see https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1256&pid=13211

Here is a table of contents of this thread:

{#} EF-0. Economic Statistics with links to official sources (this post)

{#} EF-1. Job Loss and Creation - Payroll Employment. At the bottom all post-WWII presidents with completed terms are compared

{#} EF-2. Unemployment Rate, Labor Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Insurance Claims

{#} EF-3. Recessions and Expansions - Official (NBER.org). Also GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

{#} EF-4. U.S. Stock Market as measured by the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Avg

{#} EF-5. National Debt. Budget Deficits and Surpluses

{#} EF-6. U.S. Dollar Index (DXY). Oil Prices

{#} EF-7. In Progress (mostly Dem presidencies v. Repub presidencies. Also Inequality)

{#} EF-8. In Progress - Some canned excerpts to use in the message board wars

{#} EF-9. Incomes and Inequality and Consumer Prices and Poverty (in progress)

{#) EF-10. Definitions, Links (In Progress)

{#) EF-U. Updates List

I use facts from these in mixed message boards and in comments on news articles such as at news.yahoo.com. Be aware that I have included a few statistics that are not so pleasant as far as Obama's record, ones that anyone debating with others should be aware of because occasionally you will see these points or they will come back at you with these statistics (forewarned is forearmed).


Here are some key jobs reports links that I used to use for my reports:


The links to the data below in the "over the last year" etc. tables

# Nonfarm Employment (Establishment Survey), https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001  monthly change

# . . . the raw (not seasonally adjusted numbers) are at http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CEU0000000001   monthly change

# INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031

# Labor Force http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11000000   monthly change

# Employed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12000000   monthly change

# . . . the raw (not seasonally adjusted numbers) are at https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNU02000000   monthly change

# Unemployed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13000000   monthly change

# ETPR (Employment-To-Population Ratio) aka Employment Rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

# LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

# Unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

# U-6 unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709

# NILF -- Not in Labor Forcehttp://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15000000   monthly change

# NILF-WJ -- Not in Labor Force, Wants Job http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15026639   monthly change

# Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12032194 monthly change

# Part-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12600000   monthly change

# Full-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12500000   monthly change

# Multiple Jobholders as a Percent of Employed (Table A-9) https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12026620   monthly change

# Civilian non-institutional population https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS10000000   monthly change

Some statistics by age group
The ones beginning with "LNS" are seasonally adjusted (SA).
The ones beginning with "LNU" are not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
16+ is the default one that the BLS and the media report.
16+ means every civilian non-institutionalized person age 16 and over, including centenarians. So it is misleading -- the population is aging and there are about 10,000 boomer retirements a day (which comes to 3.6 million/year). That's why I show other age groups.

Age 25-54 is what the BLS calls the "prime age". It isn't contaminated by a lot of voluntary retirements.

By default, the graphs are 10 - 11 years, specifically they begin in the January of the year that was 10 years ago -- meaning in this case they begin January 2009 (which happens to be near the bottom of Great Recession job market -- well actually the job count fell for another 13 months to its lowest point in February 2010)

You might want to set the start date of the calendar back to, oh, whatever. 1989? 1979? 1969? In order to get a more historic view. 1989 is about when the rapid growth of female workforce participation began to level off

LFPR - Labor Force Participation Rate for some age groups
The LFPR is the Employed + jobless people who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks (and say they want a job and are able to take one if offered). All divided by the civilian non-institutional population age 16+.
SA means Seasonally adjusted. NSA means Not Seasonally Adjusted
16+: SA: LNS11300000 NSA: LNU01300000
25-34: SA: LNS11300089 NSA: LNU01300089
25-54: SA: LNS11300060 NSA: LNU01300060
55+: SA: LNS11324230 NSA: LNU01324230
65+: SA: ---------------- NSA: LNU01300097

ETPR - Employment to Population Ratio for some age groups
SA means Seasonally adjusted. NSA means Not Seasonally Adjusted
16+: SA: LNS12300000 NSA: LNU02300000
25-34: SA: LNS12300089 NSA:
25-54: SA: LNS12300060 NSA: LNU02300060
55+: SA: LNS12324230 NSA: LNU02324230
65+: SA: ---------------- NSA: LNU02300097

Aren't most of the new jobs part-time?

No. This excellent post from early July 2015 show two perspectives of the trends in part-time workers and full-time workers (not part-time jobs and full-time jobs). Thanks mahatmakanejeeves

Since February 2010 (the bottom of the Great Recession job market) through January 2020, part-time workers have DEcreased by 98,000 while full-time workers have INcreased by 20,321,000. (Table A-9).

Chart 7 of the below link shows Part-time workers as a percent of total employed, Seasonally adjusted, 1990–2020. In recent years it has ranged from 20.1% at the height of the Great Recession to around 17% now.
https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps_charts.pdf --this link seems to not work anymore, will have to check it out

# Multiple Jobholders as a Percent of Employed (Table A-9) https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12026620   monthly change
In January 2020, 5.1% of the employed were multiple job holders, according to this.

What kind of Wages?

INFLATION-ADJUSTED Average WEEKLY Earnings Of Production And Nonsupervisory Employees, Total Private, 1982-84 Dollars
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031 ## (Hourly earnings: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000008 )
Unfortunately, the graph has expired. But the key thing is that, as of December 31, 2019, the INFLATION-ADJUSTED weekly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers is up 2.8% over the last 3 years, and up 7.9% since February 2010 (the jobs market bottom). However, in the past 11 months through December 31, 2019, this measure has declined slightly, by 0.16%, so call it a plateauing for now. (Note: December 31, 2019 is the latest available as I write this on February 8, 2020, because the CPI for January doesn't come out until mid-February).

Incidentally, over Obama's last 3 years this measure went up 4.48%. And over his entire 8 year presidency it went up 4.14%

Here is the nominal, i.e. not-inflation-adjusted version of the above:
Weekly: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000030
Hourly: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000008

See "Detailed Discussion" section below for a narrative discussion of the above statistics over the past year and the past three years (the past three years coincides with the Trump presidency. LATER, 2/8/20: there isn't a detailed narrative this time. Just a couple sentences in the "Commentary" after the "Over the Last THree Years" section ABOVE.

FFI on the most recent jobs report, straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age (household survey) http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Several graphs of the key economic stats -- http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps_charts.pdf
Table of Contents as of 1/31/19
1. Civilian labor force
2. Civilian labor force participation rate
3. Civilian employment
4. Employment-population ratio
5. Nonagricultural wage and salary employment
6. Nonagricultural self-employed, unincorporated
7. Part-time workers as a percent of total employed
8. Employed part time for economic reasons
9. Civilian unemployment
10. Civilian unemployment rate
11. Duration of unemployment
12. Long-term unemployed as a percent of total unemployed
13. Reasons for unemployment
14. Job losers by layoff status
15. Unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, and teenagers
16. Unemployment rates by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
17. Unemployment rates for persons 25 years and older by educational
18. Persons not in the labor force who want a job
19. Persons not in the labor force, selected indicators
20. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

The whole enchilada -- including all 16 "A" tables (the household survey) and all 9 "B" tables (the establishment survey) http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

[font color = brown] ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Table A-1 and other tables can be found at the all-tables full jobs report at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf, or gotten one-at-a-time from the bottom section of http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm . For example, Table A-9 alone is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm )

BLS Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jec.nr0.htm

The Council of Economic Advisors' Take on the Jobs Report
https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/economy-jobs/ (find this at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea )
The Council of Economic Advisors is a Trump admin propaganda organ now. Do not confuse it with the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) which is supposed to be a non-partisan statistics-gathering government agency. On the other hand, the Council of Economic Advisors are all appointed by the president -- more specifically, the chairman is nominated by the president and approved by the Senate. The members are appointed by the president .

Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner's Corner: http://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/ Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/BLS_gov

BumRushDaShow / Mahatmakanejeeves thread - very comprehensive OP each month when the jobs report comes out, as well as additional material he posts to the thread in the following hours. Watch the OP for edits too. And the thread for more material. (In the January 2020 jobs report which came out on February 7, the thread was hosted by BumRushDaShow). https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142430036

Detailed Discussion

mm/dd/yy -

Nothing much more to add to the above. Usually I'm verbose as most job reports are a mix of good-and-bad when compared to the prior month. But I'm not doing monthly comparisons anymore since the monthly changes in the Household Survey numbers are mostly statistical noise.

Instead, I have been, and will be doing annual updates in early February after the January jobs report comes out (namely detailing the changes over the past 12 months, and since February 1, 2017 which is the beginning of the Trump administration's first full month in office).

However, I do update the non-jobs pages when new information comes out. See the "EF-U. Updates List" post below http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post37 for updates.


Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there, such as right-wingers slamming any gains the economy made under Obama (thanks in large part to Republican obstructionism in Congress, and Republican policies in the many states they control).

NOTE: MANY OF THE BELOW EXAMPLES WERE WRITTEN DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WHEN RIGHT-WING GREEDBANGERS WERE DISPARAGING ANY PROGRESS THE ECONOMY WAS MAKING.. Of course they are making the opposite kinds of arguments now that the King of the Magats is president. But the techniques are the same. I have chosen not to spend an extraordinary amount of time re-writing all of the many examples below to illustrate how Magats would try to make the economy look better than it really is.

Tricks of the polemicists include:

(1). Highlighting adverse one-month or other short-term changes in some highly volatile component, and making it seem like it's the story of the whole Obama administration's job record such as, for example, the monthly changes in the civilian labor force, age 16+, seasonally adjusted. Here for example are the monthly changes for 2012 in thousands: (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11000000?output_view=net_1mth ):
[font face = "courier new"]
Jan Feb Mar. Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct. Nov Dec
401 498 -15 -246 381 188 -164 -301 349 489 -228 206 (labor force, thousands) [/font]

Needless to say, whenever the president is Democratic, our good friends on the right highlight the drops in the labor force in the months when it drops, and make no mention of the rises when it rises. This is also known as cherry-picking the bad statistic of the month.

As you may know, under Obama, the righties and the media loved to pooh pooh any drop in the unemployment rate when the labor force drops, explaining that the unemployment rate dropped mostly because people gave up looking for work and left the labor force, and so are not counted. But how often have you heard them bring up a rise in the labor force in a month when it rose?

Another example: full-time jobs: [du/10026642259]

Awk! 252,000 full-time jobs were LOST in April! (April 2015, a month where the media was touting the 223,000 gain in payroll employment)

But note this statistic, coming from the Household Survey, is highly volatile from month to month:

Monthly changes in full-time workers (in thousands): http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12500000
[font face = "courier new"]
` ` ` Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014) 410 209 203 396 332 -538 196 310 552 371 -174 427
2015) 777 123 190 -252 (full time workers, thousands) [/font]

One could just as well have said 1,265,000 full-time employees were gained over the last 5 months (253,000/month average). Or 2,314,000 were gained in the last 12 months (193,000/month average). And note that nobody wrote OP's about full-time employment gains when the September report came out (+552,000), or December (+427,000) or January (+777,000)

(2). Cleverly mixing seasonally adjusted data with unadjusted data (without making that clear of course) Or using exclusively seasonally unadjusted data if that paints the picture they want to paint

(2a). Implying that a number is not seasonally adjusted -- for example disparaging a November or December payroll employment report of a good 250,000 increase in payroll employment by saying that's a paltry gain since there should be a lot of Christmas shopping season hiring going on. (Uh, no, like almost all BLS statistics reported in the media, the payroll employment numbers are seasonally adjusted. And, by the way, actually December is almost always a month when more jobs are lost than gained -- the raw (not-seasonally adjusted) payroll employment numbers are at http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CEU0000000001?output_view=net_1mth )

Another example - saying a big increase of 0.5% in consumer spending in December is not a big deal, and ought to be way higher since December is after all the big Christmas spending month. (Uh, no, again, the numbers are seasonally adjusted)

(2b). Related -- using NOT seasonally adjusted numbers when that better makes their case, and saying that the unadjusted numbers are "the real numbers" untarnished by bureaucratic "adjustments" and "manipulations"

A great example is comparing not-seasonally-adjusted numbers for December and January, and making an enormous hoo-hah about the decline of the job count in January (when of course much of the extra Christmas season help is laid off, but the polemicists don't mention that explanation).

The below compares the monthly changes of the NOT-seasonally adjusted numbers ( http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CEU0000000001?output_view=net_1mth ) to the seasonally adjusted numbers ( http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth ) for the 19 months from January 2014 through July 2015:

Payroll Jobs, Thousands:
[font face = "courier new"]the NOT-seasonally adjusted numbers
` ` ` Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: -2811 741 957 1163 920 594 -1050 391 687 1081 478 6
2015: -2813 848 779 1139 928 474 -1045

the Seasonally adjusted numbers
` ` ` Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: 166 188 225 330 236 286 249 213 250 221 423 329
2015: 201 266 119 187 260 231 215 [/font]

Of course, most people would see through such an obvious stunt like comparing raw job counts in December and January, so a RW polemicist would rarely try this particular stunt. But I've seen it done for July (a fall off after the hiring of June graduates that most people don't think about). Later: someone at DU actually tried to play this trick in January 2016, sigh.

And they certainly do similarly with other data series where seasonal changes are less understood.

(3). Cleverly mixing statistics from the household survey (CPS) and the establishment survey (CES) (without making that clear of course). The CPS survey of households ( http://www.bls.gov/cps/ ) produces the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, the number employed, and innumerable other statistics. The CES ( http://www.bls.gov/ces/ ), a completely separate survey of businesses, produces a number of statistics, most notably the headline payroll employment numbers (widely regarded as a better indicator of job changes than the CPS's Employed number because of the larger sample size among other reasons). Because of statistical noise and volatility, these 2 surveys often come up with seemingly incompatible results. Needless to say, right-wing polemicists mix and match statistics from both surveys to produce nonsense.

(4).Cherry-picking the start and end points of some data series
This is a generalization of item (1.) except that instead of highlighting the latest month of an adverse statistic, they may pick another starting point that is an outlier. For example in October 2013, someone mentioned that the latest U-6 unemployment measure is no better than it was in March 2013, 7 months ealier. True, but March was at a noisy zag low; its clear to see from the graph that there is a downward trend, not a 7-month plateau. U-6: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709

Here are the 2013 values (the 2012 values are all above 14.4% BTW, it was 15.1% in January 2012)
[font face = "courier new"]
Jan Feb. March Apr. May. June July Aug. Sept Oct.
14.4 14.3 13.8 13.9 13.8 14.2 13.9 13.6 13.6 13.7 (2013, U-6 in percent)
. . . . . . ^-March: the cherry-picked low starting point the RW'er chose[/font]

(The U-6 unemployment rate (sometimes dubbed the underemployment rate) is now (January 2020) 6.9% by the way, down 1.1 percentage points in the last 12 months (and down 2.3 percentage points in the last 36 months). It is the broadest measure of unemployment that the BLS produces -- it includes part-time workers wanting full-time positions. It also counts as unemployed any jobless person who wants a job and has looked for work at any time in the past 12 months (whereas the headline U-3 unemployment rate counts those who have looked any time in just the last 4 weeks).

It's like global warming when the righties always pick 1998 -- an anomalously hot year because of a strong El Nino -- as their starting point to argue that there has been very little warming since.

That is why seeing the whole data series is so important, and not just accepting the time period and the statistic that a right-wing polemicist dishes out. However, finding the data series number is often quite a challenge, and something that in my experience involves a large bag of tricks. It is my intent to write more about how to find the data series you need. But for now, if there is one trick to mention, this one is the most helpful: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=ln

(5). Comparing the current statistics to 2007's statistics, as if 2007 was a normal economy we should get back to - I see this all the time. Yes, today's economic statistics just about across the board suck compared to 2007's. But keep in mind that 2007 was not a normal economy. It was a very sick bubble economy with a very high fever -- people using their houses as ATMs to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Anybody could get a mortgage, virtually no questions asked. The belief that housing prices never go down, at least not on a national average scale (thus the theory that a geographically diversified bundle of mortgages was always a safe bet).

The same for comparisons to 2000 -- that too was a very sick economy -- astronomical price/earnings ratios in the stock market, day trading and momentum investing. The belief that Alan Greenspan had mastered the "Goldilocks" economy (not too cool, not too warm) and that, now that we understood how to use the Fed's powers to control the economy, we will never have a recession again. That tech companies with huge negative earnings and no business plan were great investments. That we were all going to the moon, and we were all going to the stars (speaking of the economy and the stock market).

Well, I'm extremely very sorry to have to tell you -- we don't want to get back to the very sick high-fever bubble economies of 2000 or 2007. So quit the whining about how things now are so much worse than back then -- no they aren't when you consider the sickness and unsustainability of those economies back then.

(6). Talking about inflation-adjusted numbers as if they were not, e.g. "wages have been flat (or dropped) for the last 20 (or whatever) years while we all know that prices just keep going up" -- leaving off the word "real" or "inflation-adjusted" qualifier on wages (which takes into account rising prices).

Nominal wages, i.e. raw wage numbers unadjusted for inflation have definitely been rising for years and decades, whereas real wages (meaning adjusted for inflation) have indeed been roughly flat. For example:

(nominal, i.e not inflation adjusted) Average Hourly Earnings Of Production And Nonsupervisory Employees, total private, seasonally adjusted: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000008

(real, i.e. inflation adjusted) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000032 -- to get the long view, set the time period's beginning point from the default value a decade ago to 1964 - the earliest one can set it. The pull-down boxes for setting the time period is near the top, where it sets "Change Output Options". Be sure to check the "include graphs" checkbox, and then click the little dark blue "go" button

(7). Using government statistics and trickery (see above techniques) to make some point, and when you call them on the trickery, and give them the correct information, they tell you they don't trust government statistics! In other words, they are fine with government statistics (or studies that are derived from government statistics, which they all are) if they can twist them to fit their viewpoint, otherwise, they don't trust them!

As for postings by DU members, always check the source of the article they posted, for example one perhaps unintentionally posted a bunch of crap from a right-wing polemicist (Peter Morici) http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251259885#post3 (that's post #3 -- interestingly the poster was PPR'd about 4 months later). Note that sometimes the publication might be an OK mainstream source, but you should still check out the author.

SEE ALSO THE "MYTH:" SECTIONS IN THE PAGES BELOW. For example, the EF-2 page has a lot of myths about the job numbers, such as the myth that they don't count the jobless people that have exhausted their jobless insurance benefits in the unemployment numbers. Just search on the following and include the colon:


Here is a listing of Myth topics as of 1/25/2019

# Myth: "those who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits are not counted as unemployed. If they were counted, the official unemployment rate would be much higher" (you often hear this claim from the RepubliCONS when a Democratic president is in the White House, and vice versa when a RepubliCON is in the White House).

# Myth: "But the real unemployment rate is 15% (or 24% or whatever) and it keeps going up":

# Myth: There are 94 million involuntarily unemployed, so the real unemployment rate is about 40%

# Myth: In 1994, during the Clinton administration, they stopped counting the long-term unemployed, or the "long term discouraged worker". If we calculated the unemployment rate now the way we did before 1994, the unemployment rate would be double, triple (or whatever. One claimed that the unemployment rate in January 2015 calculated by the old method would be 23% instead of the officially reported 5.7%).

# Myth: most jobs created during the "so-called recovery" are part-time, especially after Obamacare became law

# Myth: "Those payroll job creation numbers the corporate media reports are just that: jobs created. They don't mention all of the jobs that were lost. To get the true picture, they should report the NET jobs created: jobs created less jobs lost"

# Myth: "The unemployment rate is low because so many people are working two or more jobs, and working 60,70,80 hours a week "

# Myth: "The ADP jobs numbers are much more reliable than the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers because the ADP are actual payroll numbers, whereas the BLS numbers are 'just a survey'"

# Myth: "There was a big 225,000 increase in nonfarm payroll jobs, and yet the unemployment rate went up. This proves they are cooking the books, and the corporate media is playing along with their game"

END of "Beware the tricks" lecture

General notes from previous deleted job summaries - to be reorganized and refiled

I'm working on the wages things brought up in earlier DU posts -- for now, See: Real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) average weekly earnings, all employees (total private), 1982-1984 dollars, Seas Adj: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000012
And of production and non-supervisory workers: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031

Note on statistical noise: As an example: non-farm employment increased by 113,000 in January 2014 in the establishment survey. But according to the household survey, employment that month increased by 638,000. Just goes to show how wild the statistical noise is, and not to get excited one way or another with any one month's particular numbers.

On statistical noise, I found this BLS technical note on sampling error -- http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.tn.htm . Based on what it says, there is a 90% probability that the Establishment Survey's non-farm employment increase is within +/- 120,000 of the stated number. And a 10% chance that it is off by more than 120,000. Again, this is just the sampling error. There are other errors besides sampling error.

Correspondingly, again based on sampling error alone, there is a 50% chance that it is within +/- 49,200. So for example for a reported job gain of 200,000, there is a 50% chance that it is between 150,800 and 249,200, and a 50% chance that it is outside that range based on sampling error alone. Note there are errors other than sampling error that add to the uncertainty {1}

And in the Household Survey, there is a 90% chance that the monthly unemployment change is +/- 300,000 of the stated number (note this is 2.5 times the Establishment Survey's nonfarm employment's sampling error). Also, that there is a 90% chance that the unemployment rate is about +/- 0.2% of the stated number.

The above only covers sampling error. There are also many other sources of error (search the above link for "non-sampling error" )

The individual components that go into these numbers have an even larger sampling error. As explained above, right-wingers love to find the aberrant statistic or two of the month and make it out to be the story of the Obama administration, rather than what it really is -- just one month's number in a very statistically volatile data series.

{1} 90% of the area under the normal curve is between +/- 1.645 standard deviations. 50% of the area under the normal curve is between +/- 0.675 standard deviations. Thus if there is a 90% chance that it is within +/- 120,000, then there is a 50% chance that it is within +/- 49,200 (0.675/1.645 * 120,000 = 49,240 , then round to 49,200 ).
September 17, 2012

Romney justifies virtually no job growth at his 3 1/2 year point in Mass.

Probably your crazy uncle is telling you that he's tired of hearing "Oblamer" blame Bush for the poor state of the economy and essentially zero job growth since he took office (since January 31, 2009 thru August 31, 2012, under Obama 261,000 jobs have been lost, although he is in positive territory in private sector jobs).

Your crazy uncle also pooh poohs you when you tell him that in the last 30 months, under Obama 4.6 million private sector jobs and 4.1 million total jobs (actually civilian non-farm payroll jobs), have been created, telling you that you are cherry-picking Obama's best months blah dee blah.

# Payroll Jobs: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001
# Private Sector Payroll Employment: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001

Well, Romney in his June 24, 2006 press conference (nearly 3 1/2 years into his governorship of Massachusetts), blamed the economy he inherited for his woeful job record over his entire term, and touted the 50,000 jobs created since the turnaround. Exactly the sort of argument that the righties are criticizing us for making regarding Obama.

Transcript and press-conference video (1:50): http://www.youtube{DOT}com/watch?v=ArRj-dQXX3Y
(replace the {DOT} with . in the above URL. I don't know why it is fighting with me)

TRANSCRIPT:[font color = blue]"You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And then we turned around and we're coming back and that's progress. And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month. We've turned around and since the turnaround we've added 50,000 jobs. That's progress. And there will be some people who try and say, 'well Governor, net-net, you've only added a few thousand jobs since you've been in.' Yeah but I helped stop, I didn't do it alone, the economy is a big part of that, the private sector's what drives that -- up and down -- But we were in free fall for three years. And the last year that I happened to be here, and then we turned it around, as a state, private sector, government sector, turned it around. And now we're adding jobs. We wanna keep that going, to the extent we can. We're the, you know, we're one part of that equation, but not the whole equation. A lot of it is outside of our control, it's federal, it's international, it's private sector. But I'm very pleased that over the last a 2, 2 and a half, years we've seen pretty consistent job growth. 50,000 new jobs created, some great companies, we just had, last week, Samsonite announced their headquarters moving here. Companies outside Massachusetts moving in to Massachusetts. That kind of commitment, that kind of decision, says something about what they feel about the future of our state."[/font]

Well, then I wondered, is 50,000 jobs so great for a state the size of Massachusetts? Using July 2011 data, Massachusett's share of the USA population is 6.587 Million / 311.6 Million = 2.1139%. (It would have been better to dig up population numbers more around the 2003-2006 time frame but I doubt that the percentage would be more than slightly different). So on a per-capita basis, 50,000 jobs in Massachusetts is equivalent to 50,000 / 2.1139% = 2.366 Million nationwide jobs.

I'm assuming since the press conference was held in June 24, 2006, that the 50,000 jobs is through the end of May 2006 since they wouldn't have end-of-June numbers in yet.

Well, Obama in a similar point of his presidency -- the end of May 2012, had presided over the creation of 3.744 Million jobs.

So on a per-capita basis since their respective job turnaround points, Obama's job creation record is 3.744 / 2.366 = 1.58 X better (58% better) than Romney's.

And since Romney is "very pleased" with his job creation record in Massachusetts since the turnaround, he should be 1.58 times "very pleased" with Obama's record.

(Note that since Obama took office January 20 (2009) and Romney took office January 2 (2003), I could have moved Obama forward by a month to the end of June. If so, Obama's job creation record through the end of June 2012 is 3.819 Million jobs, and his per-capita record is 3.819 / 2.366 = 1.61 X better (61% better). But I'll settle for the end of May figures. )

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