The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their Employment Situation Report for April and there was no good news in it – at all.
The report pushed to the headline the usual artfully constructed numbers – last months job creation and the unemployment rate.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
That’s great news right? I mean, in March we only created 126,000 jobs and 223 is bigger than 126! Not so fast.
Digging deeper, it’s clear that Americans are not finding jobs and that we’re getting smoke blown up our butts.
The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 241,000 to 2.7 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little at 2.5 million, accounting for 29.0 percent of the unemployed.
The number of people unable to find a job in the short term increased by a quarter-of-a-million and the number of longer-term jobless stayed the same. Not sure where the good news is in those two numbers.
Some other quotes from the report indicate that things really aren’t getting better, which means they are still awful unless you’re a politician or already wealthy (isn’t that the same thing?) Ok, I digress here are the low points:
In April, the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) changed little. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.6 million in April
In April, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed over the year
Among the marginally attached, there were 756,000 discouraged workers in April, little different from a year earlier.
How does an employment situation – that has changed little in the last year – get reported as good? The job market sucked a year ago. Now the report says it hasn’t changed – ergo – the job market still sucks!
The downward revisions of the previous month’s report is where the real bad news shows up.
the change for March was revised from +126,000 to +85,000 ... Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 191,000 per month.
March had already come in with some of the weakest numbers in awhile, now they’ve been revised down heavily. A 32% downward revision is nothing to sneeze at and may indicate that we are in for an equally-terrible adjustment for the numbers we got today.
If the same revision is applied to April’s figures, the new job creation number for last month would be 151,000 jobs created – and that would be waaayy under the 191,000 the BLS portrays as the average from the preceding 3 month period. Then again, they could always just seasonally adjust in some magical, otherwise non-existent, new jobs in the next report – because they’re from the government and they’re here to help.