Will Someone Please Explain This to Me?

6 Oct

I am just stunned.

I am NOT big on conspiracy theories (in fact, I’m mostly downright skeptical of them), but I AM big on number reconciliation and reasonability, and I am INTRIGUED by “coincidences”.

So – will someone please explain to me the following:

Unemployment rate pretty much steady all year at 8.1 – 8.3%

Unemployment rate for August — 8.1%

Projected jobs added for September – 113,000

Projected unemployment rate for Sept – 8.2% (an increase of .1 percentage point, or a 1.2% increase of the rate itself)

Actual jobs added for Sept – 114,000 (pretty much right on projection)

Actual unemployment rate for Sept – 7.8% (a decline of .3 percentage points, or an actual decline in the rate of 3.7% — and 4.9% below the projection)

And this, for the last official jobs and unemployment report before the election.



I did see some BLS stats that said TOTAL employment went up by 873,000 in September, and that the employment-population ratio increased by .4 percentage points.

WHY?  Where are all these results coming from???

Did unemployment benefits come to an end for 759,000 people, and they finally HAD to go back to work?  [873,000 more employed – 114,000 new jobs]

Or — Did legions of people suddenly drop out of the work force, thus reducing the unemployment rate?

Or – Did the government hire 759,000 more people in Sept?

Or – And it kills me to think this – were more people encouraged to say they were working – people who otherwise would have said “no, but I am looking”?

Or – What?  Am I over-complicating what is really a simple reconciliation?




4 Responses to “Will Someone Please Explain This to Me?”

  1. Anonymous October 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I am sure you know that there is no actual count of the unemployed. It’s a survey. There is just as much freedom to fudge in this survey as there is in any poll. And I am told that several high level folks in the BLS are avid Obama supporters. So go figure.

    I posted the quote below on facebook.

    “So, you think they actually count the folks not working to come up with the unemployment rate? Wrong! It’s a !@@## government survey. Here’how they do it. “Because unemployment insurance records relate only to persons who have applied for such benefits, and since it is impractical to actually count every unemployed person each month, the Government conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country. The CPS has been conducted in the United States every month since 1940, when it began as a Work Projects Administration project. It has been expanded and modified several times since then. For instance, beginning in 1994, the CPS estimates reflect the results of a major redesign of the survey. (For more information on the CPS redesign, see Chapter 1, “Labor Force Data Derived from the Current Population Survey,”

    You can get more here. “Where do the statistics come from? – How the Government Measures Unemployment”


    • illero October 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      But — Can we even imagine anyone being so bold as to purposely misrepresent these numbers in such a significant way? If found out, this would be one of the biggest scandals in the history of the American election process.

      • Joseph Edward Wages October 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

        You don’t need to misrepresent the “numbers” just the sample.

      • illero October 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

        True enough — either way. Still, if it was ever found out — what a scandal! Makes you kinda wish for it, huh?

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