Strong Job Market A Load Of BLS

Surprise, surprise… “Mortgage Delinquencies Hit Record High in First Quarter” reads a headline on

CNBC’s Steve Liesman (there’s a name you can trust) reports, “Delinquency rates are up in 44 of the 50 states.”

An analyst for Moody’s thinks that we are nowhere near the bottom of this housing free-fall – especially as the subprime and Alt-A loans reset at higher rates this year and next year.

“I think credit conditions are going to weaken considerably more,” he said. “The good news, economy-wide, is that the job market is strong. As long as the job market hangs tough, I think we’ll be okay outside of housing.”

A ‘strong’ job market, eh? Well, it would certainly seem that way, according to the report the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released on Friday. Apparently, the United States created 180K jobs in March – and the jobless rate fell 0.17%.

Chuck Butler, who monitors these reports (which he refers to as the ‘Jobs Jamboree’) very closely, and who generally views the BLS data as a load of…well…BS, had this to say:

“While the 180K jobs created looks good on the outside, you know that I would look further into the numbers to see the devil in the details, right? Of course! First of all, the manufacturing sector took another hit and lost 16K jobs in March. So, where did the 196K jobs come from?

“A simple check of the BLS website tells us that of the 180K so-called jobs created, 128K were added via the birth/death model…what I call ‘ghost jobs.’

“My trusty calculator tells me that 128K is 71% of the total. No wonder the media keeps asking the question, ‘Why isn’t the economy growing when the jobs market seems so tight?’ BECAUSE IT ISN’T! I truly wish someone in the media would get their head out of the ‘feel-good sand’ and talk about this discrepancy!”

Kate Incontrera
for Markets and Money

Kate Incontrera

Kate Incontrera is the managing editor of Markets and Money. She is also the author of Markets and Money's Weekend Edition, a weekly wrap-up of contrarian investment analysis.

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2 Comments on "Strong Job Market A Load Of BLS"

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J. McCullough

Birth/death is raw data; Establishment figures are not. Thus it is impossible to know the contribution of 128k to 180k.

Ghost Jobs are alive and doing just dandy in the State of New South Wales. Public & private. A ‘mature’ job seeker like myself, with 25 years experience in one corporation, sees this every interview I go for. I’m in the interview – 90 of 1200 & 8 of 2000. Not a case of brickbrats. My also experience has been to apply for 7 jobs previously. Three I could do, and didn’t get an interview. Filled by volunteer with years. Four I could floor and heard nothing more. Poo. Filled by local people on the books. Ghost Jobs in Australia… Read more »
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