Official government data
are manipulated. Credibility's entirely lacking. Reported good news
is hype. Grim underlying reality is suppressed.
The monthly Labor Department jobs report is typical. Progressive Radio
News Hour regular economist Jack Rasmus calls the latest January one
"largely statistical legerdemain."
A reported 243,000 nonfarm jobs reported lacked credibility. Manipulation
manufactured them. Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) admits:
"The confidence level for the monthly change in total employment is
on the order of plus or minus 430,000 jobs."
With that level of accuracy why bother reporting at all. Monthly numbers
are meaningless. January's reflect the problem.
Rasmus said those allegedly created aren't actual jobs. "They represent
seasonal adjustments made to the raw data...." January numbers, in fact,
reflect "an anomalous massive upward revision of the raw jobs data,
due to assumptions about seasonality and (alleged) new business formations."
Comparing actual versus seasonally adjusted figures shows marked differences.
Data reported for December 2011 and January 2012 revealed "an incredible
7 to 10-fold increase in the difference between" seasonably and non-seasonally
For January, raw data showed large job losses, not gains. Included were
"about 300,000 construction jobs, another 600,000" retail ones, and
"400,000 in business professional services as most businesses trim their
labor force at the start of the year to keep costs down." In addition,
hundreds of thousands more were lost for a 2.7 million total overall.
Reporting 243,000 new jobs denies reality. In fact, it's worse. It's
Obama administration propaganda to make unemployed workers think their
troubled status doesnít reflect falsified improving conditions.
It's an election year stunt, an official lie, turning reality on its
head for votes at a time America's experiencing a Main Street Depression
affecting jobs. It replicates the 1930s. True unemployment's at 22.5%,
not the fake 8.3% U-3 number reported to hide the dark truth.
Headline numbers exclude discouraged workers. They want jobs but gave
up looking after futile months trying. Moreover, no distinction is made
between full-time employees and others forced into low pay, low or no
benefit menial part-time/temp ones.
Statistically, a job is a job is a job no matter how poor or few monthly
hours worked. Of course, this type reporting denigrates those unable
to make ends meet in hard times. According to Census data, they represent
half of US households defined as impoverished or bordering on it. That
reality should shock everyone and force responsible officials to act.
Labor Department manipulation increased egregiously in the 1990s. For
example, the so-called "birth-death model" estimates net non-reported
jobs from new businesses minus losses from others no longer operating.
During expansions, the model works because start-ups exceed shutdowns.
It doesn't in recessions. Yet BLS assumes workers from non-operating
companies are still employed. In addition, it adds another 30 - 48,000
jobs monthly whether or not net new companies exist. Assuming they do
when they don't is fraud.
It shows up in monthly BLS reports. They deliberately conceal reality
in hard times. Its rarely mentioned U-6 figure tops 15%. It includes
"marginally attached workers: people wanting jobs but not actively looking
in the past 30 days, but have looked unsuccessfully in the past year."
It also includes discouraged workers who stopped looking in frustration
within, but not exceeding, the past 12 months, as well as others looking
for full-time work but forced to take part-time or temp jobs they'd
otherwise avoid. Uncounted long-term discouraged workers (those giving
up after 366 days) put real unemployment at 22.5%.
America's deepening housing depression exacerbates today's jobs crisis.
Yet political Washington reports improvement. In fact, conditions are
deteriorating, not strengthening. Official data lie. Moreover, promised
fixes are fake.
Housing's extremely important. Homes are the average US household's
largest asset. Economic recovery's unlikely during a housing downturn.
During a depression, it's impossible. During the greatest housing crisis
since the 1930s assures protracted hard times for most people.
Home valuations are declining. Housing starts are low. New home sales
are at record lows. Inventories of unsold properties remain high. So
are monthly foreclosures increasing them.
A shocking 6.17 million families are underwater or facing foreclosure.
Instead of relief, policy measures include open-ended bailouts, unprecedented
money printing, zero percent interest rates taxing savers, manufacturing
phantom jobs, and doing virtually nothing to create real ones.
As a result, around 25 million Americans are unemployed. Most with jobs
have poor ones. Poverty's at record levels. So is human need. Instead
of addressing crisis conditions, Obama lied about the January BLS report,
"The economy is growing stronger and the recovery is speeding up."
In fact, it's experiencing the hardest times since the Great Depression
with no proposed policy measures to address it. Instead, austerity's
planned when suffering millions need help, starting with decent jobs
and living wages.
They're not around or being created. Just phantom BLS ones, creating
an illusion of improvement during harder than ever hard times for growing
millions. That's today's troubled reality.
A Final Comment
True to form, a February 3 New York Times report hailed the January
jobs report headlined, "Job Gains Reflect Hope a Recovery Is Blooming,"
"The front wheels have lifted off the runway. Now, Americans are waiting
to see if the economy can truly get aloft." The January data suggest
"the recovery seems finally to be reaching American workers," despite
phantom jobs denying reality.
Saying it, of course, would be spoil-sport. However, itís not only true,
it reveals the grim reality of job losses, not gains.
On February 9, Pew Research published a report titled, "Coming of Age,
Slowly, in a Tough Economy," saying:
Young adults, aged 18 - 24, face harder than ever times finding jobs
since WW II. As a result, their lives and futures are affected. Since
2010, only 54% of youths are employed. It's the lowest figure since
data collection began in 1948 and a sharp drop from 62% in 2007.
Moreover, the employment gap between youths and working-age adults is
the widest in recorded history at 15%. Since 2007, young adults with
full-time jobs saw wages drop 6%. In addition, over 80% of those surveyed
believe finding a job today is harder for young people than conditions
their parents faced. They also expressed concerns about being ill-prepared
for jobs they want for lack of education, training, or other preparation.
As a result, nearly a third went back to school. Another 25% took unpaid
work or moved back with parents. One in five delayed marriage plans
and child rearing. Whether or not they know it, protracted hard times
for years to come will gravely impact their futures.
That's indeed today's grim reality. Major media scoundrels suppress
it in deceptive reports about improving conditions that donít exist.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy