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Friday, October 3, 2014

Little Tommy Tucker Sings for his Supper

Replying to a Rant about Phony Part-Time Holiday Jobs: 

It's unfortunate that so many people commenting about jobs numbers know so little about the subject.  They don't know very much about the labor market nor do they understand how these numbers are gathered or calculated.  They desperately want to believe that there is a "conspiracy" behind the jobs numbers or that the government (under that racist (?) Obama) is cooking the books.

No, fools!  There is no book cooking!  Just a complex subject that is going to elude most of the math-challenged low-information voters in this country.  

From Mother Goose's Rhymes 

Here's someone posting as Tommy Tucker to an article at MSN about today's jobs numbers:
this is just the goverment cooking the book's for mid-term elections. I say they end QE3. What they don't say in the report is that most of the job's supposedly created are PART-TIME.. Macy's is going to hire 86k PART-TIME SEASONAL WORKER'S and i bet they will lower the rate again under false pretenses.  
First, I believe that QE3 has just about ended; we will stop all of the bond-buying in the next couple of months.  But let me get to Tommy's major point, about "phony" part-time holiday jobs:

Seasonal adjustments

The jobs numbers reported are SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, which means that the temporary nature of most holiday hiring is accounted for when we hear about job increases.

Sigh.  I know this is a waste of time, but I'll explain a bit anyway.  Even in the worst of times, the retail industry generally hires HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of employees between September and December.  September is usually the low-ebb month in retail numbers in the second half of the year. Even in fall of 2008, retailers added over 300,000 employees.
Now seasonal adjustments mean that we don't "count" additions of hundreds of thousands of jobs in retailing every fall.  700,000 retailer jobs in the fall generally "adjusts" to 10,000 to 50,000 additional jobs over three months. 2008's addition of 330,000 jobs "adjusted" to NEGATIVE 330,000, as the jobs calculation programs EXPECTED 650,000 to 700,000 new retail jobs in the 4th quarter.

The 86,000 Macy's jobs that Tommy is concerned about will adjust (as usual) to about 5 to 10,000 additional jobs, spread over 3 months.  Unless the retail sector as a whole adds more than about 650,000 jobs over 3 months, they may not even count for that much.  Last year 800,000 additional retail workers in the fall "adjusted" to about 120,000 more workers over three months.  

Let me summarize:  The jobs calculations EXPECT at least 650,000 extra retail jobs in the fall.  Unless the actual number of part-time temporary retail jobs falls far above or below this number, the change in the number of retail jobs reported is minimal. 

I really wish I could explain this a bit better so that at least a few people who think as does my friend Tommy Tucker would stop with the goofy "conspiracy" and "cooking the books" silliness.

OK, Tommy Tucker, perhaps with your post you "sang" for a couple of nickels from your Koch Brothers or Republican masters?  If so, you earned your supper.  Now you can eat your white bread with butter.   

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