The Potemkin Employment Increase

This is just another installment in the decline of American economic reporting into cargo cult economics and the aid and assistance that the media is giving the administration in building a narrative of progress despite near universal evidence of economic stagnation if not outright collapse.


Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released an “adjustment” which revised employment data showing the Obama regime has — surprisingly — added 386,000 more jobs than previously estimated. The first question is why this “adjustment” was released this month when in the past it was corrected in March. That, of course, is a rhetorical question.

The reason and timing are obvious. Our economy is in the tank by all objective measures and the regime desperately needs a data point that says things are going just swimmingly. The extra, miraculous, 386,000 jobs allows the regime to say that when they took power in January 2009 employment stood at about 133.6 million now employment, with the “adjustment” is about 133.7 million. This means they aren’t the first presidency in modern history to actually lose jobs over a four year period.

However, that claim would be false.

As my colleague Franis Cianfrocca pointed out in an email, this has even been noted a the left leaning site Naked Capitalism (I like using left leaning sites to critique this bunch of mooks and goons in the White House):

It’s a good story as far as it goes, but that isn’t very far. Indeed it is so incomplete as to be meaningless. Obama came to office halfway down the cliff of job losses. Between January 2008 (with jobs peaking at 138.023 million) and January 2009 (133.561 million) when Obama assumed office, the economy lost 4.462 million jobs. When Obama assumed the Presidency, he did not just take on the responsibility for those job losses which occurred on his watch but all of them. As I said at the start, recessions do not wait on the convenience of Presidents. Neither do Presidents get to pick and choose which parts of a recession they wish to own. Obama’s story touches none of the 2008 job losses.

A common problem with all these stories that start at point X and eventually after much wandering return us back to it is that all the time this journey is taking place, our population is growing. Jobs are covered in the Establishment survey, but we can use data from the Household survey (people) to estimate how many jobs are needed to keep up with population growth in the working age labor population (also known as the non-institutional population over 16). From January 2008 to August 2012, the last month for which we have data, the non-institutional population over 16 increased by 10.950 million. Multiplying this by the average of the employment-population ratio over this period (59.4) gives us our estimate of jobs needed to keep up with population growth: 6.504 million.

Add the uncounted 2008 part of the cliff and jobs needed just for population growth and credit Obama with his net 125,000 jobs and you arrive at a jobs deficit from January 2008 through August 2012 of 10.837 million. [my emphasis] This is the size of the story that the BLS announcement doesn’t tell.


As the election comes closer we are going to read ever more hysterical claims from the regime and it’s minions in the press about the totally slammin’ economic results achieved and how Obama saved the country from the evil Bush. Don’t believe them. They are lying through there teeth. We are on the cusp of disaster and November will decide how this plays out.


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