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Labor Depít: On second thought, looks like we might have that jobs report ready on Friday after all
Hot Air ^ | 10/30/12

Posted on 10/30/2012 6:25:10 PM PDT by markomalley

Sandy did hit D.C. but only with a glancing blow, so the prospect of BLS statisticians being stranded at home in the suburbs has faded along with the storm. Even if they were getting hammered, though, if you worked for BLS, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to make sure this report came out according to its regular schedule? If they delayed what turned out to be a bad report and Obama won the election in the interim, they’d have half the country suspicious of their motives unto eternity. As would also be the case, needless to say, if the incumbent were a Republican and staring down the barrel of a jobless rate stuck near eight percent.

Crisis (probably) averted:

A Labor Department official tells CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss there should be no delay in the release of the monthly employment report. It’s expected to be released this Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET…

There had been some speculation the report would be delayed as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Preparation for the jobs report typically ramps up in the week of the release. The federal government was closed Monday and Tuesday due to the storm.

On Monday the Labor Department had issued a statement saying, “It is our intention that Friday will be business as usual regarding the October Employment Situation report.”

ABC and Bloomberg were hearing the same thing earlier this afternoon, with former Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee telling the latter that he expected BLS would crunch the numbers at their satellite offices outside D.C. if need be rather than delay the report. Bloomberg makes a fair point in arguing separately that it’s silly for people to put so much stock in a measurement that tells us so little about what’s really going on in the economy (a point HA readers understand only too well), but there are lots of silly things that affect people’s votes and most of them are far sillier than this. Rest assured, The One was careful to affect his most serious “serious face” while being briefed on Sandy for the benefit of the White House photographer snapping pictures in the Situation Room. Looking “presidential” in a crisis can tip votes, and that’s how you look presidential. Little late in the game now to be grumbling about the merits of the BLS numbers.

Mickey Kaus makes a fair point too. If this was all a matter of the White House and the BLS playing with the numbers to help O out, there’s obviously something more potent they could (but won’t) do than simply shelving the final jobs report:

I’m assuming the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the October employment statistics on schedule. The paranoia that would accompany a delay (this close to the election) would be too destructive, even if the delay was justifiable. But if the Obama administration were really playing politics with the numbers in the way the paranoids fear, do you think it would merely delay the release of the numbers? Not cunning enough!

The obvious Machiavellian four-step would be 1) delay the release of the numbers 2) wait for the Romney camp to get caught up in the paranoia and publicly demand that the administration release the numbers 3) at the moment of maximum dramatic tension, release the numbers! 4) Have the numbers be unexpectedly good. … There is precedent for this maneuver. …

Exit question: How far would the current rate of 7.8 percent have to move on Friday to really impact the election? My sense of low-information voters is that they’re almost entirely tuned out to the actual numbers, and may even be tuned out to good/bad trends in the numbers unless the trend is sharp enough to lend an air of celebration or dread, as the case may be, to news stories about it. That’s what they’re reacting to I think — the tone of the coverage as a portent of how the economy more broadly is doing, not the actual facts being reported about the data. My question is, what sort of movement in Friday’s would cause the media to celebrate/despair? A one-tenth percent drop or increase? Two-tenths? And yes, it’s perfectly fine to wonder if the bar for grim reports has risen now that we’re on the eve of an election.


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To: null and void

The survey is done every month during the week in which the 12th of the month falls. That’s when the numbers are collected, so the actual reporting period was three weeks ago. The rest of the time is spent in compiling and adjusting for seasonal and other factors.

No state can blame Sandy for reporting late.


21 posted on 10/31/2012 6:56:31 AM PDT by green iguana
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To: green iguana
You're bringing facts to the argument???

(Seriously, thanks, good point!)

22 posted on 10/31/2012 8:44:08 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1380 of the Obama Regime - Barack Hussein Obama an enemy BOTH foreign AND domestic)
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To: Kozak
If Romney wins the unemployment rate will be 20% Jan 22 ......

It is now:


23 posted on 10/31/2012 8:47:43 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1380 of the Obama Regime - Barack Hussein Obama an enemy BOTH foreign AND domestic)
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To: markomalley
New Fiction Alert ©
24 posted on 10/31/2012 8:50:25 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: green iguana
The rest of the time is spent in compiling and adjusting for seasonal and other factors.

Something someone in private industry would do in an afternoon with a spreadsheet.

It's what? Maybe a dozen data points from each of all 57 states*, plus a calender date, and maybe half a dozen "other factors"

* 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Samoa, Northern Marianas, Gitmo...

25 posted on 10/31/2012 9:28:28 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1380 of the Obama Regime - Barack Hussein Obama an enemy BOTH foreign AND domestic)
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To: null and void

Oh I know, but as of Jan 22 it will reported.
The press also discover the homeless and hungry they have “lost” for 4 years....


26 posted on 10/31/2012 10:13:02 AM PDT by Kozak (The means of defence again.t foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home JM)
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To: null and void

It’s a little bit more complicated than that. There are actually two labor surveys done each month - the corporate survey that the BLS does, and the household survey done by the private payroll processor ADP. So BLS is using data from two different surveys - the employee side (ADP’s) and the employer side (their’s). ADP surveys about 60,000 households, and BLS surveys around 140,000 companies and government agencies.

The ADP survey comes out a day or two earlier than the BLS survey, but the BLS uses the ADP numbers to determine the unemployment rate, since only the workers (employed or not) can say whether they are employed or not, and if not, whether they are looking for work or not (i.e, in the labor force or not).

Regardless, ADP does their survey during the week that has the 12th of the month in it, so the numbers are in. They just need to be crunched. Which, I most certainly agree with you, a private company could do quicker and likely more accurately.

BTW - I want to visit that Gitmo state. Supposed to be some nice beaches there...


27 posted on 10/31/2012 10:22:22 AM PDT by green iguana
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To: Kozak
Ah yes, Remember the LA Times attempt to gloss over omaba's sudden spike in unemployment in Jun '09?

They called us "FUNemployed"!

They seriously thought their readers would buy it!

28 posted on 10/31/2012 10:36:26 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1380 of the Obama Regime - Barack Hussein Obama an enemy BOTH foreign AND domestic)
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