I realize that this is not the "official" Bureau of Labor Statistics number given out to the press today, which was +84,000 (minus 4,000 government jobs lost for a total of +80,000), but I think it behooves us to take an honest look at how many jobs were ACTUALLY created when not taking into account seasonal adjustment.

Seasonal adjustment is used in order to get a more stable look at where job creation truly stands.  For example, since June is a time when many construction companies and resorts are hiring, that is factored into the overall number which is then adjusted accordingly.

But that can lead to a far more dismal and pessimistic statistic than is perhaps warranted by the raw numbers.

Bonddad blog gives us the non-seasonally adjusted numbers for June:



The June Establishment Survey showed job creation (NSA) of 391,000, which means the seasonal adjustment subtracted 311,000 jobs from the NSA number.  Also of note is that private sector NSA job creation for June was 815,000, while NSA government jobs posted a loss of 424,000 jobs for the month.
Get that?  The number put out by the BLS for private-sector job growth is a mere 10% of the actual jobs created!  So 90% of all the jobs created are simply eliminated from the report.

I'm not saying that the BLS is wrong for doing it the way they do it.  I'm not enough of an economist to make that assertion.  And I get that NOT seasonally adjusting can cause reports in the fall to look worse than they actually are when those summer jobs disappear, just as hiring for Christmas and then laying off people afterwards can skew the December and January figures.

But I do think it necessary to at least provide the whole picture, which the media will clearly never do.

9:26 AM PT: Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

However, I'd like to clarify a few things about my diary.  First, I am not arguing that the seasonal adjustment figures be eliminated.  I acknowledge their importance.  All I'm saying is that why can't the media provide BOTH statistics for a more accurate picture?  Most people when they hear 84,000 private-sector jobs were added literally think that 84,000 jobs have been added, when actually 10 times that number have been. And, yes, that may mean worse numbers at other times of the year.  I get that.

I just think that providing more thorough and thoughtfully analysed information is ultimately a good thing.

Even the Wall Street Journal took issue with this recently, questioning whether or not the seasonal adjustments have been understating the spring and summer job-growth numbers and overstating the fall and winter's.


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