Are you a jobs truther? Not buying the timely drop in the unemployment rate which benefits the incumbent? No matter, you’ll not find any smoking gun to support you. Not when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps its polling results internal. Actually, it’s the Census Bureau that conducts the Current Population Survey, otherwise known as the Household Survey, for the BLS. The BLS is constantly revising its methodology which makes comparing statistics between even just a few years unreliable at best. The Household Survey is a survey of 60,000 households which is only about .05% of the approximately 120 million U.S. households. When one considers what is riding on these results such as the election of a President and possibly changing the course of the country, that seems to be asking a bit much of a few questions on a telephone survey of such a small sample of households.
What the BLS has done is make itself irrelevant as far as an indicator of economic activity. When they revise their methodology, they don’t go backward so any attempt at comparables is futile. I always find it interesting that we focus on the unemployment rate. If I were a politician, I think I would make the focus on the employment rate. For September, President Obama could claim that we had an employment rate of 92.2%! Doesn’t that sound much more positive? Over 90% of the potential workforce population is working. Just imagine some other areas in which +90% would be considered spectacular.
Here in Detroit, we just witnessed the best player in baseball, Miguel Cabrera, win the triple crown. He won with a .330 batting average meaning he made an out 67% of the time he stepped to the plate. And that was the best in the league! Imagine his joy if he could claim a .922 average. Oh, and his future paychecks.
The National Science Foundation has a project called “The Tree of Life” which is to identify all of the different living species on earth. So far, they have identified around 2 million. Unfortunately, that’s only about 10% of how many are estimated to exist.
Scientists now estimate there could be as many as 300 sextillion stars in the universe. That’s 23 zeros. 3 trillion times 100 billion. Seems we’ve only identified about 1 billion so far, we’re a little behind the 8 ball here.
More relevant to the upcoming election, just over 130 million people voted in the 2008 election. That’s about 64% of the electorate, higher than normal. Just imagine the pandering the candidates could do to try to attract another +28% of voters?
If you must use the BLS as a source, then I would keep it simple. Just compare what matters most, the number of people employed. January of 2009 – 142.099 million were employed. September of 2012 – 142.974 million were employed. That’s only 875,000 more jobs after nearly 4 years under President Obama. His latest claim is 5 million jobs created in just 30 months. Even CNN, of all places, says it’s a false claim and even worse with just 125,000 net jobs created.
Did the Obama administration find a way to manipulate the numbers at the BLS? Doesn’t really matter, the BLS has no credibility to begin with.