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John Wiliams, ShadowStats and Jobs for Jan 2015
Comment has been made on duffminster's Times to the effect that job statistics do not add up. Employment gains are listed on a monthly basis and "New Applications for Unemployment compensation" are reported on a weekly basis. It is a mismatch to report that 186.000 new jobs were created last month but the last four weekly reports average about 280,000 to 300,000 and the headlines blast the news that the job situation is "firming up".
There may be a gradual increase in job openings and they may be filled but the raw numbers as presented are not encouraging. Just who the Bureau of Labor Statistics is trying to deceive is difficult to tell. I know the personnel at the White House includes accountants and they are presumed to understand arithmetic if not statistics. Some lawyers do have trouble with numbers, O&G can attest to that from experience.
However, John Williams of "shadowstats.com" has been tracking Federal numbers for years and he goes well beyond the point of providing reliable numbers, he explains the Governments switching between standards and modifications of statistical models so frequently, that only a persistent and dedicated tracker can understand when and how they switch methods or modify numbers to satisfy one government party or another.
The big announcement on his home page at this time is
That is located at this site -
But, as startling as those figures are, O&G finds John Williams explanation of BLS presentation of stats even more interesting. The process used is labeled ARIMA. Acronym or not, the process is quite involved and has a shifting mode to it which satisfies one purpose or another, but in the end contributes nothing but confusion to the reading public, which may be the underlying purpose from the start. The justification for the use is the storied "seasonally adjusted" tag which often accompanies job statistics but is never explained to my understanding.
The stats are adjusted on a three month basis but the actual period subject to adjustment is the five years past. If figures come in higher or lower consistently over that longer period the actual variation could well be greater than if the variation is simply reported from raw numbers reported for the past three months. Mr.Williams provides interactive charts to demonstrate a consistent difference between the reported BLS figures and the stats developed by a conscientious statistician abiding by the method as intended. That plus adding in those who are no longer eligible for unemployment compensation but are still without a job permits him to offer his figures in good conscience to peg the unemployment rate at a blistering 23.2% for the moth of January, 2015.
He follows these ins and outs carefully and presents figures to supplement or correct those offered for "feel-good" reasons. (O&G can think of no other reason why the government should misrepresent actual conditions but to assure the citizens that their tax dollars are at work and doing a GOOD! job!)
It may be an eye opener to look at some of his charts on employment or money matters if they are still available. The Fed no longer provides figures for the M-3 category of money. That practice was suspended in 2006. However, Mr. Williams and one some-time-contributor-to-these-pages - biMet - are two of those who feel the data is important and continue to track these numbers.
It may be a wake-up call to take a quick look at his site. Most of it is restricted to subscribers but there is enough accessible to show the fine and absolutely necessary work Williams does. O&G has been following him for years and has commented on what's current almost every time he visits.
This is one of those times. 23.2% unemployed certainly qualifies our current crisis as a depression which prods politicians never to fail to whistle bravely while passing by the ShadowStats site.