It looks like the Labor Department may have missed 350,000 new jobs – no less – in its disappointing job numbers report from Friday.
Time: (Thanks to all those who sent me the story. You rock).
In reality, the retail sector added just over 300,000 new hires in the month of November. But the Labor Department didn’t count those hires. That’s because the Labor Department’s final number of employment is seasonally adjusted. And since the retail sector disproportionately adds more workers this time of the year than the other 10 months, the Labor Department adjusts down the sector’s employment numbers in November and December. So retail employment gets over counted in January and February when hiring is slow, and undercounted in November and December. The reason is to smooth the numbers, but it also distorts, particularly at times like these when the economy is hopefully at an inflection point. The result: In the Labor Department’s final count, 350,000 retail jobs got excluded.