Oh well, let’s forget 350,000 new jobs…

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.


17 thoughts on “Oh well, let’s forget 350,000 new jobs…

  1. I think I read that a couple if days on the OFA blog in the comment section, and that according to the Gallup daily polls the true unemployment at this time is down to 8.8%

  2. I talked with a patient yesterday who is a director of a semiconductor company in CA. Last year sales were $1 billion, this year $3 billion!

    Also, sent link to this blog to my local OFA coordinator who sent it out in a newsletter to all the volunteers. Let’s continue to get the word out on this and related diaries to help us all in our work to support the president!

  3. Well, this means that we won’t have an official number until March of next year, right, that doesn’t have any of these type of fluctuations. I dunno, things FEEL better in my neck of the woods, and I’m finally getting a bit of a pay increase next year.

    But I’m sure that blogger’s just a sellout corporatist or something. Also.

  4. People seemed positive and focused when I was out shopping on Black Friday. I bought two pair of jeans for my teen and I hadn’t done that in years. I simply had no choice because her clothes are so worn out and tattered after years of wear. I think Moms know basic items are breaking down in the family wardrobe. I think the after-Christmas clothing sales will be larger than other years, too.

  5. Watever happened to that supposedly critical question: Are you better off today than you were two years ago? I certainly am, and my brother(in NC), a conservative Republican who voted and worked for Obama said he is too and he’s still happy with Obama. Totally disgusted with the Republicans. We’re both retired, but I sure do see a lot of buying activity here in NJ.

  6. I don’t mind this really, because come January when the 350,000 jobs go away then it would be an attack point.

    What am I saying, they’ll attack on it anyways. I bet all of the networks will be all over the retail job losses in january, even when they didn’t mention when those folks were hired in the first place.

  7. yes, that number was punch in the gut because it seemed so off…way off. And yes, gallup has a different read on November and they still contend that the government’s numbers aren’t telling the whole story:


    “In sharp contrast to the government’s report Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate increased to 9.8% in November from 9.6% in October, unemployment as measured by Gallup declined to 8.8% in November. ”

    “Still, this unadjusted measure may be a better indication of actual labor market conditions than the seasonally adjusted measure reported by the government. Seasonal adjustments are useful for economists to attempt to filter out seasonal effects from underlying data trends, but they are hard to calculate when the U.S. economy has been depressed for about three years. Further, the underemployment rate without seasonal adjustment can be seen as a better indicator of the hiring and firing taking place in the economy.”

  8. 172K jobs added in October, yet the retail sector lost jobs in November despite strong consumer spending; record earnings yet large businesses contracted hiring according to the potentially flawed report? 172K to 39K? I’m really glad that there was a re-review of these numbers!

  9. Thanks for this article. I know personally quite a few people that have been hired recently; only one was in retail; so everything at least makes more senses.

  10. It’s perfectly fine to use the not seasonally adjusted numbers for November. But only if the NSA numbers are used for EVERY month of the year.

    SA numbers for January (2010): -20,000
    NSA numbers for January: -2,819,000

    SA numbers for April: +290,000 jobs
    NSA numbers for April: +1,158,000 jobs

    SA for November: +39,000 jobs
    NSA for November: +217,000 jobs

  11. I just knew it. Now we have to wait for the REVISED NUMBERS. There should be some more investigation into this inorder to set the record straight.

  12. If anyone wants an actual breakdown of what the Seasonal Revisions might mean for November’s job numbers and how they will be revised upward with the next report, check out New Deal Democrat’s post today over at the Bonddad Blog.

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