Some Reactions to the Employment Situation Release for January

Here’s FoxBusiness’s web coverage of the employment release (around 4pm CT):

No mention of the jobs report. One of the articles I find in a search has a title displaying cognitive dissonance, “U.S. heads toward slow recovery with 353,000 jobs added in January: The economy is growing fast, but Fed still waiting on rate cuts”. (The article really doesn’t discuss what the economy is recovering from, nor why the “recovery” is going to be slow.)

A more in-depth reaction is at ZeroHedge (also accessed today around 4pm CT):

I find this line redolent of sheer conspiracy-mongering worthy of ZeroHedge:

…the revisions were unambiguously designed to give the impression that the labor market is slowing much less than it is.

The article continues:

almost entirely due to the BLS’s latest choice of seasonal adjustments, which have gone from merely laughable to full clownshow, as the following comparison between the revised BLS Payrolls number and the ADP payrolls show: the trend is clear: the Biden admin numbers are now clearly rising even as the impartial ADP (which directly logs employment numbers at the company level and is actually far more accurate), shows an accelerating slowdown.

And speaking of seasonal adjustments, the January print was all seasonals, because while the seasonally adjusted payrolls was up 353K, the unadjusted was down 2.635 million, a 3 million jobs delta.

Not sure why ZeroHedge knows definitively that the ADP series is more accurate recording total private employment in the entire US economy when it only provides check-cutting services for a portion of the firms comprising the US economy. Could be, but maybe not.

I’m sympathetic to worries about seasonal adjustment problems, particularly in the wake of big irregular departures such as the 2020 pandemic. However, inspection of the y/y changes in NFP using seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted data suggests that seasonal adjustment is not driving the outcome, as discussed in this post.

Figure 1: Twelve month change in nonfarm payroll employment, January release (bold red), from not seasonally adjusted, January release (lilac), and December 2023 (light red), all calculated in log differences. Source: BLS and author’s calculations.

The most interesting (appalling?) part of the article is here:

…just as we enter the peak of election season and political talking points will be thrown around left and right, especially in the context of the immigration crisis created intentionally by the Biden administration which is hoping to import millions of new Democratic voters (maybe the US can hold the presidential election in Honduras or Guatemala, after all it is their citizens that will be illegally casting the key votes in November), what we find is that in January, the number of native-born worker tumbled again, sliding by a massive 560K to just 129.807 million. Add to this the December data, and we get a near-record 1.9 million plunge in native-born workers in just the past 2 months!

Now, I think ZeroHedge is trying to equate new migrants with non-native born individuals. However, non-native born includes immigrants – most documented – who have been here for years or even decades. I thought we were all Americans (if one has been naturalized). I guess ZeroHedge has a different opinion.




13 thoughts on “Some Reactions to the Employment Situation Release for January

  1. Macroduck

    Durden’s writing is obviously aimed at finance bros, guys who trade (or wish they could afford to trade) as if trading is a test of manhood. Frat boys who do technical analysis. Crude monetarism, conspiracy theories, market slang and celebrity analysts are all part of the scene. The sort of resistance to evidence we see from the troll choir is common among the bros.

    Durden’s readership is his readership. Now that he has cultivated a following among finance bros, conspiracy theory IS Durden’s product.

    Natalie Merchant knows the story: “Give ’em what they want.”

    1. Baffling

      The dude took his name after an anarchist in a movie. Its quite obvious nobody should take his work seriously. Anybody who follows such a blog regularly should be banned from financial markets permanently. Guy is a peddler of conspiracy theories.

  2. pgl

    “the context of the immigration crisis created intentionally by the Biden administration which is hoping to import millions of new Democratic voters”

    Wait – someone who is not a citizen can vote? Next up Tyler is going to join those Stop the Steal rallies.

  3. James

    The GOP talking point of undocumented migrants voting is completely false. You need to register to vote and to register you need to prove U.S. citizenship and place of residence (i.e. what state, district, ward etc.) In WI – you need to also present a valid ID when voting.
    I suggest if you have questions about voting – volunteer at local polling place – to commit voting fraud – a poll worker would need to get their fellow 20 poll workers to go to jail along with the 4 observers to change an insignificant amount of votes.
    Voting fraud is exceedingly rare ( and vanishing small and usually it is some Republican trying to vote in a district where they do not live –
    Also – can we stop with the “GOP border crisis” b.s. – this is the normal movement of people that has been going on for decades.
    BTW – the far more interesting economic story to me – is how well the Mexican economy is doing – although their economy did slow in the fourth quarter

    1. 2slugbaits

      In Gordon Wood’s book “The Empire of Liberty” he points out that in the early days of the Republic one did not have to be a citizen to vote. The requirement was property. So a Frenchman who owned property in America could legally vote. I’m pretty sure that today’s constitutional conservatives would not support that version of “originalism.”

    2. Ivan

      The idea of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers trying to vote is completely absurd – another mega MAGA cult idiocy. Few have the language skills to even try getting registered. They would risk being caught in an illegal act, which would get them arrested, and get their asylum application summarily dismissed.

      So the MAGA “brains” think these people would take a huge risk, for what gain? Many Americans can’t be bothered going to the pools because they don’t think it matters. These people come from countries where there actually is massive voter fraud and real questions about how much voting matters.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Forbes is a literal walking shame to his father’s memory. Say what you want about Malcolm Forbes’ politics, he could write damned good editorials. Steve writes for Down Syndrome classes.

  4. JohnH

    BLS reported that average hourly earnings increased 4.5% last year. It’s no surprise that that is almost exactly what Corporate America was forecasting when they were preparing their budgets back in late 2022.

    And in 2022 Corporate America also reported that they paid more than they had expected (4.2%,) even as inflation raged on at a much higher.

    This is yet more evidence that it is Corporate America that decides on how much workers get paid, not this laughable notion that wage increase are a result of workers DEMANDING higher wages.

    Fortunately, this year Corporate America seems to have budgeted wage increases in the 4% range, which means that if inflation remains at current levels, real wages will increase.

    1. Macroduck

      So, when Johnny is doing his “economists BAD!!!” shtick, he tells us that businesses are better at forecasting than economists. When Johnny is doing his “workers are HELPLESS” shtick, businesses aren’t forecasting – they’re just reporting what they’ve decided. Prices, wages, profits, all just a wave of the mighty magic corporate wand.

      Which is it, Johnny?

  5. pgl

    Willis Towers Watson plc (WTW) is a British insurance company. JohnH finds some Nov. 2022 WTW forecast that wages in 2023 would rise by 4.6%. BLS reports that they rose by 4.5%. So little Jonny boy crows that his claim that “Corporate America” sets wages and labor has nothing to do with this. Yea – this is really really dumb.

    Let’s suppose that I forecast that 2024 inflation would be 2.0% and it turns out a year later than inflation was 2.0%. Did I set prices? Of course not – I’m not that powerful. Now if inflation turned out to be 1.8% or 2.2% little Jonny boy would cast me as an idiot who had no clue what was going on. He is that two faced.

    But wait – we had some union activity that led to higher wages – as in what the UAW accomplished. I guess little Jonny boy really thinks this is exactly what Ford and GM had planned all along. Yea – little Jonny boy is that much of a moron.

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