The Labor Department's computation of jobs data is highly flawed thanks to seasonal adjustments, and that leads to major revisions, says New York Post columnist John Crudele
"The government should just roll in one of those lottery machines and randomly draw the ping-pong balls," he writes. "The first number up is 1. Next number is 2, the third number is 6. Hey, the economy created 126,000 new jobs in March."
For example, the February jobs gain was just adjusted downward to 264,000 from the original report of 295,000.
So what's going to happen to the March figure?
"It will be revised upward in the months ahead to show more than just 126,000 jobs," Crudele argues. "And that’s when it will really become tricky for policymakers, because Labor has some other built-in biases that will make job growth look stronger."
And what are the ramifications of the distorted data?
"With statistics like this, we end up with an economy full of boings! and splats! and oops!" Crudele maintains. "What does today’s economy really sound like? Probably like a jalopy that’s moving down the highway on two cylinders."
Meanwhile, Steve Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, offers an interesting description of weakness in the job market.
"The great conundrum of the U.S. economy today is that we have record numbers of working-age people out of the labor force at the same time we have businesses desperately trying to find workers," he writes in an article for Forbes
The labor force participation rate matched a 37-year low of 62.7 percent last month, but unemployment totaled only 5.5 percent, a seven-year low.
"While the jobs market overall remains weak, demand is high in certain sectors," such as mechanics, computer technicians and nurses, Moore says. "The shortage of trained employees and of low-skilled employees willing to work" represents major problems now.
Moore sees four obstacles for increasing employment.
- "First, government discourages work. Welfare consists of dozens of different and overlapping federal and state income support programs.
- "Second, our public school systems often fail to teach kids basic skills.
- "Third, negative attitudes toward blue collar work. I’ve talked to parents who say they are disappointed if their kids want to become a craftsman instead of going to college.
- "Fourth, a cultural bias against young adults working."
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