E-Mail Exemplifies Unjustified Happy Talk About Down Economy

Today's Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam (link will be updated for May results at 8:30 a.m.) will almost certainly report hundreds of thousands of seasonally adjusted jobs lost.

According to this AFP report, "Most analysts expect employers to have cut 520,000 jobs, down from 539,000 in April. But the unemployment rate is still expected to have jumped to 9.2 percent, its highest since 1983." (UPDATE: 345,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were lost in May, but the unemployment rate rose sharply to 9.4%.)

"Down from April"? Given the vagaries in the governmnent's estimates, and that the figure will be revised in the following two months, how about "virtually the same as April"?

At least AFP gave us two numbers to compare. An e-mail I received on Wednesday morning from about ADP's monthly National Employment Report didn't even do that:


A casual recipient looking no further would have thought that the country's steep employment declines might be getting less steep.

That's not the case in any meaningful way. As the actual ADP Report told us on Wednesday:

Nonfarm private employment decreased 532,000 from April to May 2009 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the ADP National Employment Report®. The estimated change of employment from March to April was revised by 54,000, from a decline of 491,000 to a decline of 545,000.

Wow, May's -532,000 was a whole 13,000 "better" than April's revised -545,000.

At this rate of “better,” the economy, if it loses 13,000 fewer monthly jobs continually, will will finally start adding seasonally adjusted jobs towards the end of 2012 -- 41 months from now. In the interim, the country will have lost over 10.5 million more jobs.

Plus, as seen in the downward revision to April's original number, the "better" May number could easily be adjusted in June to a number that's worse, perhaps even by tens of thousands of jobs.

Better, schmetter.

A related entry is here at

Economy Unemployment Media Bias Debate Double Standards Business Coverage Recession Online Media

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