Predictable: E-mail Alert Notes Unemployment Rate Drop, Ignores Jan. 20K Job Loss and -900K Revision

My supposedly informative but in reality selective E-mail just alerted me to the fact that the unemployment rate dropped in January, but "somehow" forgot to reveal that 20,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were lost (see related post by BMI/NB's Julia Seymour):

CNNMoneyUnempAlert020510 also "forgot" to say anything about a downward 900,000-job revision (actually, even worse) to previous data (text is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released at 8:30 a.m. ET):

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2009 was revised downward by 902,000 (930,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis), or 0.7 percent. The previously published level for December 2009 was revised downward 1,390,000 (1,363,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis).

That's a lot of jobs.

As to CNN's "since the recession began" number, which is pegged back to December of 2007 based on the National Bureau of Economic Research's (NBER's) "official" determination (despite the fact that net economic growth occurred during the first half of 2008), let's look at the numbers:


We can see that:

  • Of those 8.4 million jobs cited, 8.3 million of them were lost from April 2008, the first full month after Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's nomination became all but certain, through January 2010 (March 2008's 137.858 million minus Jan. 2010's 129.527 million). Seasonally adjusted net job losses during the first four months of NBER's alleged recession (March 2008 minus November 2007) were a negligible 23,000. In December 2007, when the recession allegedly began, the economy added 70,000 jobs.
  • Of those 8.4 million jobs cited, 6.2 million were lost from November 2008, when Obama was elected president, through January 2010 (October 2008's 135.729 million minus 129.527 million).
  • Of those 8.4 million jobs cited, 4.0 million of them were lost from February 2009, the first full month after President Obama was inaugurated through January 2010 (January 2009's 133.549 million minus 129.527 million).
  • Of those 8.4 million jobs cited, 3.3 million of them were lost from March 2009, the first full month after the so-called stimulus package became law, through January 2010 (February 2009's 132.823 million minus 129.527 million).

Any one of these four numbers would have been more instructive than the one cited.

Leaving out the January loss of 20,000 was inexcusable -- but sadly typical.

More discussion of today's employment report is at

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