A Web of Deceit on Jobless Numbers
I also this morning received a note that, I must confess, it was intriguing, it was exciting. I got a note from a guy that said, “Hey, Rush, you know, these January numbers –” because I spent a lot of time last week on the raw unemployment numbers. Oh, speaking of that, if you were here last Friday and Thursday, remember we focused not on the 243,000 jobs that were gained or reportedly gained, but rather on the raw numbers, the 2.5 million fewer jobs there were between December of last year, January of this year, just the raw numbers, 2.5 million fewer jobs. And of that 2.5 million, 1.2 million were simply erased by the government, simply erased. They no longer exist. Labor force participation rate.
Two things happened today. David Stockman tells a story that back in the Reagan years an unemployment report came out and Reagan saw a story in Human Events magazine about the same thing we were talking about Thursday and Friday, the raw numbers versus the seasonally adjusted numbers, and the raw numbers, jobs lost or gained, I forget which it was at this point in the Reagan administration, differed dramatically from the seasonally adjusted numbers. According to David Stockman, or who tells the story, it was actually Human Events, the magazine, Reagan saw the Human Events magazine story and at a meeting of his economic advisers said he wanted to focus on the raw numbers. He said that’s what we ought to be looking at here. And according to David Stockman, Martin Feldstein who was the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors at the time, panicked and said, “No, you don’t want to look at the raw numbers,” and did his best to talk Reagan out of that and looking at seasonally adjusted.
Now, the point of the story is that the raw numbers differ dramatically, every report, from the seasonally adjusted numbers. And that the seasonal adjustment number has been devised as a way of softening the blow, mitigating the impact of the real unemployment news, and it’s something that’s been going on a long time. I wanted to stress last Thursday and Friday, this is not new to the Obama administration. What I was confused about was the dramatic difference in losing 2.5 million jobs from December to January and having the government say “but with our statistical analysis and our seasonal adjustment we’ve actually added 243,000.” So remembering all of that I got a flash e-mail today from a guy, “Hey, Rush, hey, Rush, take a look at this,” and it was a piece from a financial adviser, blogger by the name of Larry Levin, and it was about withholding tax receipts collected by the government through 2011.