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.




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