Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 5, 2007

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its latest jobs report, with the establishment portion of the monthly survey for September 2007 for the civilian labor force showing a net job gain of 110,000 from the revised figures for August, and also an increase of 37,000 in the number of government workers. The household portion of the jobs survey indicated a net job gain of 463,000.

The latest employment report from payroll processor ADP indicated a private sector increase of 58,000 non-farm jobs.

Plugging all these numbers into our weighted average job gains and losses tool, and using the weighting factors suggested by Econbrowser's James Hamilton, suggests that the change in overall employment levels from August 2007 to September 2007 is an increase of 172,100 overall.

What's really remarkable however is that the employment figures for both July and August were both revised upward. Instead of a previously reported increase of 68,000 jobs, July actually saw payrolls increase by an additional 25,000 people for a total increase from June of 93,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, August 2007 saw a massive upward revision in the number counted jobs. The BLS had previously stated that the civilian labor force had actually declined by 4,000. The newest jobs data release now shows a net gain of 89,000 jobs for that month.

Interestingly, Barry Ritholtz, who reported the consensus forecast for an increase of 115,000 in the civilian labor force for the month of September found the report to be largely in line with expectations (the reported net change of 110,000 coming in just 5,000 below this figure.) It would seem however that he missed that these job gains came on top of the large upward revisions (25,000 + 93,000) for both July and August.

Steve Conover looks past the month-to-month volatility in jobs data and shows where the year over year changes in jobs have been!

Jim Hamilton has weighed in on the numbers and suggests some more adjustment might be in order:

The September calculation comes to +179 thousand new jobs, driven by the very strong household number. Given the huge offsetting negative household number for August, I'm inclined instead at a minimum to take a two-month average, which comes to 93,000 per month. I believe that's about the right number for the two months, maybe pull August down a little and September up a little from that.

Meanwhile, King Banaian finds less to be enthusiastic about as total private employment was relatively unchanged.

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