John Ransom

The American economic juggernaut keeps churning out good news folks. According to government economists 236,000 jobs were created in February, plus or minus a margin of error of 100,000 jobs.

Anyone wanna take the under here?

In other news, the BLS revised January jobs data down 38,000 jobs so that the net number of jobs created in the first month of the year was a negative 21,000 jobs.

That’s right; 21,000 fewer jobs in January than in December. 

No wonder consumer confidence is moving up. The government is lying every month about something, anything, and the people are buying it, at least for the time being.

I don’t know about anyone else, but it makes me feel a lot more secure that I have a government so resourceful that in a pinch they can just make stuff up, plus or minus 100,000 jobs.

I do wish they’d stop pinching me, however.

Because, the news for government economists and policy-makers is even better on unemployment.

Prior to the fall, 2012 general election getting into full swing, unemployment was steadily moving downward as a record number of people dropped out of the workforce; workers giving up hope of ever finding jobs.

Thanks to math sponsored by government economists, for every one (1) person not looking for work, you can subtract one (1) person from the unemployed. In that way it’s much easier for government bureaucrats in DC who have a median household income of $86,000, to tackle unemployment without the whole “Hey, maybe we should create jobs?” mentality mucking everything up.   

The fall saw a short hiatus in that trend as the media suddenly had pangs of conscience about reporting real jobs numbers and the administration moved government spending into the third quarter of 2012 to create the appearance of jobs creation until after the election.

Even so unemployment remained flat in the fall.

But now that the government is freed once again of having to justify its existence, unemployment is going down as more people drop out of the workforce and stop looking for work.

According to the BLS, labor participation rates for February dropped from 63.6 percent in January of 2013 to 63.5 percent in February of 2013, a difference of 0.1 percent.

And that’s why today the New York Times can claim “Unemployment at Four-Year Low!” as the BLS unemployment figures reflect a drop in unemployment from 7.8 percent to 7.7 percent, a difference of …0.1 percent.

Ta da!

And the great thing for the government policy-makers is that they only had to create half the jobs in order to maintain the illusion of economic improvement at a FOUR-YEAR HIGH!

Both great taste, AND less filling the competing brands!

In February 2007, when the terrible, evil George W. Bush was president, there were 2,427,000 more jobs than there are today.

In February 2007, when the terrible, evil George W. Bush was president, there were 5,167,000 fewer unemployed.

As our colleague Peter Schiff points out, the last time the labor situation was so dire was during the 1981 recession.

“The continuing decline in the labor force participation rate was at least as important a factor as the new jobs created in bringing down the official unemployment rate to 7.7%,” writes Schiff. “The participation rate has now dropped to 63.5%, the lowest level since 1981 when the rate had plunged due to a terrible recession. It is important to realize that at that time women had not fully entered the labor force.” [My emphasis]

So here’s to the margin of error, government economists and a smaller labor participation rate.

Thanks to them we’ll tackle unemployment for twice as long, with half as many jobs.    

And no one will notice.   


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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