Media reports on new jobs; once again, uninquiring minds want not to know

Saturday, November 04, 2006 at 11:59 AM

All excited about the drop in the unemployment rate?  Thrilled that it's the "Lowest in 5 Years" reported in conjunction with the fact that "employers added 92,000 new jobs" in October??????  

Well, here's a simple question that the newspapers and television reports manage to avoid asking:  If as widely believed it takes 150,000 new jobs each month just to absorb the new entrants in the job market, how in the world could the creation of only 92,000 jobs in October not ony absorb new job seekers, but actually decrease the unemployment rate from 4.6% to 4.4%?

Answer: it can't.

Either it doesn't take 150,000 new jobs each month to hold unemployment steady, or there were far fewer new job seekers than normal in October, or they're playing games with the numbers (as in, even more people dropped out of the job market than dropped in, which not a good thing).

While I'm firmly convinced of the latter, that's really not the point here.  The point is that the news report simply does not make sense on its face, yet nobody in the media saw any need to point that out, to find some "expert" to explain the contradiction, or to seek clarification from someone in the government.

In the parlance of the times, "You're doing a heckuva job, newsies!!!"