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Baffled by CNBC

Summary:
I’m not kidding, I have no idea what is going on in this CNBC story on the recent jobs report. Here are some excerpts: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma damaged not only Texas and Florida but also the U.S. jobs picture, as payrolls fell by 33,000 in September. That drop came even as the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.…Economists surveyed by Reuters expected payroll growth of 90,000 in September, compared with 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 4.4 percent. It declined even as the labor-force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent, its highest level all year and the best reading since March 2014. So, how are all of those facts possible? Did millions of elderly

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I’m not kidding, I have no idea what is going on in this CNBC story on the recent jobs report. Here are some excerpts:

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma damaged not only Texas and Florida but also the U.S. jobs picture, as payrolls fell by 33,000 in September. That drop came even as the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters expected payroll growth of 90,000 in September, compared with 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 4.4 percent. It declined even as the labor-force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent, its highest level all year and the best reading since March 2014.

So, how are all of those facts possible? Did millions of elderly people die in the month?

And then there’s this, later in the article: “Revisions will bear watching in coming months, as the final payrolls number comes from the Labor Department’s byzantine estimation methods. The department’s household survey showed the actual level of employed Americans grew by 906,000 while the unemployment rolls fell by 331,000. The report indicated a record 154.3 million Americans at work.”

I realize they are looking at different sampling techniques, but… Is it really correct that one method says payrolls fell by 33,000, while another says the level increased by 906,000? I think possibly the later quotation is referring to year-to-date numbers?

It shouldn’t be this hard to figure out what the actual statistics (as bogus as they may be) indicate. This is a horribly written article.

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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