Neither the BLS nor ADP makes any effort to weed out duplicate social security numbers.

The BLS excuse (I asked), is they want to but can't because they are not allowed to look at social security numbers. This of course leads to questions like why aren't social security numbers encrypted?

Competent programmers would understand there is not even a need to see the social security numbers at all. This is a simple sort-merge construct where the only requirement is to produce a count of matches. No one has to look at anything.

To get around the problem of duplicates, the BLS goes through an elaborate Birth-Death that likely introduces more errors than it solves.

To be fair, some people, especially the self-employed, do not report every month, but that does not negate the issues pertaining to double counting duplicates.

I suggest, but cannot prove, there is a huge double-counting of persons working more than one job in the establishment survey.

Numbers in Perspective

  • In the household survey, if you work as little as 1 hour a week, even selling trinkets on eBay, you are considered employed.
  • If you don’t have a job and fail to look for one, you are not considered unemployed, rather, you drop out of the labor force. Searching want-ads or looking online for jobs does not count. You need to submit a resume or talk to a prospective employer or agency.
  • In the household survey, if you work three part-time jobs, 12 hours each, the BLS considers you a full-time employee.
  • In the payroll survey, three part-time jobs count as three jobs. The BLS attempts to factor this in, but they do not weed out duplicate Social Security numbers. The potential for double-counting jobs in the payroll survey is large.

These distortions and discrepancies artificially lower the unemployment rate, artificially boost full-time employment, and artificially increase the payroll jobs report every month.

Something Amiss

Regardless of why (double counting vs other errors), something is clearly amiss when job gains over the last year allegedly rose by 2.350 million but employment rose only by 1.219 million.

The difference is a whopping 1.06 million. That's an average difference of 88,000 a month in favor of jobs.

Those are non-farm jobs, thus a subset of jobs whereas employment counts anything and everything. Are we losing 88,000 farm jobs a month? I doubt that.

Something is wrong with at least one of the reports or we are adding 88,000 part-time jobs a month the BLS does not catch.

Compared to last month, the 88,000 per month discrepancy is actually a step in the right direction. BLS revisions took away 75,000 jobs in the past two months while employment allegedly rose more than jobs in May.

For discussion of this month's numbers, please see Jobs +75,000 vs Employment +113,000: Revisions -75,000.

Expect more revisions.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Examining the Discrepancy Between Jobs and Employment

In the past year, the BLS says the number of jobs rose by 2.62 million. Employment rose by 1.429 million.

Jobs +75,000 vs Employment +113,000: Revisions -75,000

Jobs missed expectations by a mile but were well above the ADP forecast of +27,000. Revisions took the gain away.

Solid Jobs Report but Divergence Between Jobs and Employment is Still Strong

Today’s employment report shows a robust increase of 235,000 jobs. And for the first time in many months, the rest of the report was good as well.

Revisions Save an Overhyped Employment Report as Jobs Rise by 134,000

Some expected 300,000 or more jobs in today's report. Instead, payrolls rose by 134,000. Revisions substantial.

Jobs Rise 225,000 But Employment Fell by 89,000

The BLS reports jobs rose by 225,000 in January but the manufacturing recession continues.

November Jobs +228,000: Employment Only +57,000

The number of nonfarm jobs in November increased by 228K. The household survey says employment increased by only 57K.

Jobs +201,000 vs Employment -423,000: Another BLS Divergence

Nonfarm jobs rose but actual employment fell in two different measures of the BLS July jobs report.

Jobs +263,000 vs. Employment -103,000: Unemployment Rate 3.6% Lowest Since 1969

Jobs rose by a whopping 263,000 but the discrepancy between the jobs survey and the household survey widens.

For Last 3 Months, Job Growth Averaged 165K, Employment Only 62K

Today’s employment report shows an increase of 156,000 jobs. The BLS revised revised November employment to 204,000. from 178,000. The BLS revised October lower a second time. Last month The BLS lowered October from +161,000 to +142,000. This month the BLS took October down again to +135,000.