So, there you are sitting at your computer or scanning your smart phone or electronic notebook, trying to make sense of today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
USA Today is dutifully reporting: “Payrolls grew at a disappointing pace for a second month in April as employers added just 115,000 jobs” and the unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent, the lowest rate since January 2009. But that’s only because 342,000 Americans gave up looking for work.
By taking a really close look at the numbers buried in the BLS report, you’ll get … well, eye strain.
Here is a snapshot of the main numbers with both the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted figures:
Download the whole pdf here: BLS May stats
While the press release shows 119 non-farm jobs added, and that figure is elsewhere in the report, the seasonally adjusted total number of employed persons from March to April actually fell by 169,000, while over on the non-adjusted side of the chart the number of employed grew by 583,000. But the number not in the labor force grew by 591,000.
The only consistent element is that the percent of people in the labor force — those with jobs and those seeking jobs — continues to slide month to month.
If you can find something revealing in this mass of stats, please let me know.