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Bull Market In Disingenuity

Much of the Street is lamenting the March Employment report using terms such as disastrous, horrific, and ugly. I get the bears perspective on this. They want the media to expose any underlying weakness in the economy to make their negative case. This is as expected.

But more interestingly, the bulls are also whining about the numbers as well. On the surface, they should be looking for the silver lining here and reporting the truth. But they really aren’t. It must be they want to reinforce the slowdown thesis so QEi stays firmly in place, supporting the rally.

So I get it now. Bad data and everyone’s a winner, at least in their own minds.

Only one problem, the data wasn’t so bad. Let’s look at the actual, seasonally adjusted numbers the BLS releases.

In the February reports, there were 134.810 million employed in January, 135.046 million in February. With an estimate of 200k for March that made the forecast 135.246 million for that month.

The March report came in at 88k, “shocking” the business world and generating headlines from Zerohedge of “worst employment report miss since 2009”! Only it wasn’t.

The growth from February to March was only 88,0000 jobs, that’s true. But January and February were revised up significantly. Now, January was 134.839 and February was 135.107 million, some 60,000 jobs higher than reported originally. The March 2013 initial number, which probably gets revised upward if the trend is still in force, was 135.195 million employed.

So the world comes to an end when a forecast of 135,246,000 is only 135,195,000, or a shortfall of some 50,000 jobs on a base of 135 million? And the normal revision is around 45,000 per month up or down? Give me a break. My gut tells me we get that 45,000 back next month and hit the number original forecast anyway.

Is the BLS spinning numbers to keep QEi to infinity and beyond as some skeptics would claim? Probably not. They have underestimated employment since the recovery gained traction a couple years ago.

Will the bulls whine about the horrific employment report to keep Ben’s printing presses running? Absolutely.

Just another example of intellectually dishonest or just non rigorous analysis being used to spin the numbers to make a case. Too bad, the financial press is too simple to get this. It probably likes the drama of a big miss headline anyway. Sells more papers or TV commercials.

Now 50,000 less jobs than expectations is a disappointment. But a horrific disaster it’s not. Welcome to the bull market in disingenuity.


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  1. [...] my column titled Bull Market in Disingenuity, I challenged the whiners and liars who were misusing the so called disastrous March jobs data. I [...]

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