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« The Deficit Dilemma | Main | Picking the Right Pundit »

August 12, 2009



Thanks Jeff! The clarification makes the whole thing a lot clearer to me.

Now to show this to my buddy who is anti the b/d adjusment...


Charlie -- I agree that many of the shifts are negative. The best way to track this in the aggregate is in the hourly wage.

Thanks for highlighting an important point.



Richard -- Thanks very much for pointing this out. Our original explanation was misleading. The BLS does not show the "actual count" but instead refers to changes from the benchmark.

I have updated the articles to clarify the explanation.

Thanks again for your careful reading and comment.



You are, of course, correct. I lost my job in '93 and was out of work for 7 mos. The old job paid 48k, the new job, 35k. My boss warned me in May that I would be in the next layoff (any day now). I'll leave this 72k job (now, after the May pay cut, 56k), for a job paying 40k (I hope). There is a massive shift going on....and it is downward.


Jeff, one thing I had a question about...

In your first blog on the birth/death adj, you show "Chart 1 Impact of B/D Model on..." from the BLS.

You say:

"The blue line is the actual count. Just compare the red line to the green line. The red line shows what the estimate would have reported without any birth/death adjustment. The green line shows the effect of birth/death."

That made sense to me, but then I looked at the chart and the color key says:

RED: "Actual Benchmark Revision"
BLUE: "Birth/Death Adjustment"
GREEN: "Simulated Benchmark Revision Without Birth/Death Adjustment"

As a layman those two things don't sound the same.

It sounds like what you call Blue = Red, Red = Green, and Green = Blue.

Now if I read the chart like that I get really confused.

Any chance you could clarify for me?


Jeff, I just found your blogs and articles here while looking for information on the birth/death adjustment.

A friend of mine had mentioned it to me and how he it represented the government "fixing the books" on the employment numbers.

I did a quick google search and came away with a ton of angry sites against the birth/death adjustment. But what bothered me was the lack or facts to back up the "there's no way 200K jobs were created last the gov is lying" sentiment.

Then I went to the source...the BLS and read about the adjustment and it sounded pretty fact based and data driven and well...scientific.

I took notice that the "estimating" part is essentially checked against the real numbers once they come I wondered how the government could use it if those opposed could so easily point out that is was wrong (which of course they aren't actually doing, but I was still tying to figure that out).

I was puzzled by the lack of any support for the BLS...until I finally found your articles (on Seeking Alpha).

Obviously I still don't understand the underlying math, but I certainly now understand what the birth/death adjustment is...and more so where all of the misconceptions are coming from.

I've been telling my friends for months now that somewhere there has to be...truth might be a strong word...but at least hard data and facts that people should be making decisions by.

This whole Health Care thing is such a mess in the media. I was at Senator Specter's town hall in State College, PA and the misinformation was frightening.

Well I should say misinformation as far as I know. It is so hard to find REAL facts and data to make any sense of anything. Not that it's in anyone's interest to have things be clear and factual, everyone has some agenda I guess.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that you have given me some small bit of hope that there are people out there who know and can actually articulate the facts and data.

I just wish it would get out into the mainstream so we citizens could be informed and not manipulated.

David Merkel

Well said. Maybe the BLS should set up a separate release date for job openings and hires. Then it might get the attention that it deserves.

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