CNBC starts off with a little cheerleading:
The U.S. economy created 146,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate slid to 7.7 percent, in a report much better than economists had expected.
Despite the effects from Superstorm Sandy, the jobs engine continued to run, albeit slowly.
Well, really it didn’t. Buried at the end of the report is this:
Previous month’s employment gains also were lowered through revisions.
The Labor Department’s initial report for October showed a gain of 171,000 jobs, but now is listed at 138,000. The September gain of 148,000 was taken down to 132,000.
On they go:
The Labor Department said the storm’s effects might be more accurately gauged in next months’ report.
But internally, the report showed weakness.
The numbers had some puzzling contradictions, particularly in the assertion that Sandy “did not substantively impact” the jobs count for November, and in substantial downward revisions from previous months.
Also, the drop in the unemployment rate appeared to reflect little more than a continued exodus of workers from the labor force.
The labor force participation rate, already around 30-year lows, fell further in the month to 63.6 percent. That represented 350,000 fewer workers.
But they seem confused by percentages and fractions – zerohedge isn’t – their numbers tie out and they say that it wasn’t 350K but 540K who dropped out of the workforce:
Confused why the unemployment rate dropped? The same, favorite BLS adjustment – a drop in the labor force participation rate which declined by 0.2% to 63.6% once again, as the number of people out of the labor force increased by over 540K to 88,883,000.
Math is hard.