More jobs

So the jobs picture is a bit better:

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.

Of course, the numbers tell a different story because they come from different surveys:

Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, following 3 months of little  change. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 percentage point to  58.7 percent, after edging down in the prior 2 months. The overall trend in  the employment-population ratio for this year has been flat. The civilian labor  force rose by 418,000 to 155.1 million in September, while the labor force  participation rate was little changed at 63.6 percent.

So, according to one survey employment went up 114,000 and up 873,000 by the other.  This could be because they measure two different things–more succinctly given here:

Why are there two monthly measures of employment?

The household survey and establishment survey both produce sample-based estimates of employment and both have strengths and limitations. The establishment survey employment series has a smaller margin of error on the measurement of month-to- month change than the household survey because of its much larger sample size. An over-the-month employment change of about 100,000 is statistically significant in the establishment survey, while the threshold for a statistically significant change in the household survey is about 400,000. However, the household survey has a more expansive scope than the establishment survey because it includes the self- employed, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and private household workers, who are excluded by the establishment survey. The household survey also provides estimates of employment for demographic groups.

But, of course, the discrepancy has led to complaints by conservatives:

The leader of the “job truther” movement: former GE CEO Jack Welch.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers,” he said on Twitter.

He had some friends in Congress too. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) tweeted “I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here.” He added on Facebook that the jobs report was  “Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals.’”

FOX News’ Stuart Varney apparently sensed where his audience was going. Within minutes of their release he told viewers that “there is widespread mistrust of this report and these numbers.”

“How convenient the rate drops below 8% [for the] first time in 43 months, five weeks before the election,” he added later.

You would think if they were cooking the books they wouldn’t get: ‘The overall trend in  the employment-population ratio for this year has been flat’.

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