First the spin via MSNBC:
The U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to a near three-year low, offering a hopeful sign for hiring in the year ahead.
Employers added a net 243,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday — that’s the most since April and far better than economists’ expectations for a gain of only 150,000.
January saw the most jobs added since and April and May 2010, when 277,000 and 458,000 jobs were created. But those months were skewed by massive hiring for the census. Before that, the last month with more job creation was March 2006.
The upbeat tenor of the January jobs report was further strengthened by revisions to November and December payrolls data, which showed 60,000 more jobs created than previously reported. In addition, hiring was widespread across many high-paying industries. And average hourly earnings rose four cents, which should help to support spending.
The continued labor market improvement could be a relief for President Barack Obama who faces a tough re-election campaign this year.
Speaking at an event in Arlington, Va., Friday, Obama welcomed the strong January jobs report. But, he added, there are “still far too many Americans who need a job.”
“The economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And we have to do everything in our power to keep it going,” Obama said.
Now let’s look at the numbers via ZeroHedge:
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that’s not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over Year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.
If you look at the first graph, you’ll see a huge uptick in the number of people not in the Labor Force. Remember how they calculate unemployment? Unemployment rate = Unemployed workers / Total labor force. It’s easy to see how a huge drop in the labor participation rate, which is the total labor force, can make the numbers look artificially good.
Expect more of this chicken-fuckery as the election cycles gears up. The media will portray the unemployment numbers as “unexpectedly better than forecasts” in an attempt to carry water for their Chosen One.