By Graham Summers, MBA
A truly incredible bull market is underway.
It’s catching everyone by surprise. And smart investors should read this article carefully to make sure they don’t miss out…
It’s a bull market in economic BS.
Before proceeding I want to stress that this is not a left vs right issue, nor is it Democrat vs Republican.
It’s reality vs. total fantasy.
The total fantasy is the notion that the economy is doing well right now. And one of the prime examples is the latest jobs numbers which claim the U.S. economy added 500,000+ jobs last month (January 2023).
The jobs report argues that the U.S. economy added 517,000 jobs in January. It arrived at this number courtesy of the household survey which argued that 894,000 jobs were added last month.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) then admits in the very next column that 810,000 of these jobs were added via its “Population Control Effect” AKA an accounting gimmick, NOT reality.
Remove that gimmick and the U.S. added 84,000 jobs last month.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the table from the BLS stating this reality.
How is this possible? How can the BLS add so many fake jobs to its official numbers? Simple:
1) Only 44% of those given surveys actually answer them.
2) The Bureau of Labor Statistics applies numerous gimmicks to the data in an attempt to normalize things. Perhaps this is due to political pressure, or perhaps they are incompetent. Whatever the reason, the data is a work of fiction and has a tenuous connection to reality at best.
Some of the gimmicks the BLS applied to the January jobs data.
Its seasonal adjustments added over two million people to the non-farm payrolls number for the economy in both January 2022 and January 2023. Without these adjustments, only 152 million are working, as opposed to the 155 million the official number claimed.
Similarly, the household survey was adjusted to add over 1 million people to the “employed” category. So, in December of 2022, these one million people were NOT counted as employed. In January 2023 they were, NOT because they obtained jobs, but because the BLS’ model tweaked the number higher.
Things get even wackier from there.
Part-time employment supposedly jumped by 627,000 in January 2023… despite the clear historical trend that part employment should DROP after the holidays.
The BLS also claims that only 5,000 tech workers lost their jobs in January. The real number of tech workers who lost jobs is 85,000.
Bottomline: remove all of the gimmicks and tricks, and the real economy only added 84,000 jobs last month, which is the weakest job growth in TWO YEARS.
So how was the “official” number presented to the public so positive?
The BLS updated its methodology based on new estimates from the census. Doing this meant applying its model to a MUCH LARGER number, which generated MUCH LARGER job creation.
Don’t believe me? The BLS lays it all out in clear language here. Note the words “updated, estimates, and assumption” are featured heavily here.
So again, the economy is NOT booming. What’s booming is the amount of BS the government bean-counters apply to the economic data. I fully expect much of this to be revised down in the coming months.
But what’s truly frightening?
Investors are actually BUYING STOCKS based on this stuff!
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