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10 October 2012

Explanation for the Huge Surge in Part-Time Jobs in September

It has been pointed out that in years past, employment of 18 to 25 year olds has fallen drastically in September as students returned to college and gave up their summer jobs.  Not this September.  Also not last September.

I suspect three things are going on here.  One is that these last two summers, many fewer students were able to find jobs in the summer, so the student drop in employment in September was much less due to them returning to college.  Another effect is that with college expenses having increased much more than family incomes have for many years and the actual loss of real family incomes over the last few years, many more students may have very part-time work-aid assignments at their colleges as part of their student-aid package.  Finally, in the past, the BLS was inclined to ignore these very part-time college jobs and not count these students as employed while in college.  What if they are now very assiduously counting these work aid students as part-time employed in the household survey?  This would account for the strange increase in employment of 18 - 25 year olds these last two Septembers and for the huge increase in part-time jobs precisely in the month of September.

This is a very natural way for the Obama administration to make use of the students to help save his re-election chances.  The Democrats have been very assiduous in courting students by forcing their parent's health insurance to allow them to be kept on their parent's policies until they are 26, by ever more heavily subsidizing their student loans, and by carefully indoctrinating them in the beliefs of the Progressive Elitists in dominant control of virtually every college campus.  These students are in turn generally very enthusiastic supporters.  The Democrats are child molesters, though in this case molesters of their underdeveloped minds.  They give a great deal of thought of how to take advantage of them, so it is a natural thing that they thought of using their work-aid as a means to bolster the employment numbers just prior to the election.

Update, Afternoon of 10 October 2012:

That was an interesting idea, but on looking deeper into the BLS numbers in Table A-8 and Table A-9 in the September employment report, it does not hold water.  Instead, we find something very different and still disturbing.  First let us look at the change in employed by age from Table A-9 in September compared to August using the Not Seasonally Adjusted Numbers:

16-17 years, -130,000
18-19 years, -455,000
20-24 years, +101,000
25-34 years, +291,000
35-44 years, +249,000
45-54 years, +238,000
55 & older, +483,000

College students are mostly 18 - 21, so it is fairly clear that there is a net decrease in employment in those ages, so the work-study part-time work is not the explanation.  The explanation is found in Table A-8, where we find that the major change in employment was in government workers.  Government workers increased by 934,000!!!!!  The more complete story in the Not Seasonally Adjusted numbers is:

Government workers, +934,000
Self-employed workers, unincorporated, +90,000
Agriculture and related industries, -53,000
Private households, +15,000
Other Industries, -221,000

So much as one would expect given the general sorry state of the economy, industry is shedding employees in large numbers and some of the unemployed are setting up their own micro-businesses.  What on Earth is going on with this massive hiring of government workers though?

Teachers are mostly government workers and they do massively become employed again in September after being off for the summer.  However, any seasonal adjustment should eliminate the annual effect of re-hiring teachers in September.  So, we can examine the seasonally adjusted number of government employees and should see this number wiped out to the degree that it is teachers.  It turns out that the seasonally adjusted number is only 106,000 lower!  Now this makes no sense, since there are clearly many times 106,000 teachers who go back to public school jobs in September.  Maybe if the adjustment was formulated over many years, the fact that more teachers may have found summer jobs in the past than could now might make for a smaller adjustment projected from the past onto the present.

The federal government has not been hiring massive numbers of new employees and the state and local governments are having trouble paying the employees they already have.  It would appear that there was no adequate seasonal adjustment for the annual return of government-employed teachers to public schools!  Whatever the case of the surge in the numbers of government workers, this is not an indication of any sort of recovery in the economy.  On the contrary, the numbers indicate a worsening of the economy with the loss of 221,000 more jobs in industry.  A gain of 934,000 government workers, even if actual, would not be indicative of an improving economy.

How could the BLS fail to make a seasonal adjustment on teachers that would not make their annual return to school look like a boom in hiring?  How convenient for Obama that in the last employment report prior to the election they did not make this annual correction?  All of those claims that the BLS is staffed with professional and incorruptible people are hard to support now.


Harry Dale Huffman said...

I wonder if the number of college students getting such work-aid assignments can be easily uncovered, and compared with the 750,000 or whatever surge in the employment numbers in September? Or if it takes real work, is there a way to interest a congressional or other influential investigation into this possibility?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Hi Harry,

On looking into the numbers in the BLS report, it is clear the surge in employment was not due to college students. It was due to not making a proper seasonal adjustment to the large number of government-employed teachers who are re-employed in late August and September. The monthly household survey is done in the early part of the month, so the August survey misses the teachers returning to work. I had assumed that it could not be that since that correction has been made for a long time. Just not this time. How convenient for Obama.

Harry Dale Huffman said...

Good Evening, Charles,

Thank you. I would like to see one or two of the scams (racketeering would be a better word) being used to get Obama re-elected nailed down, with an eye towards prosecution or job termination of the felons involved. As a scientist, I think it would be good (for posterity, if not for this seemingly hopelessly divided, hopelessly deluded generation) if one could show with verifiable numbers what you said just above, that the gov.-employed number for September has been seasonally adjusted all along, or "for a long time", until this September just past -- perhaps a graph covering the last 40 years. I know it's not your responsibility (and I would demand the national media do it, if I thought they would listen to me, but they never do). I will look at your link above and see how much work is involved, but you may already have the necessary data, so I mention it to you.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Hi Harry,

I have not yet looked at the history of BLS reports to actually see if this obvious correction to seasonal variation was made in the past. I had assumed it was such an obvious seasonal variation that of course the BLS would adjust it out of the figures. But, even if that were true, it would be interesting to know what adjusting it out means. I sure would think that it would mean that any bump up in employment in the seasonally adjusted employment number would only be a response to an increase in the actual number of teachers this year compared to previous years.

The past report records are available, though you have to hunt a bit to find them on the BLS website as I recall. This is a busy time of the year in my lab and I am also in the midst of upgrading the lab website, so I was at the lab 20 hours straight Tuesday into Wednesday and 29 hours straight Monday into Tuesday. Perhaps later today I can take a few minutes and look into this, though I am planning to head home in time to see the Ryan-Biden debate.