Payrolls Boosted Big By Birth/Death Adjustment ~ Steve Blitz Morning Notes
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Payrolls Boosted Big By Birth/Death Adjustment

The May payroll number was a good sign but before getting too far ahead of today's data remember that these numbers are subject to huge revisions and include fudge factors. Because the BLS can't know to survey a firm that didn't exist a month ago BLS fudges the not seasonally adjusted payroll numbers with a birth/death adjustment. This May, on a nonseasonal basis, payroll employment was +319,000 of which 220,000 was added because of this adjustment. Interesting to note that of the 129,000 nsa increase in construction workers this month about 43,000 came from birth/death. I find it difficult to believe that so many new construction firms have come on stream in the current environment. During the annual benchmark revisions I suspect a good part of this will go away.

The chart below illustrates the running 12 month change in total employment and the change without the birth/death adjustment. For the 12 month period ending in May, Labor reports a loss of 5.4 million jobs -- which includes an add of 811,000 jobs from the birth/death adjustment. Draw your own conclusion.

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