Monday, October 7, 2013

About Those September Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is not producing its month reports, at least not on time. Due to the Senate's inability to pass a federal budget since 2008 (FY09), Obama had to choose what he felt to be essential and non-essential federal government-funded activities.

Among these he chose to employ more National Park Rangers to keep citizens out of our property. He chose to delay payments to disabled veterans, though his favorite Amendment (the 14th, which he used to lecture about at the University of Chicago) states that these "pensions" are valid and recognized federal debts (see section 4). Yet, Obama thought his federally funded propaganda platform, NPR, was "necessary and essential" and diverted funding to that bureaucratic agency.

The latest BLS jobs report was due out just days after the Obamacare insurance exchanges went "live". The "sticker shock" has people reeling. The tax law contains additional marriage penalties. It has harmed  employment over the past year as the workforce participation rate has steadily dropped.

That leaves one simple question:  Did Obama order the report delayed because he was afraid of what people would find out?

More than likely, the labor participation rate took another dip. More than likely more people left the workforce. More than likely, full-time employment dropped. The U3 unemployment rate probably took another tick down. That is most likely because employers transferred former full-time positions to part-time and had to hire one new part-timer for every two full time positions transferred. Also, because the number of workers dropped, the percentage of unemployed as a ratio to the workforce would have dropped.

The total number of people working probably dropped. The average hours worked probably dropped. The average  hourly pay probably ticked  up slightly, because a part-time worker doesn't earn as many benefits. So their overall cost is lower. That translates to a small increase in hourly wage. But this would not be enough to off-set the loss of pay for working less than 30 hours instead  of more than 40 per week.

More than likely, the October numbers will show another dip in participation rate, as well. Then, November and December will show slight increases due to the retail seasonal hires for the holiday season. That will be followed by a year-opening dip in January as those seasonal hires lost their temporary jobs.

The "furloughed" federal workers won't show in the report, either. Why? Because they are technically still employed. So are the government contractors, unless their contracts ran out.

But without the actual numbers and the actual report, this can be nothing short of conjecture and educated guess. Because Obama doesn't want us to know, and doesn't feel letting the people see the data, the report has been determined "non-essential".

Perhaps, like making citizens "feel the pain" of not being able to look at Mt. Rushmore or the walk up to the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Obama wants economic reporters and forecasters to "feel the pain" of another "necessary government function" temporarily suspending activity. Perhaps he thinks this will spillover into such professionals in the private sector being out of a job as well, because of this. The Irony is it still gave some of us something to write about. To his chagrin, some of us have read the US Constitution and know this is not the fault of the House of Representatives, but that of the Senate. We also know that he alone chooses what gets suspended until a budget is passed.

One thing this temporary lay-off of 17% of the bloated federal bureaucracy has shown us is how much of our tax dollars are being wasted on non-essential activities, which should be cut from the federal budget (if the Senate would actually do its job and pass one). That's more ammunition for fiscal conservatives to use in the "debt ceiling" debates as well as future budget bills.

He counted on us to be stupid and naive. He counted wrong.