Today it's time for an update in our continuing effort to take the "L" out of "BLS" (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The March, 2010 jobs report was released only a few hours ago, but already cherry-picked delusional Dr. Panglosses spokesmen on National Public Radio are assuring us that we've turned the corner jobs-wise.
My first article in this series was called Tracking The Job Trackers. I explained things in some detail there. Every month, I will compare the BLS non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) U6 underemployment rate with Gallup's straight-no-chaser daily polling to see where we stand. I do this because it is as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as we can get. Here are the Gallup results for March—
These results are based on March interviews with more than 20,000 adults in the U.S. workforce, aged 18 and older. Gallup classifies respondents as underemployed if they are unemployed or working part-time but wanting full-time work. Gallup employment data are not seasonally adjusted.
The BLS NSA U6, defined below, was 17.5%. (The seasonally adjusted rate was 16.9%.)
U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.
Thus the BLS NSA U6 fell 0.4% from February to March. The Gallup underemployed number rose 0.5%. The discrepancy now stands at 2.8%.
The BLS also says non-farm private employment rose by a net 123,000 jobs from February to March. The "unofficial" ADP national employment report says private sector unemployment fell by a net 23,000 jobs in the same period. Go figure.
As in prior months, many of jobs added by the BLS were temp positions.
In March, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 162,000. Job growth continued in temporary help services and in health care. Federal government employment increased due to the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. Job losses continued in financial activities and in information...
Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in March. Since September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by 313,000.
Employment in health care continued to increase in March (27,000), with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (16,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (9,000)...
Employment in federal government was up over the month, reflecting the hiring of 48,000 temporary workers for the decennial census...
Great. More people are having heart attacks or strokes, requiring more ambulatory health care services. And then these newly disabled require more nursing and residential care.
What did the great Louis Armstrong say? What A Wonderful World... Actually, that might cheer you up. Here you go.