Visualizing The BLS' Establishment Survey Revisions

Tyler Durden's picture

As part of today's non-farm payroll release, the BLS also issued its revision to the Establishment Survey as a result of updated population estimates, which, as the name implies, adjusted monthly data to the Establishment Survey which is the actual headline print that moves the market, not the data in the household survey which is what the unemployment rate is based on. In short: of the 12 monthly revisions, there were just 2 months in which the post-revision data was adjusted downward, July and August, with all other months supposedly adding jobs to the cumulative total, which as of December stood at 134,668 jobs as revised, compared to 134,021 pre-revision. So for those curious how the sequential change in jobs would have looked on a pre vs post-revision basis, we summarize the 2012 data in the chart below. In short: the revision would have added a total 335,000 jobs to the Establishment Survey headlines over the 2012 NFP headlines. The point of the chart is to show just how variable the actual monthly swing is based on exit assumptions, yet this is precisely the data that the kneejerk collocated algos trade on.

Source: BLS

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fuu's picture

Best and brightest.

Pool Shark's picture



"We have always been at war with Eastasia..."



redpill's picture

And all but two of the months in the last year wound up being revised downward. Pure coincidence, of course.

Deacon Frost's picture

"If a politician is a real leader he will be able, by the skillful use of propaganda, to lead the people, instead of following the people...
The propagandist's approach is the exact opposite of that of the politician just described. The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public."

Edward Bernays 'Propaganda' (1928)

ejmoosa's picture

Wow, the data was altered all the way back to 1991.  Orwell would be impressed.

Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

I love contrarian investing. Not contrary to market sentiment, but contrary to common sense.

Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

Now which Muni's are on the edge.

fonzannoon's picture

I love listening to Joe lasagna and Liesman discussing the shrinking deficit and the eventual rate hikes by the fed. I swear someone has clamps on their balls to keep from busting out laughing on the live feed.

Shizzmoney's picture

I actually doubt it; those two clowns are dumb enough to not understand the concept of sarcasm.

hannah's picture

the rubbersuit gimp guy they kept in the box in pulp fiction has nothing on steve liesman or ron insana....

swissaustrian's picture

Why aren't they looking at payroll tax receipts statistics to determine the state of the jobs market?

qqqqtrader's picture

because that would be a true picture of what's really going on. 

Wouldn't be surprised if they start counting SNAP recipients as employed because they're receiving monthly checks.

hannah's picture

gdp includes gov tax money so why shouldnt welfare count as employment ...

Oldwood's picture

Because governmental reporting agencies are mandated to find those statistics that either put the best possible light on a bad situation or lend themselves to be the most easily manipulated to show those end results. Extend and pretend can not tolerate actual facts to influence public opinion.

pinqy's picture

They do. It's the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages ( You can't process and publish that on a monthly basis, though (there's a 9 month lag) so a monthly survey of establishments is used instead. The Current Employment Statistics were just re-benchmarked based on the March 2012 UI tax records.

pinqy's picture

The adustmenst to the Establishment survey were NOT based on changes to the population estimates. That doesn't even make sense. The Census changes to the population controls revised the Household Survey and only for January 2013.

The Establishment Survey revisions are from re-benchmarking based on the March 2012 results of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (a census of the UI tax records)

q99x2's picture

Before long there will be so many people working you won't be able to get a job.

Temporalist's picture

Gold and silver don't like BS or BLS it would seem.

buzzsaw99's picture

At least the people at the BLS still have jobs.

Oldwood's picture

Is it possible to get an upward revision to my bank balances?

Terminus C's picture

It is possible, but you aren't in the club.


Kish80's picture

The time has come fellow ZHers for me to bow out of this market. In what is only my third post, I have followed the majority of articles and comments very closely - perhaps to reinforce my view that in an insane market at least on here I am surrounded by what I believe is logic, reason and a quest for financial reality. However, such reinforcement has been costly for me.

Unfortunately, my pockets have been burnt and I can't continue trying to be on what I am sure is still the right side of a trade (being short). As we hear all too often on the financial media, there are "investors on the sidelines" - I will be watching from those sidelines but as a mere spectator rather than any sort of investor.

I wish you all on here well and better luck, timing and financial success than me.

Best regards,

fonzannoon's picture

Sorry to hear hat Kish. ZH has always advocated the best way to play this market is not to play. Good luck.

Oldwood's picture

The system has been designed to keep us in the game.  We are faced with choosing between fiction which we know ulitmately destroy us or bow out and try to survive on what little savings we might hold that will quickly become worthless through inflation. Inflation is deliberate to keep us in the game. Before inflation you could bury your money in a can in the back yard with a fair assumption it would still be there five or ten years later. Now days no one believes that. We are forced to invest in the casino as it is the only way to compete with inflation, and if you are lucky enough to win on that trade, you will be taxed. Metals would appear to be the only alternative but I believe that may be another manipulated false choice as government can still determine its market value through taxation, regulation and market controls. We are trapped.

marz929's picture

Kish80, I feel your pain. I too have not fared as well as I probably should have over the past several months. I think that ZH has provided great insights into the MATRIX, but the world simply does not reside there. The investment world that is. I have finally come to realize a few very important things:

1. The stock market rises and falls based on sentiment not on the current or predicted state of the economy. I don't care if the sentiment is driven by the media, the financial elites or Ben Bernanke. Sentiment is what matters most.

2. Sometimes you just have to make your investments based on what the market gives you. Right now I believe we are in a BULL MARKET in the middle of a Secular Bear. That judgement alone, whether we are in a bull or bear market cycle, should drive your investing decisions. The type of market you invest in is about 90% responsible for the appreciation/depreciation of your investments.

3. There is never a price so low that a stock cannot still be sold or a price so high that a stock cannot still be bought. Act accordingly with you current failed investments and act appropriately to re-position yourself.

4. Most of the foks on the Board who post are "characters." You cannot really be sure about what they say or do or how they are actually invested. Many probably don't have a "pot to piss in." Some are in the game and some are running their own money. The "characters" are easy to spot as they will always pounce on you for suggesting some investment other than gold or silver. For them, the "big re-set" equates to the RAPTURE. They just can't wait to be taken up into the hands of God and look down on the lowly miscreants who failed to heed their advice. They may be proven correct in the long run but there is nor reason you cannot rationally play the game as it is currently rigged.

5. Mankind is programmed to live in a hierarchy. Just like every other animal in the world. Therefore will always be elites at the top of the pyrimad. It is simply a genetic thing that certain people have a "will to power." You can take them on, if you choose, but the odds are not in your favor. This Board is populated by people, including myself, who hate to be controlled and directed. I understand their motivations. No one wants to be manipulated and lied to. But if you know the game, then go play and TAKE YOUR PROFITS.

Peace to you Brother.

Shizzmoney's picture

You'll be a better person (even if your wallet won't have the same fate) for bowing out of this bullshit market.

I wouldn't play even if I had money, anyways.


q99x2's picture

The EURO is certainly doing well today. Bernanke must be printing like no tomorrow.

Shizzmoney's picture

Unemployment rate for people without a high school education:

January 2007 6.9%

January 2013 12%

BUT DOW 14,000!!!!!!!!!!

ziggy59's picture

Revising revisionary revisions is next!

toady's picture

I'm sorry to bother ya'll with my ignorance, but this has been bothering me for a while.

How can these weekly reports come out saying 300k + initial claims, that total around -1.5m jobs for the month, end up equaling +300k for the month?

pinqy's picture

Because while 1.5 million filed for UI benefits (and a few million more were ineligible for benefits) people were also hired and so the net change in jobs is positive.

Harnar's picture

Bloomberg- U.S. Payrolls Rose in January After Jumping at End of 2012

Payrolls rose 157,000 following a revised 196,000 advance in the prior month and a 247,000 surge in November, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The revisions added a total of 127,000 jobs to the employment count in November and December. The jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.


I believe I just commited a thought crime when reading this article from the ministry of truth

fuu's picture

We still have room in the ZH cabin at FEMA camp.

Simon's picture

I don't get it, shouldn't the pre revision column be before the post revision column ?