TrimTabs Explains Why Today's "Very, Very Suspicious" NFP Number Is Really Down 2.9 Million In Past 2 Months

Tyler Durden's picture

We have examined the nuance of the euphoric jobs data this morning from every angle and by now there should be plenty of 'information' for investors to make their own minds up on its credibility. However, the avuncular CEO of TrimTabs, who despite channeling Lewis Black lately, likely knows this data a little better than the average Jim on the street having collected tax witholdings data for the past 14 years, is modestly apoplectic at the adjustments. In one of his more colorful episodes, and rightfully so, Charles Biderman notes that "Either there is something massively changed in the income tax collection world, or there is something very, very suspicious about today’s BLS hugely positive number," adding, "Actual jobs, not seasonally adjusted, are down 2.9 million over the past two months. It is only after seasonal adjustments – made at the sole discretion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics economists – that 2.9 million fewer jobs gets translated into 446,000 new seasonally adjusted jobs." A 3.3 million "adjustment" solely at the discretion of the BLS? And this from the agency that just admitted it was underestimating the so very critical labor participation rate over the past year? Finally, Biderman wonders whether the BLS is being pressured during an election year to paint an overly optimistic picture by President Obama’s administration in light of these 'real unadjusted job change' facts. Frankly, in light of recent discoveries about the other "impartial" organization, the CBO, we don't think there is any need to wonder at all.

TrimTabs believes the job growth picture lies somewhere in between TrimTabs estimate and the BLS’.  Looking forward to February and March, we will have a much cleaner picture of job growth as we move away from the effects of tax law changes, bonus season, and enormous seasonal adjustments.

A comparison of TrimTabs’ real-time withholding tax based employment results versus the BLS’ preliminary and revised results from January 2011 through January 2012 are summarized in the following table:


and from details from his blog (for the press corps to perhaps dig a little deeper):

Obviously I am quite suspicious of the numbers that I see in today’s BLS press release.  Remember most financial journalists and even stock market strategists do nothing more than rewrite government press releases. So do not expect very few others to question the good news.


For those of you who care, look at Table B-1, Total Nonfarm Employment in today’s BLS press release. Start with the non seasonally adjusted table that shows that in November 2011, there were 133.172 million actual jobs. Actual jobs dropped by 220,000 jobs in December and actual jobs dropped an additional 2.7 million in January. Only as a result of unknown seasonal adjustments, could the BLS report 243,000 new hires in January.


Yes, the labor market contracts during the winter and expands in the spring and summer.  Could this number be manipulated? Of course it could. Is it? I don’t know. Am I the only suspicious soul out here? Hope not. Certainly feels lonely right now.

Finally, and this is a repeat of what we said prior using SIFMA data (so originating at the US banksthemsleves), for the US unemployment to be declining, Federal tax withholdings have to be rising: there is no way around it! Instead, as the chart below shows, trailing quarterly collections have just turned negative.


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SmoothCoolSmoke's picture

Bernake:  "Scoreboard"

economics1996's picture

Civilian employment dropped from 140,681,000 in December 2011, to 139,944,000 in January 2012.  737,000, their numbers.

economics1996's picture

141,070,000 - 139,944,000 = 1,126,000 jobs lost last two monts = bull shit propaganda.

GetZeeGold's picture








Arthor Bearing's picture

Does anyone have access to data regarding past seasonal changes in the job market? Jobs numbers in Dec/Jan from past years? Any information that might shed light on how they do their adjustments? This would be a great bullshit call for an aspiring journalist or a contrarian. I'm too fucking busy ;)

TruthInSunshine's picture

C'mon people, there is NO WAY that the jobs data was manipulated...not even remotely.

Joe Wiesenthal, the BLS & EVEN BARRY RITHOLTZ all said that the seasonal adjustment (voodoo/shamanic ceremony) that was performed was statistically appropriate and turned what were an absolute (and identifiable) 3 million lost jobs in the prior two months into a net gain of over 440,000 jobs during that same period.

People, if Barry Ritholtz is in agreement, surely Charles Biderman, the CBO (which HAD U3 at a SIGNIFICANTLY higher 10% just DAYS AGO) and anyone else who dare question the methodology employed by the BLS in arriving at their U3 figures, or more significantly, the very U3 data reported by the BLS this morning is merely spewing sour grape and/or is politically opposed to President Obama's reelection and/or is a pessimistic/doomer and/or is a party pooper.

All is well, bitchez!

Enjoy the fantastic recovery.



falun bong's picture

It's getting to be like commissars reporting the results to Comintern of the latest Five-year Plan:

" We need 1,285,311 shoes, how many cows did we raise for leather this month comrade?"

TruthInSunshine's picture



Unemployment 8.3% for January 2012 - 243000 Jobs, Really?

 ‎ - Economic Populist

...Additionally the 2010 Census data was incorporated into part of the unemployment survey which gives unemployment rates and demographic data. Previously unemployment rates, participation rates were based on the 2000 Census data, with statistical yearly adjustments. Here's the crux of what changed:

The adjustment increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in December by 1,510,000, the civilian labor force by 258,000, employment by 216,000, unemployment by 42,000, and persons not in the labor force by 1,252,000.

Below is a running tally of how many official jobs permanently lost since the official start of this past recession, with the new numbers. Increased population growth, implies the United States needs to create at least 10.27 million jobs or self-employment. This estimate assume a 62.7% civilian non-institutional population to employment ratio, as it was in December 2007, which implies an additional 4.69 million jobs were needed over a 49 month time period beyond the ones already lost.

8.230 million of the 26.87 million part-timers working low hours are doing so because they cannot get full time jobs. We cannot compare the change from last month due to the Census adjustments added to the December data. So, one needs to realize that's a hell of a lot of people stuck in part-time jobs who need full-time work.

The employment to population ratio is now 58.5%, no change from last month and at record lows. You have to go back to the severe recession of 1983, October to find such low ratios. The uber-low ratios are not a structural change, such as all families decided to have a stay at home caretaker, or magically a host of people could retire early, or magically all young people went to school as some want to claim. The low employment to population ratio are people dropping out of the labor count. Once can see this simply by the cliff dive on the ratio during 2008-2010. There is no way magically, suddenly, a huge increase of population volunteered to drop out of the labor force. These ratios are with the 2010 Census population adjustments incorporated.

These numbers are important because unemployment is a ratio, percentage or during a limited time period, the number of people actively looking for a job and counted. Many people are not counted in the official unemployment statistics, yet when looking behind the official numbers it's clear America has more potential workers and less jobs in so called recovery than during one of the worst post WWII recessions.

The January 2012 unemployment report incorporated many statistical adjustments. Additionally one cannot compare the monthly changes between December and January because all of the adjustments are added to the December 2011 data only, not spread out over the entire year, which makes a monthly comparison statistically invalid.

We'll be reviewing sections of this months unemployment report in excruciating detail so check back! Leave your questions in the comments and we'll try to dig out the answer in the BLS data.

Unemployment 8.3% for January 2012 - 243000 Jobs, Really?

 ‎ - Economic Populist

Cdad's picture



Lol!  Two prize fights in one weekend.

1st:  Mark to unicorn zombie banks vs. recently defunct hedge fund CDS...on the obvious impending Greek default...often over the last 12 months referred to as a "soft reprofiling."

2nd:  Zerohedge/Rick Santelli vs. Reuters

Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuumble!

Cdad's picture

Oh, I'm sorry...I didn't really explain.  The link comes from the twitter account @ForexFranky.  Forex Franky is a push account for Reuters as far as I can tell.  I have made a small deductive leap here.  Although Reuters is not in the link address, the boneheads don't even bother to change the color scheme from the usual Reuters site...where you can buckets and buckets of establishment vomit on a daily basis.

I'm not sure how much a lot you ZHer's know about "News Service" but a lot of the clap trap you see in the MSM is simply regurgitated wire copy that pours forth from "the establishment" minute to minute.  I should know.  My father was in the business for decades and at war with these "news wire" guys on a perpetual basis.  After all, it is a lot easier to simply rip the print from the wire and run with it...rather than investigate, write, or stick you neck out in any way.  My old man...he was not build like that.




Left Right Wrong's picture

Anyone else google "Avuncular"? lol


And by google, I mean use "Duck Duck Go" as I have become more concerned with online data mining.

francis_sawyer's picture

reuters is a Rothschild entity

Cdad's picture

It is quite clear that the MSM is trying desperately to get attention...while trying not to look desperate doing so...and sometimes not really representing itself clearly.  Old media is dying in this world, and while I'm pretty sure that those boardrooms are constantly filled with conversation that sound like  "we're not getting our message out" or "we need to be forward looking"...the truth is, that Average Joe, who is supposed to be dumb as a rock mind you, has long since figured out that the Reuters of the world, the NBCs, the CBSs, the NYTs...are full of shit.

It isn't a matter of "getting their message out" in a new is the failure of their integrity.

As for the Rothschilds...I'll leave that one to you.

EscapeKey's picture

I think you're the first person ever to quote Joe Weaselthal.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Wow! 243000 New Jobs Created in January

The Economic Populist Speak Your Mind 2 Cents at a Time

Wow! 243,000 New Jobs Created in January

Submitted by Numerian on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 10:24

While a whopping number of jobs were created in January, a far larger number of people left the labor force - 1,752,000 in fact. The percent of the total working population who did not have jobs rose to 36.7%, an all time high. It’s no wonder the unemployment rate fell, when the denominator shrinks so markedly. The total number of people employed fell by 737,000. So what do you want to celebrate – the 243,000 who got jobs, or the million or so people who dropped by the wayside and are no longer counted in the data?

It makes you wonder how much faith you can put in the Labor Department reports. For example, the government, the business press, and Wall Street rarely report on the fundamental ways in which the US labor market is changing, with so many people dropping out of the work force. The press has had a hard enough time getting to grips with the Labor Department’s Birth/Death model, which over time adds to the number of people reported as employed. The model is supposed to compensate for the inability of the government to get good information on the number of new businesses created every month and which presumably add to employment. The problem is the model has been shown in the past to have significantly overestimated the number of jobs created by new businesses. Economists still don’t know if the model is appropriate, and how much of the 243,000 jobs created this month are the result of the Birth/Death model.

economics1996's picture

Arthor we do not have the secrets of the BLS but typically it was normal to correct, maybe 0.2% for seasonal adjustments.  And you can justify the "smoothing" of the numbers.

The latest adjustment was 0.5%!!!!!  This is why everyone is screaming and yelling.  It is a complete deviation from the past and complete bullshit.

economics1996's picture

I mean why not make it 1% if you really want some propaganda points, WTF, just make it 6% by election day.

Everyman's picture

No but this is what I sent to the DOL OIG seeking an investigation for the DOL BLS UE calculation and responses.



Inspector General,


I formally request a complete investigation on the incorrect and misleading way that the BLS calculates unemployment in this country.  Our employed workforce actually has been contracting for over 3 years.  In addition to that ALL the BLS announcements have been reviese "up" aomst 109 consecutive weeks, meaning what is reported for the stock market and Wall streeters is usually depressed, when in reality it is much worse. 


I am forwarding this to my senators and representatives to get this thing moved along for the country.  This lying by a governmental agency to the very people that are paying for these services of YOUR department deserve so much more than this.  This report gets quashed, it goes to Drudge and underground and viral. 


The "seasonally adjusted" rate is incredibly forgiving and does not represent true numbers.  For instance this month alone the "seasonal adjustment" was 3.3 million up.  No jobs were "created", infact 2.9 million people LEFT the workforce as verified by, and several other sites, as well as the INCOME and SS taxes paid all went backwards at the same rate of 2.9 million lost jobs, not 447,000 GAINED as claimed with a 3.3 million math correction mystically added in.


The information is out ther and abvailable, but the reality is that YOUR DEPARTMENT IS LYING, and we know it.  Government is there to serve we the people, and now that is is to your attention, it is time for you to kick some asses.  There are people in DOL that need to be fired for putting out this bunch of shit to taxpayers and we pay for this shit!  Here is how easy it is for me an unpaid non governmental type to find out, from the DOL's own fucking numbers:


The economy is NOT healthy, and all this lying and window dressing DOES NOT SERVE THE CITIZENRY OF THE USA!!!  These lies only help the political classes.


So please for the sake of the country start this investigation and get us SOME REAL FREAKIN' NUMBERS so we can FIX THE FREAKIN' PROBLEMS!!!!!!


Thank You

CrashisOptimistic's picture

I remain unwilling to believe that the entire BLS office gets up in the morning and rides the Metro to work with the intention of spending every day of their career lying.


I *would* believe that seasonal adjustments that expect big ramp ups in Spring and Summer to do home building are based on a decade's worth of norms that no longer apply.  Then in winter they would try to balance out the plummet in the raw number by an estimate of how many home building jobs shut down and adjust upward to deal with that.

In other words, the seasonal adjustments are not properly redefined for the New Normal.  The seasonal tweaks are wrong and the overall tweaks are wrong.

They are living in the past.

nope-1004's picture

I remain unwilling to believe that the entire BLS office gets up in the morning and rides the Metro to work with the intention of spending every day of their career lying.

What about the Fed, Treasury, FBI, DEA, FEMA, on and on.  They don't lie, do they?

Too hard to believe little ol' BLS lies?  LOL.  They all fucking lie - starts top down.  Government is corrupt through and through.

Remember this one:

Now listen to me loud and clear.  This is the last time I will say this.  I did not have sexual relations with Miss Lewinsky, not once, not ever.



EscapeKey's picture

It's called compartmentalisation. The further up the chain the numbers go, the bigger the "adjustments".

TheSilverJournal's picture

In addition, the participation rate for those 55 years and up is at multi decade highs, so the entire drop in the laborce is falling on the shoulders of those below 55.

TheSilverJournal's picture

If you're going to hate, at least be right. It's pretty clear he's calling bullshit on the propaganda that the US is gaining jobs.

Captain Kink's picture

This is the real Friday Humor.

Manthong's picture

I was feeling kind of bad about the phony BLS statistics that are leading a lot of people into delusional ruin when I realized that our valiant FBI guardians of domestic justice are all busy busting dangerous fake NFL merchandise hucksters in Indianapolis.

Goldilocks's picture

To quack or not to quack: that is the question?

"Huckster" & "snake oil" can be inadvertently (or deliberately) used to besmirch the works of Hoxsey & a like...

while i'm at it... the "tin foil hats" phrase patronizes orgone collectors, such as the one adorned by Aleister Crowley.

See Royal Raymond Rife & William Reich for more.

Schmuck Raker's picture

SJ, I wasn't hating.

I just couldn't find the numbers he referenced and thought he might actually be mocking TrimTabs. I found his numbers later, on Table A-1, and answered my own questions.

Silver Bug's picture

Of course these numbers are completly bogus! When is the last time the government released a legit number?!

Hman's picture

Asskeys, the government statistics are 100% true (just had my 2nd blue pill for the day, they are not as effective as the use to!)

Blue Dingo's picture

Fewer people working, but if the BLS can make the denominator smaller at a faster rate than the job losses the unemployment rate will continue to drop.  Soon the denominator will be zero, no jobs left and 0% unemployment just in time for November!

Randall Cabot's picture

Biderman is basing his case on withholding taxes up until the end of December but Adler on another ZH article shows the graph right through January and taxes clearly spike in that month until the last week:

"The real time Federal Withholding Tax daily data for January, which I dutifully cover each week in the Treasury updates, showed a massive surge beginning in late December." Adler surmises that there could have been a large amount of money in bonuses and sales commissions paid out in that time leading the BLS to interpret this as being from an increase in employment rather than from higher pay for some and seasonally adjust the jobs number incorrectly.


disabledvet's picture

STOP THE PRESSES! STOPPPPPPPP THE PRESSES! Apperently "the voices of Zero Hedge have been heard" and "the BLS has now responded" such that ALL THE WORLD can now know PRECISELY how these numbers were arrived at:
i agree "this a rather spirited form of number crunching." I mean...what else can i say? Clearly the video speaks for itself....

HoofHearted's picture

The old Disraeli quote comes to mind, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Even better is a quote I've run across lately, by the historian Andrew Lang: "Some people use statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts- for support rather than illumination."

The BLS needs its own 12-step program. (And notice that we have used its correctly here, grammar Nazis.)

Spastica Rex's picture

And what is the root word of "statistics?"

xela2200's picture

I saw a statistic once that said that 79.8% of ALL statistics are made on the spot.

lasvegaspersona's picture

grammar Nazi #6 agrees

the GN thing is in the blood, don't hate us

I Got Worms's picture

If millions of jobs were lost in a forest, and no one was around to report it, were they really lost? Or something like that...

Captain Kink's picture

I'll say it again...   Vaporized.

Translational Lift's picture

It now appears that the Gubment has 100% control/cooperation of all the MSM (Main Slime Media).  No one, I repeat, NO ONE has done anything but regurgitate the outlandish BS from BLS.  NO ONE in the media has had the temerity, spine or integrity to examine the BLS numbers and reveal just what exactly this admin has been doing.

In the past I have felt sorry for the way things were going in this I fear for the way things are going.

This will not end well!

azzhatter's picture

Just saw Maria Fartiroma with Bob Pissonme talking shit about the great recovery. Maria looks like she's got those fat old lady tits now, all saggy. This station is better than comedy channel

Squid Vicious's picture

maria was the biggest whore on the floor back in the day, bj's for everyone with a nice title

The Axe's picture

O got one...women could suck a golf ball thru a garden hose

juangrande's picture

Hey, we're supposed to be denegrating Maria here not pointing out her pos. attributes!

Randall Cabot's picture

She could debone a chicken with her tongue.