Jobs Debate Heats Up

The October Jobs Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) came out last Friday, and it was incredibly positive. 204k jobs were added by the official measure, enough to send the stock market up and make everyone happy. Well, not everyone. There were some strange features in this report that only accelerated the criticism of this report that started the month before and sharpened the political debate over jobs in the new economy.

Much of this is long overdue, but some of the criticism was weak and pointless all the same. Labor force participation has fallen from 63.2% of all workers to a 35 year low of 62.8% – a figure that may or may not be important. And anyone paying attention to the ADP Employment report has to question where the great news came from seeing as the latter had a gain of only 130k jobs. What on earth is going on?

The short answer is that everyone is starting to question everything. It’s a good thing – if we can sort it all out. Let’s give it a try.

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