Here We Go Again: Following Big Payroll Miss It’s The Level Of Hiring, Not Job Openings

This other series had implicated JOLTS in overstating its figures during especially reflationary periods. For the month of March 2021, the base effects in HWOL would appear more realistic (+24% y/y) if they weren’t stacked against JOLTS JO nearly double them (+41% y/y).

Since this is clearly an ongoing issue for the BLS, understanding it more completely would require diving deep into its methodology – how, for instance, does the government ensure it isn’t double counting online ads ostensibly paid for the same job (across so many “online” platforms including social media). It seems entirely reasonable that this would account for JO’s penchant for overshooting which wouldn’t indicate any labor shortage whatsoever (just more ads per hire).

Perhaps it is that simple: technology changing the way companies do things and the government being less able to stay current.

What that means for April’s payroll estimate, as I wrote earlier the less than enthusiastic HI rate in March already proposes the same issues as we’ve been highlighting since last May which reared their ugly implications within last month’s Establishment Survey:

Either way, we’re right back to last year. Reopening is good, but that’s just never enough by itself. And if reopening while good isn’t nearly so good, certainly not quite as good as it seemed yesterday, then that tracks into the territory of more purely economic circumstances.

That’s not what will make its way into the mainstream, however, the same convention running rampant with the inflation narrative – very same one as 2018, mind you – given new life after the big miss in payrolls by this same kind of unsubstantiated, otherworldly surge in JO.

Because of this, you should expect to see a whole lot more mainstream stories, a ton more going forward, each and every one writing up anecdotes about which will assert the return of the LABOR SHORTAGE!!!! to “explain” all this. The inflation case demands nothing less; if there are questions in labor numbers, and there are a bunch, just like 2017-18, then it must be that businesses can’t find enough workers.

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Disclosure: This material has been distributed for informational purposes only. It is the opinion of the author and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any ...

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