Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BLS lays a big fat egg

I thought this was interesting enough for a new thread, it looks like the government is pretty desperate to not show the unemployment spike in the educated workforce.

The data is BLS_CPS (unadj) age 25 and over, by educational attainment levels.
Formula: Dec. 2008 levels (subtract) Oct 2008 levels to determine the change.

There was a significant change in the employment levels that was not reflected in the unemployment statistic for the months of November through December. 

Change in Employment Levels = -1,814,000

College Grad or Higher = -638,000
Less than Bachelors = -389,000
HS No College = -499,000
No HS Diploma = -288,000

Change in Unemployment Level was only = 555,000

Where did 1,259,000 people go? Did the population decline? No!

Change in Civilian noninstitutional population = 377,000

College Grad or Higher = -498,000
Less than Bachelors = -67,000
HS No College = 478,000
No HS Diploma = 465,000

How do we lose 498,000 college grads and higher and 67,000 "some college less than bachelors degree" -- 26,000 of these are Associate degrees. Keep in mind that Oct.1 was H-1B commencement day, and in 2006, there were 113,000 new H-1B visas issued.

Change in educational classifications:

HS No College (Plus) No HS Diploma = 943,000
Subtract Growth in NonInst Civ Population = (377,000)
Total = 566,000

College Grad or Higher = -498,000
Less than Bachelors = -67,000
Total = -565,000

If you will grant me the rounding error of 1000 persons (see: Footnotes on the data below), it sure looks like over a half million people from the "educated" classifications were moved to No college/No High School diploma classifications. But again, where did the 1.29 million people go?

The BLS doesn't offer a "Not In the Labor Force" (NILF) query for age 25 and older, but it's an easy calculation. The problem is that if the BLS reclassified the degree holders, there is no sense in breaking it (the NILF) down by educational level.

Not In the Labor Force (NILF):
October 2008
Civ NonInst Population = 197,044,000
Subtract Employed = (126,786,000)
Subtract Unemployed = (6,627,000)

Oct. Not in the Labor Force = 63,631,000

December 2008
Civ NonInst Population = 197,421,000
Subtract Employed = 124,972,000
Subtract Unemployed = 7,182,000

Dec. Not In the Labor Force = 65,267,000

Change in Not In the Labor Force = 1,636,000
Subtract growth in Population = (377,000)
Total = 1,259,000

There's the missing persons who didn't make it to the Unemployment statistic. No, it wasn't guestworkers leaving the country..

Footnotes on the data:
The Educational Attainment classifications, "Some college, no degree" and "Associate degree" are combined in the category,"Less than a Bachelor's degree".  In order to reconcile the Educational Attainment classifications with total "NonInstitutionalized Civilian Population" the parent category "Less than a Bachelor's degree" was used and displayed a rounding error in December.

December 2008
NonInstitutionalized Civilian Population = 197,421,000

College graduates (bachelor's or higher) = 58,005,000
Less than Bachelor's degree = 51,422,000
High School graduates, no college = 61,898,000
Less than a high school diploma = 26,097,000

Total of educational classifications for Dec. = 197,422,000

The totals of the Educational attainment categories did not reconcile
in December, but reconciled excatly in October.

October 2008
NonInstitutionalized Civilian Population = 197,044,000

College Grad or Higher = 58,503,000
Less than Bachelor's degree = 51,489,000
High School graduates, no college = 61,420,000
Less than a high school diploma = 25,632,000
Total of educational classifications for Oct. = 197,044,000

downloaded on 1/12/2009
Unadjusted series, age 25 and over by educational attainment.
http://www.bls.gov/data (Current Population Survey)

NonInstitutionalized Civilian Population
College graduates (bachelor's or higher)
Less than Bachelor's degree
High School graduates, no college
Less than a high school diploma

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