One look at recent trends in the payrolls data, especially the important numbers beneath the headlines, and one will be left with the impression that there is an unprecedented amount of (political) data goalseeking, if not outright manipulation, taking place at the Bureau of Labor Services.
Case in point, last month we reported that in addition to the strong Establishment Survey payrolls number, which was revised even higher to 326K this month, there was an even more impressive number: a record 1 million full and part-time jobs were added according to the Household Survey.
One month later you can scratch all of that, because according to the latest data, the 729K full-time jobs added in February was a fluke, and in March, the number actually declined by 311K; in fact in recent months it has been swinging so hard, a simple regression model suggests that it is more based on noise than any underlying signal.
Meanwhile, as full-time jobs tumbled, part-time jobs continued to rise, and as shown in the chart below, they increased just enough to offset the drop in full-time jobs: Part-Time jobs up 310K; Full-Time jobs down 311K.
And a longer-term perspective.