I’m expecting tomorrow’s jobs report to be lower than predicted

Debate shifts to quality of jobs
Kerry says new workers make less, but do the numbers jibe?

I haven’t read the story, but I think tomorrow’s report will show fewer jobs than analysts expect. Why? Because the report is getting coverage. The night before. And it’s expected to be good.

If it were expected to be bad, we’d have been hearing about it since Monday and would have been told all about how Bush planned terror alerts to draw attention away from the bad news.

Since it’s expected to be good, and attention is being drawn to it beforehand, I predict that it will come in at least 20% lower than expected.

I didn’t go on the record last month, so I’m doing so this time around.

UPDATE: The MSNBC.com article says that 220,000 new jobs are expected to be reported. So, based on my guess from the media coverage, I’m estimating about 176,000.

Here are some numbers for your review. They are pulled straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and cover the past 25 years.

  • ‘May’, ‘June’, and ‘July’ are total non-farm jobs (seasonally adjusted) as reported by the BLS.
  • ‘Annual’ indicates the average reported jobs in each of the 12 BLS reports for that year.
  • ‘Year Change’ indicates the change from January to December of that year.
  • ‘Annual Change’ indicates the change at the end of the year from the end of the previous year.
  • ‘June Change’ indicates the change from May to June of that year, with the average change per year at the bottom of the column.
  • ‘July Change’ indicated the change from June to July of that year, with the average change per year at the bottom of the column.

All numbers are in thousands.


If I’m right and about 176,000 jobs were added in July, it will be well above the average July report for the past 25 years, but well below the typical year under Clinton. In fact, if you discount the previous three years of the Bush administration, the average is about 154,000, so 176,000 isn’t much to talk about.

The MSNBC story I link to calls the 112,000 new jobs on the June 2004 report “relatively anemic”, but while slightly lower than the average for the past 25 years, it’s not a lot lower and it was the best June report in five years.

One last thing: Both the May and June numbers for this year are preliminary. I expect both of them to be revised upward a little in tomorrow’s report, and I expect June’s numbers to be revised up a bit more next month. We’ll see.

If I get a chance, I will post an updated table tomorrow after the report comes out.

UPDATE 2: I put together this table by importing BLS data into Excel and adding some fields. Upon reviewing it for a follow-up post, I’ve caught a formula error. It has been corrected and the table reposted. My apologies.