Posted Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at 8:36 AM
BLS reports today that the economy added 114,000 new jobs (with, I remind you, a +/- 100,000 confidence interval) in September. Upward revisions to July and August data found a total of 86,000 new past jobs. Separately the household survey reports a fall in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, which brings joblessness below the politically salient threshold of 8%.
I'm going to look deeper and do some more analysis, but I do have to say that the recent rebaselining exercize that discovered almost 400,000 missing jobs was a reminder that the online press has started paying too much attention to this monthly data. It's based on a statistical sample with a large margin of error. It gets revised twice through the sampling data, and then is subject to further revisions as per the rebaselining. A strong number is better than a weak number, but there really isn't a ton that can be inferred from month-to-month fluctuations until they're well in the past and we have more accurate data.