What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Michael Höhne's picture
Michael Höhne
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 16 2008
Posts: 119
What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

I watch the US unemployment numbers very carefully every month and have stored the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted data of the civilian labor force and unemployment since 1948. A few minutes ago I opened http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab1.htm to retrieve the December values. Astoundingly the seasonally adjusted values of the civilian labor force and unemployment have changed starting from January 2005. Everything before shows the same values that were reported a month ago.

As an example, here are the seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers of 2008 as reported in December and today:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Dec 2009 7555 7423 7820 7675 8536 8662 8910 9550 9592 10221 10476 11108
Jan 2010 7628 7435 7793 7631 8397 8560 8895 9509 9569 10172 10617 11400
 Difference 73 12 -27 -44 -139 -102 -15 -41 -23 -49 141 292

 Was there another adjustment introduced recently? It's weird to see numbers changing for the past from November to December.

 

Thanks

Michael

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Re: What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau ...

Duplicate post deleted.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Re: What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau ...

Interesting.  Anyone else that wants to confirm this has changed can look at this old report:

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/empearn200901.pdf

and download the numbers using the tool Michael pointed out in his post.

So the question: Honest error or manipulation?

 

Michael Höhne's picture
Michael Höhne
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 16 2008
Posts: 119
Re: What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau ...

I contacted the BLS and they replied really fast:

Quote:

It is our standard practice to update the seasonal factors in the seasonally adjusted series every year with the release of December data.  Data for the prior 5 years are subject to revision.  An announcement of this upcoming revision was made a month earlier in the Employment Situation news release for November.

Information about our seasonal adjustment practices, including the annual revision of the last 5 years of data, is available at http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsrs2010.pdf. 

So the modifications of seasonally adjusted data seems occurring every 5 years.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1323
Re: What happened to the 2005 - 2009 data from the Bureau ...

Interesting.  I still don't think I like the numbers being tweaked 5 years in the past.  Seems a bit fishy to me....

Thanks for the update...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments