More BS from the BLS

In an early morning press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that it would no longer include “people” in any of its estimates of US unemployment. According to the press release, the move is part of a new initiative to “more accurately report US employment figures through a measured omission of irrelevant data, stemming primarily from the coincidental fact that people exist.”

The new calculating practice — being dubbed the “What Unemployment?” model — is meant to replace the controversial “Birth/Death” model, which the BLS has long-used as a way to make up for the lag in reporting associated with the creation of new businesses. But according to a BLS spokesperson, the B/D model exhibited some serious design flaws, namely that it “factored actual people into its data set.”

“While the B/D model has done an adequate job of calculating employment growth in the United States,” the spokesperson for the BLS said today, “we were never quite satisfied with the numbers it supplied us with.” Adding, “By eliminating completely the very source of the problematic data (i.e. human beings), we expect those kinds of numbers to become more readily available.”

When asked what the source of the new employment data would be, the spokesperson replied stoically, “Bees… Or ants. We’re not really sure yet. But rest assured, we are exploring all of the options at our disposal, and whatever we find gives us the nearest account of full employment, that is what we will base our new model on.”

While the spokesperson declined to answer further questions on which species was the frontrunner thus far, he did mention that they would refrain from counting any bees that had given up looking for pollen.

Proponents of the WU model herald it as an important step in procuring the type of numbers that, as one BLS official put it, “the US is wholly capable of producing, but that other, perhaps more accurate methods, would seek to prevent.” Adding, in a stunning display of doublespeak, “By making sure the numbers reflect strong employment growth, we can ensure that the effect of these numbers is correctly attributed to the larger number of people these numbers are meant to affect.”

The new mission statement found on the BLS’s website — “Numbers don’t ruin economies; people do” — attempts to frame the new model in a simple, evocative light, and according to the fine print on the home page “is in no way meant to be taken ironically.” The slogan is designed to rouse support for the controversial new method.

Of course, the drastic change is not without its fair share of skeptics, most of whom are people. Person Alan Goldsmith, for example, quickly posted on his Twitter feed, “I mean, c’mon… Bees? Really?” Another person, Jean Hardapple, went on record as saying, “People are essential elements of the economy. I understand that we foul things up sometimes, but that’s no reason to disregard us completely.”

Despite being named as a frontrunner for the source of the new data, no bees were made available for comment. Ants, however, did create five new colonies on the National Mall in Washington, DC — a move many are claiming is an overt power play to win the nomination.

Stocks rose 96 points on the news.


Greg Kadajski,
for The Daily Reckoning