WSJ: “Rot in the job numbers” … yeah, but a week late.

This morning, the WSJ published an editorial titled “The Hidden Rot in the Jobs Numbers ” by Prof. Edward  Lazear, who was chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09, is a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Strong credentials, right?

The punch line: “Hours worked are declining, resulting in the equivalent of a net loss of 100,000 jobs since September.”

No kidding, Prof. Lazear?

Loyal HomaFiles readers are already aware of that … assuming that they read last Monday’s post: Smokin’: Employment growth exceeds expectations … oh, really?

Gotta crow a bit on this one … beat the WSJ by a week.

Here’s what we said last Monday:

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Smokin’: Employment growth exceeds expectations … oh, really?

The headlines are that 175,000 jobs were added in February.

Proof positive that the Obama economy is kicking in.

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Hate to rain on the parade, but ….

The number of unemployed folks increased by 223,000 … more than than number of jobs added.

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So, the unemployment rate  ticked up  6.7%.

Only a 1.10th of a point change but, still, wrong direction for a recovery.

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More important, the average number of hours worked dropped again.

Note that the 2012-2013 average was about 34.45 hours .

The drop to 34.2 sounds like no big deal … what’s 10 or 20 minutes, right?

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But, even a small number times a very big number gives you a  big number.

I like to look at a metric called FTE’s … full-time equivalent employees … simply the number of people employed times the average number of hours worked divided by 37.5 full -time hours in a week .

Technical Note: Use 40 hours if you want or, if you’re an ObamaCare aficionado, use 30 hours … the point of the analysis doesn’t change.

Note that when employment is restated into FTEs, you get a different answer: the labor force is shrinking, not growing.

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I guess that’s good news since more people are being “liberated from work”.

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