Temporary Layoffs Spike 448,000, And US Government Says That Still Doesn’t Capture Shutdown Impact

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RECOVERY: 623,000 Full Time Jobs Lost Last Month

Temporary layoffs spike 448,000, and government says that still doesn’t capture shutdown impact (MarketWatch, Nov 8, 2013):

The jobs report was a stunner, and one reason it was so surprising is that the government shutdown evidently had such little impact on payrolls growth, which doubled expectations.

But a different part of the survey, called the household survey, showed a 448,000 spike in the number of temporary layoffs in October. To put that number into perspective, consider the rise in temporary layoffs in September: 25,000.

And yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that number, 448,000, was too low.

“Workers who indicate that they were not working during the entire survey reference week and expected to be recalled to their jobs should be classified in the household survey as unemployed on temporary layoff. In October 2013, there was an increase in the number of federal workers who were classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, there also was an increase in the number of federal workers who were classified as employed but absent from work. BLS analysis of the data indicates that this group included federal workers affected by the shutdown who also should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff.”

So, how many classified themselves as absent from work? In October, the only available data which is not seasonally adjusted, there actually was a decline of 40,000. The total number of workers on unpaid absence was 1.38 million.

It’s worth noting that the Office for Management and Budget said 850,000 workers per day were furloughed, though most of the 400,000 workers at the Pentagon were subsequently recalled.

Whatever the temporary impact, one number that the BLS has poured cold water on is from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, which had estimated 120,000 fewer private-sector jobs were created in October due to the shutdown. Were that to be the case, the economy would have suddenly shifted from one with 150,000 private-sector jobs created in September to 322,000 in October (the 212,000 private-sector jobs that were created, plus the 120,000 estimated by the White House.) There has only been three times since the end of the recession that 300,000 private-sector jobs were created in a month.

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