Never Before Have I Seen So Much Fake Unemployment & Jobs Data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Department Nails It

Labor Department today: People on state & federal unemployment insurance jumped to 31.5 million, worst ever.

Bureau of Labor Statistics today: 4.8 million jobs created, unemployment dropped by 3.2 million.

BLS under-reported unemployment by 13.7 million, based on data from the Labor Department. What’s happening is infuriating. Read and cringe.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Normally, the jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is released on the first Friday of the month. And the unemployment claims report is released Thursday every week. But this month, the monthly jobs report was also released today because of the 4th of July weekend. And now we have this delicious situation of both reports on the same day, with the Labor Department’s unemployment insurance data – people who are actually receiving unemployment benefits under state and federal programs – calling the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ survey-based report a liar. And we’ll go through them.

What the Labor Department reported today:

The total number of people who continued to receive unemployment compensation in the week ended June 27 under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers, surged by 937,810 people in the week, to 31.49 million (not seasonally adjusted), the highest and worst and most gut-wrenching ever:

The number of people receiving state unemployment insurance (blue columns in the chart above) has essentially been flat for three weeks (it ticked up this week), as many people got their jobs back while many other people were newly laid off. But the number of people on federal unemployment programs, including gig workers (red columns), has been soaring.

What the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today:

Incredibly, given the record number of unemployment insurance recipients, the Bureau of Labor Statistics dared to claim that the number of unemployed fell by 3.2 million in June, to 17.8 million, after having already, incredibly, fallen by 2.1 million in May, making it a 5.3 million decline over two months. The BLS claims to have obtained these numbers through its surveys of households.

Given that a record 31.5 million people were actually receiving state and federal unemployment insurance benefits in the latest week and that this record number of people were actually unemployed, as per the Labor Department, the BLS is now under-reporting unemployment by at least 13.7 million people (31.5 million minus 17.8 million). What a sad joke:

In the same vein of nonsense, the BLS, based on surveys of employers, reported this morning that the number of jobs jumped by 4.8 million in June, despite continued announcements of mass layoffs, after having already jumped by 2.7 million in May, for a total of 7.5 million jobs added on net since the April low. Meaning that even as millions of people get laid off every month, many more millions of people are getting their jobs back or are getting new jobs, according to the BLS.

This flies in the face of the record 31.5 million people now receiving unemployment insurance under state and federal programs.

The Labor Department’s details:

Meanwhile, the number of newly laid-off people who filed their initial unemployment claims with state unemployment offices in the week ended June 27 was 1.427 million initial claims (not seasonally adjusted), down a tad from last week but up a tad from two weeks ago. This is the weekly influx of the newly unemployed that filed for state unemployment insurance.

This influx of newly unemployed under state programs has now been in the same range for the third week in a row without further improvement. Thus, the layoffs have continued with the same ferocity – over twice the maximum magnitude during the unemployment crises in 1982 and 2009 – for the last three weeks:

The number of people who continue to claim unemployment insurance after having filed their initial claim under state programs at least a week ago – the “insured unemployed” – rose by 266,351 people to 17.92 million in the current week.

This surge of 266,351 additional “continued claims” under state programs indicates that more people are getting laid off and are being added to the “insured unemployed” than were called back to work. These people are represented by the blue columns in the first chart above.

Plus, people who receive federal unemployment insurance.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which covers gig workers: 839,563 initial claims were processed by 47 states in the week ending June 27.

Three states still have not figured out how to process these federal PUA claims, thus still stiffing their gig workers. But this is down from four states last week: Georgia, New Hampshire, and West Virginia are the remaining holdouts. Florida has finally figured out how to do this and has processed its first batch of PUA claims this week (28,380).

In total, 12.85 million gig workers continued to receive unemployment compensation under the PUA program, up by 1.79 million from a week earlier. Gig workers now account for 41% of all the people on state and federal unemployment rolls.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), covering those who have exhausted all rights to regular state and federal unemployment insurance: Total continued claims fell to 749,703. But 13 states have not yet processed any claims under the PEUC program, including, Florida.

Other federal unemployment programs include claims by federal employees (ticked down to 14,645 continued claims) and Newly Discharged Veterans (ticked up to 12,637 continued claims).

These unemployed under all federal programs combined, and under some other programs, are depicted by the red columns in the first chart above.

Official Data Chaos: BLS outdoes itself with its BS

So now, the Department of Labor reported this morning that the total number of people on unemployment insurance under all state and federal unemployment programs, including gig workers, surged by 937,810 people to a record 31.5 million.

At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics wanted to make us believe by hook or crook that the number of unemployed people fell by 3.2 million in June, to 17.8 million.

The difference between those actually receiving unemployment insurance (31.5 million people) and those that the BLS claims are unemployed has today exploded to 13.7 million. In other words, the BLS has under-reported the number of unemployed by at least 13.7 million people.

No one knows how many jobs were created on net, but it wasn’t 4.8 million as the BLS tried to make us believe, or even a smaller positive number, but a negative number, with more jobs being shed on net, because the number of people still receiving unemployment insurance since the end of May has surged by 1.3 million people, according to the Labor Department.

The BLS has thereby outdone itself in generating BS. I don’t know whether it is under political pressure to produce this BS or whether it is just incompetent with much of its staff not working properly due to the pandemic. Whatever the cause, the BLS has lost all remaining credibility with this report and has totally fallen off the deep end.

Of course, the dire unemployment data released today by the Department of Labor got practically no air time. And the BLS’s fake BS trumped, so to speak, all news coverage.

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  207 comments for “Never Before Have I Seen So Much Fake Unemployment & Jobs Data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Department Nails It

  1. rankinfile says:

    My question is why? What is to be gained by deceiving the public through data?

    • GaiusMarius says:

      Trump is in dire straights right now, with Biden leading by double digits in most polls. If they can give people a false sense that the economy is doing better than it is, then not only will people feel better about the current situation, but the stock market will go up too.

      Considering Trump’s administration lies about literally everything, it is really such a stretch to think he could get the BLS to fudge the numbers?

      • Mark says:

        If you think that Trump instructed BLS to manipulate the data you need to have your head examined.

        • Mary says:

          On his first day in office, Trump tried to bully the Park Service into inflating crowd numbers at his inauguration.

        • Anonymous Coward says:

          If you think that the soft graft of DC happens so openly as the President needs to instruct them to fudge the numbers, then you need to have your head examined. It typically happens the same way that death counts during the Vietnam war were manipulated — everyone up the chain smooths things out a little … and before you know it, the data is shite. That’s how it worked under the Obama administration. Given how corrupt this administration appears to be, there may well have been one guy at the top of BLS flagrantly fudging. It was all so orchestrated with the Press Conference this morning that wasn’t a press conference.

        • Emerson says:

          Yeah, Trump’s not that smart. Had to be Labor Secretary Scalia or someone else.

        • Ed says:

          If anything shady is going on, it’s much more likely they are not making the necessary, unusual adjustments.

          Anything subjective is at risk, even in a normal administration.

        • David Durnan says:


          Short answer is yes. Trump lies in his sleep. About 20 thousand times so far. So who’s head needs examined?

        • Christopher Herbert says:

          Trump appointed Beach director of the BLS in 2019. Beach came from the Mercatus Center at George Mason U. George Mason has a notorious reputation for taking Koch money in return for elevating Koch nominees to professorships. Even the students at George Mason have protested this manipulation of academics as a quid pro quo for the Koch money. Of course the BLS lied for Trump.

        • kurt says:

          we know trump has intervened in court cases that involve his friends. We know that he took a sharpie out to change the path of a hurricane. So please explain how having his toadies doctor numbers to make his economy look better is beyond belief? I mean trump literally lies about EVERYTHING and is corrupt as all get up. You still belief him?

        • Jack says:

          After 20,000 lies, 130,000 deaths, massive corruption, take over of all the governmental agencies…. You don’t think Trump would force the BS ( BLS) to create fake data? All those people are doing, like most republican law makers, is keep their jobs… so they gonna lie like a rug to do that!!! Of course they are lying and manipulating the data . In fact, when people are Furloughed they faint count them as unemployed, but when they start working … boom , added back to the work force . You could simply continually put the same people on furlough every other week and keep rehiring them over and over to get the numbers up… Scam

        • Ross Archer says:

          If you don’t think Trump instructed or pressured BLS to manipulate the date, YOU need to have YOUR head examined.

        • Joe Everyday says:

          Oh really? Trump is literally recorded lying 15,000+ times in 3.7 years. He lied about Covid. He lied about Hydroxychloroquine, he told people to inject Clorox.

          He lied about the size of his inaugural crowd. He lied about payin hush money for pornstars.

          No. You are wrong. You need your head examined. Anyone who could possibly trust Trump at this point is a very sick person completely lacking in judgement and discernment.

      • Shawn says:

        The COVID-19 lockdowns is what’s causing the unemployment rates to spike. Most fair minded people get that and I see a lot of the blame being directed at city and state governments. Many of those jobs probably won’t come back. The extra $600 people are getting in UI isn’t helping either.

      • troy says:

        because trump is the first and only president to lie.

        • bz84 says:

          all politicians tell lies – but trump has managed to lie – and golf – more than the last 5 presidents – combined.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Did you not see how the market reacted today? And you know Trump cares nothing more than the stock market and optics to the public. If his supporters are not buying the narrative that the labor market is on a sharp rebound, his not so hardcore base will turn before Novemeber.

      There’s also a possibility that BLS is incompetent in carrying out the survey but any way you slice it, this is highly suspicious

      “Incredibly, given the record number of unemployment insurance recipients, the Bureau of Labor Statistics dared to claim that the number of unemployed fell by 3.2 million in June, to 17.8 million, after having already, incredibly, fallen by 2.1 million in May, making it a 5.3 million decline over two months. The BLS claims to have obtained these numbers through its surveys of households.”

      • Kurtismayfield says:

        Not only the market, all people see on the news is the headline… That is why his report was done.. 4.8 million jobs.. unemployment at 11%. It’s marketing at this point.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          I agree with you km,,, but IMHO, it is not going to work except for those of us who are already convinced that pres walks on water similar to the musk one…
          For the rest of us, it seems that we will once again, hold our nose and perhaps some other organ(s) and vote for the other senile one,,, or so it seems at this point in time…
          Current pres would do well for his ”legacy” to decide NOT to be re-elected, and nominate or push through per ”party” politics a full on slate of qualified conservative women!!
          And, in spite of my always independent voting, I think there are now quite a few well qualified women on both sides of the aisles who could do a ”heck” of a lot better job of leading and managing.
          Let us be clear that they certainly could not do worse…

    • ng says:

      Are you serious? It’s an election year, pump the market to get trump re-elected. Several other things, including pump the market for pensions and the rich (including everyone on the Fed board, like jpow — the richest head of the fed ever). Don’t cause people to panic to keep society running and people in line. There has to be more to it as well.

    • Wasteland Oracle says:

      Why? – Marketwatch headline “Dow rises 300 points, Nasdaq trades at record ahead of 4th of July holiday, after strong employment data”

      • Stephen P Walsh says:

        I love this guy and his work (in a totally asexual and manly way). I hope he wins big time on his short.

      • MiTurn says:

        Agree. All this Fed data seems to be one big hustle.

        • Stephen says:

          There is currently lots of ‘hustle’ going on in this world and especially America. I will not waste the key strokes to enumerate, but the ‘aware’ here on this forum know what I am talking about. So far, the theme of the 21st Century? How about the ‘Big Scam.’

    • Mike says:

      Maybe it’s to trick the headline chasing algos.

    • intosh says:

      Trump’s re-election chances?

      • Petunia says:

        His opponent may have dementia, but the voters don’t.

        • intosh says:

          Dementia and Attention Deficit Disorder may not be the same but they have at least one common symptom.

    • happy_man says:

      rankinfile I recommend you read the book “The Sociopath Next Door” This will help you answer your question.

    • historicuss says:

      An election

    • Rent Snatchlow says:

      Victory in a day’s news cycle in the least, victory in an election this November at the most.

    • Enonboy says:

      The stock market for one – all that matters is the stock market – we are all witnessing a crime in progress.

    • Will says:

      Note that none of the above answers to your question address why the Unemployment numbers have grown steadily more fictitious for several decades.

      For example, no one actually believed that the unemployment rate was 3% or whatever it supposedly was in January either (or pick any pre-COVID month). Similarly to inflation numbers, people have been writing about problems with the BLS numbers for decades.

      Sure, the numbers could be “juiced” or whatever for shorter-term socio-political motivations, however, this wouldn’t be possible (or not to such an atrocious degree) if institutional prerogatives did not already allow for or encourage it.

      When you learn the answer to your question then, well… then you’ll know everything..

    • Donnie Spinks says:

      I have been unemployed since April 1st.
      I have filed for unemployment benefits in the state of Georgia and I have been sent letters stating how much I can receive and how much I will receive and have not received a single penny. Have been looking for a job every day because I know Georgia is the worst state in the country about corruption and cheating the federal government.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Not exactly arguing your point about GA ds, but, having lived in FL, CA, OR, AL, TN, OH, in the last 50 years or so, many places in all the first three, I can testify that at least some folks, usually natives of that county/state, in each and every one of those places told me the very same thing about each place…
        Best friend in TN, 5th generation on the same dirt, though widely traveled, swore our county there was the most corrupt in USA, and had lots of examples, but only until I told him of the time the ”federales” swept in and put every single county commissioner of my ”native” county in FL in jail, etc… He laughed and said maybe it was a draw!
        Just more evidence, at least in what is left of my mind, that any and all ”reporting” by each and every guv mint at every level has been pablum for many decades, eh
        And, to top it off, ”now a days” the media seem to be just as corrupt as the guv mints…

    • Dave says:

      Time, complacency and crowd control, that is part of what is gained. The .gov has been massaging numbers for a few decades now in order to be able to make reports look better than they are. I remember when .gov eliminated M1 money supply velocity in the 1980’s. As regulatory capture has now turned a republic into a crony-capitalist system where the wealthy pull the levers, the FED eliminates indicators which disprove this phenomenon.

    • Implicit says:

      It is all about creating hope through false data. It doesn’t make any difference about the facts. Any hope felt by the masses through media pushes the V shaped recovery hypothesis.
      They will push it until it becomes become a slow drawn out U, or until they can figure how to manipulate the GDP more than they do presently.
      “Anything it takes!”

    • It doesn’t matter. Government will print money and give it to consumers, which has the salubrious effect of inflating the monetary base and stock prices. It’s better than if these poor people were working and spending, and the money simply recirculated in the economy. People are working, the most important number. The same thinking applies to stock market earnings season. Stocks always go up, that’s why they call it EARNINGS…

    • raxadian says:


      Never trust anything you hear, not in an election year.

    • richard n alvidrez says:

      You may rest assured that alexander acosta, trumps secretary of labor spent a significant amount of time on the telephone talking to his counterparts at the BLS finally getting then to understand the necessity of restructuring their report so it would reflect a positive growth rather than the truth. trump believes all Americans are poorly educated, like his base, in the matter of political expedience. November is just around the corner and trump is desperate. this is only an example of what we will see in the coming months.

    • M says:

      The data shows trends: the trends now show increasing harm to the US economy. E.g., each increase in the number of unemployed is also an addition to the number of uninsured. Reportedly, a person who recovered from this coronavirus got a bill for medical costs of $1.1 million.

      Who will pay such bills, if many Americans do not have the funds to pay them, because they are uninsured, unemployed, and often, have continuing physical problems? Counties, states, and hospitals/medical centers will have to pay or bear those bills/costs.

      Admittedly, those bills include a profit margin. Indeed, insurers have had medical providers inflate their bills for many years, to maximize gullible insureds’ co-pays, while the insurers get agreed-upon, huge “deductions,” so they can pay off the bills by paying a tiny fraction of their totals.

      Nevertheless, the fact remains that many hospitals are going bankrupt, because they are incurring wages and other costs to treat coronavirus patients, while they also cannot perform their money-making plastic surgeries, etc. More will lay off staff or cease to exist.

      States and counties will have severe funding shortfalls, since they must pay many of the bills of the uninsured. Unlike the “Fed,” they cannot just print money.

      With the destruction of more small businesses by renewed closures, maybe also in fall or winter again, vicious circles are starting to occur with increases in the numbers of unemployed and decreases in the numbers of small businesses: the opposite of the beneficial, multiplier effects that occur with the start of new businesses, who pay bakers, restaurants, rent, etc., and thereby those bakers (etc.) have more wealth to spend, etc.

    • Andrew says:

      Ah, the Rankin File (previous e-mail writer) would indeed ask why we deceive the public with false data. Harry Rankin, infamous Socialist Vancouver lawyer, was watched like a hawk by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who built up a massive file on him. All that unlawful spying carried on for years with no results (the Rankin File was made into a film), and the same with these bogus labour statistics; numbers alone cannot change the march of history!

    • Akam15 says:

      Wow are you naive?

  2. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    Another ammo to keep this ever so hyped market up to infinity. Maybe as a society we are so conditioned to hopes and optimism, this is what we get now and majority won’t even question the stats provided by BLS because it’s just the positive narrative that we are so used to. Positive inducing headlines weeks after weeks on the labor market, carving out that tiny little sliver of not so bad news to juice the market, this tiresome pattern has been on repeat mode for the last 2 months, just wonder how much longer this can last?

    One has to wonder what kind of pressure BLS is facing to continue to come up with these rosier numbers, I mean 13.6M is a lot to under report..can’t even use the rounding error excuse on numbers like this.

    • timbers says:

      As China becomes more us replicating our Patriot Act, we become more like China with replicating their fake economic data?

    • CRV says:

      “Fake it ’till you make it” is a well known American mantra.
      I don’t know any sayings for when it all falls apart, when the faking does no making anymore.

  3. GaiusMarius says:

    Thank you for posting this, I’ve been waiting all day for your take on the BLS report. I thought last week’s 16% unemployment (if you read the fine print) was bad enough, but this is completely ridiculous.

    How can there be “only” 17.8 million people unemployed if nearly 20 million people are collecting state unemployment benefits alone, let alone the 12 million collecting Federal unemployment through the PUA part of the CARES act?

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this really feels like the BLS is cooking the books to instill consumer confidence and make the stock market go up.

    • KamikazeShaman says:

      I was waiting all day for this article as well. It goes above and beyond explaining the circumstances of this deception. Something stinks… rotten.

      Our government has propped up the economy with 2 trillion over the past 2-3 months (which is insanity) and I feel like they “need” these numbers to trend positive in order to justify that astronomical amount of spending.

      Also, these numbers will play into the debate that will occur at the end of this month regarding the extension of the CARES ACT. There is another Trillion or two to be handed out soon (more insanity) and very different opinions about who should get their hands on it.

      It’s cliche to mention this, but “it’s an election year”!

      All interested parties are pulling all the stops. All the way to November.

      • Erle says:

        A modest proposal for the rotten goomint.
        They could set up a super lottery open only to those that pay their ten bucks for. The draw would be that there are two million chances to win a million dollars. Only private citizens are allowed to play.
        The take on the bettors and the tax take would leave far less debt on the children.

    • cas127 says:

      “How can there be “only” 17.8 million people unemployed if nearly 20 million people are collecting state unemployment benefits alone, let alone the 12 million collecting Federal unemployment through the PUA part of the CARES act?”

      Wait a minute…can’t some of the 20 million state *unemployed* simply be getting the 12 million *supplements*?

      If double counting is going on, that would explain the 12/13 million differential.

      • Anthony A. says:

        A lot of people in my neck of the woods are getting both state and fed UE benefits. Something like $450 state and $600 fed per week.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Yes, everyone gets the $600 on top of the state or federal benefits. It’s automatic. That’s a special thing in the CARES act that goes on top of all claims. It expires at the end of July. But it does NOT count as a separate claim; it’s part of the same claim.

        • Sg says:

          There is a bunch of fraud on the unemployment side. I trust the Employment report more… even tough the real number is somewhere in between.

      • cas127 says:

        “But it does NOT count as a separate claim; it’s part of the same claim”


        That is basically what I am hypothesizing…if approx 12-13M *of* the approx 18-20M *state* *claims* are getting the *federal* **supplements** then perhaps definitional/wording/differential methodology is behind the 32 million Labor Dpt number…it could be a coincidence, but if you add 12 million *federal* *supplements* to 20 million unemployed **persons**…you get the higher 32 million DoL number (but the higher number would be a meaningless Mish mash of metrics if the hypothesis is correct).

        Are we sure that we know exactly what the DoL means by its higher number (which admittedly would be gibberish if the “20 (approx) + 12 (approx) = 32 (approx)” hypothesis is right.

        Admittedly this would be an almost inconceivable goof…but it does seem odd that the individual numbers add up the way they do.

        I am just wondering because a 12-13M differential is so high profile that you think the DoL or BLS would be forced to make a public comment/reconciliation of the numbers.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say. But… EVERYONE receiving unemployment insurance is getting the $600 federal supplement. The 31.5 million people on unemployment insurance are getting it. Two friends of mine (in tech) are getting it. It came automatically once their unemployment was approved and started showing up. It’s just a supplement. It doesn’t affect the count.

    • kam says:

      @Roman Sandals.
      Stop blaming Trump- every politician including every President has the BLS numbers exactly as the rules are written; however wrong those rules may be.
      If you are unemployed but NOT LOOKING FOR WORK then you are not unemployed, according to government counting.
      So, yes, you can have 31 million people out of work, collecting government welfare and only have 17 million (technically) unemployed.
      If you are not looking for work, you are Not unemployed. This has been the way things have been measured for over 30 years.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        “So, yes, you can have 31 million people out of work, collecting government welfare and only have 17 million (technically) unemployed.”

        No. In order to collect unemployment compensation, you need to look for work. Same as in the surveys. But in many states, you have to document that you’re looking for work, or else they can end your unemployment compensation. In the BLS surveys you just have to say that you looked for work at least once over past so many weeks, for you to count as unemployed.

        • Is Nevada a special case in that regard? I know Nevada has the highest unemployment rate by a margin, but here, there is no requirement to look for work in order to receive unemployment compensation. I see references to that effect in various places. For example, if you look at it states:
          “In accordance with guidance from the Department of Labor and based on Governor Sisolak’s previous waiver of the work search requirement, the Administrator of DETR’s Employment Security Division has announced that UI filers will continue to be afforded the work search waiver until further notice or direction from the U.S. Department of Labor.”

        • kam says:

          Unemployment statistics in the 1960’s through the 1970’s began to be massaged from “you have no work ergo you are unemployed” to “you have no work but are actively looking for work” to be counted by governments as unemployed.

          With our new “don’t believe your lying eyes” world, I concede to you Wolf, that I do not, and likely never will understand the mish-mash of conflicting counts.

          Nice to know you are still fighting the good fight. First 2 loads just crossed the bridge.

        • Akam15 says:

          I think the discrepancy is due to part-time workers who can still collect benefits. The 32 million taking unemployment benefits include some who are actually employed part-time

        • Paul says:

          Wolf- I think the explanation may be quite simple. Most states suspended their requirements to look for work to collect UI during the pandemic. That caused this historic decoupling and both BLS and Labor may be right, but Labor is way more right. Many states are now again requiring people to look for work so just wait for the market to see that next BLS report. It’s gonna be bloody.

      • sunny129 says:


        This is really a mind boggling report, discrepancy of 13.7 M completely missed by the MSM!

        I posted an excerpt of your report at WSJ. Not certain it will ‘muster’ thru their censors/moderators! Wait and see

        Jawboning tools. to jack up indexes:

        -Awesome trade deal around the corner
        -RE opening leading to V shaped recory
        -Vaccines on the way ( Moderna, GLEAD++

    • Maggiesfarmer says:

      I recommend John Williams –

    • Petunia says:

      I don’t know if this information is correct, but a few weeks ago I listened to a podcast where a guy explained how they calculate the unemployment number. It has very little to do with collecting unemployment, they count who has been actively looking for work in the last few months. He explained that if you are unemployed but haven’t looked for a job, you are not “officially” unemployed. If you are now on unemployment but not actively looking, because nobody is hiring, then you may not be counted.

      • historicuss says:

        The counting mechanism is askew..
        Payroll protection money going to people collecting unemployment.
        Truth is the rarest commodity in Washington DC

      • taxpayer says:

        Yes, Petunia. The implication is that a lot of folks collecting unemployment compensation aren’t actively looking for work, while a much smaller number say they’re on temporary layoff. I doubt state employment offices have any capability nowadays to monitor whether people are actively looking, whereas respondents haven’t much incentive to lie to the BLS surveyors.
        According to BLS:
        “People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Actively looking for work may consist of any of the following activities:

        An employer directly or having a job interview
        A public or private employment agency
        Friends or relatives
        A school or university employment center
        Submitting resumes or filling out applications
        Placing or answering job advertisements
        Checking union or professional registers
        Some other means of active job search

        Passive methods of job search do not have the potential to connect job seekers with potential employers and therefore do not qualify as active job search methods. Examples of passive methods include attending a job training program or course, or merely reading about job openings that are posted in newspapers or on the Internet.

        Workers expecting to be recalled from temporary layoff are counted as unemployed whether or not they have engaged in a specific job seeking activity.”
        If anybody here is actually collecting unemployment compensation, they might be able to report what checks are actually done.

  4. BioChamp says:

    Perhaps 13.6M people have suddenly decided to commit wholesale unemployment insurance fraud.


    • Jessy James says:

      Uh, not quite. There were 4,800,000 births and ZERO deaths…. See, it’s just simple math.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      I’m actually not so sure that should be /sarc/.

      What I could believe is 13M people lying to unemployment claims guys about “looking for work” (do what it takes to get the check) but being honest with the survey guys (b/c no penalties)???

      Another one could be that the state claims folks are lagging, some not even having processed claims from months ago yet, and it was worse before but might indeed be getting better now.

      And then there’s the possibility of getting paid (black market, cash) and still collecting the UE benefit, though that can’t explain employer survey data.

      Be interesting to see how they reconcile this over the next 5 years…

      • Erle says:

        “Looking for work” is a scam too. I get people that are are completely unqualified for employment in my pit. I refuse to sign their state paper by saying that they are hopelessly unqualified and tell them to go to the hospital asking for a brain surgeon gig. Innumerates need not apply.

  5. Just Some Random Guy says:

    What if…….hear me out here….gig workers are collecting UE and are also doing gig work? Hmmmm. It’s not that hard to cheat, very easy actually. You collect UE and also work on a contract basis. But you don’t submit your invoice for a month and then using net 30 you don’t get paid for another month. During that 2 months stretch you are still “unemployed” and collecting the bennies.

    In fact you can do this for several months since there’s no way for anyone to know. Taxes on the gig income is paid yearly based on 1099s. The 1099s only give a total income for the year, it’s not broken down by dates. I suppose there is a small risk, the IRS could audit and put 2 and 2 together, but the risk is near zero.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “What if…….hear me out here….gig workers are collecting UE and are also doing gig work?”
      Nonsense. You’re grabbing at straws. Unemployment claims go by SS#. Gig workers get 1099s for their income, which are reported to the IRS and employment offices. So unless you work in the underground economy, you can’t do that. And if you work in the underground economy, you cannot document income, and therefore you’re not eligible for the federal PUA programs.

      Sure, some stupid dude is going to try to commit fraud – and then get caught by a bot looking at SS numbers.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        Well yes they get reported, and I said as much. But they get reported at year end. All it says is in 2020, you earned $X as a 1099. It doesn’t say you earned it between April and July.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Geez, are you ever tired of your own mental gymnastic in interpreting pretty straight to the point data and turn it into something that fit your ever so bullish narrative?

    • tom says:

      Forget the what ifs.

      No shortage of job openings in my area of flyover country.
      Not sure about the work from home sector. But the sh*t sector, excavating, and construction are hiring. No Phd required.

      • Paul says:

        Friend of mine in Kansas City says there are help-wanted signs everywhere. Seems a lot of people prefer collecting.

        • chillbro says:

          Yeah where I am, employers can’t find any people at min wage due to severe shortage of workers. They can’t compete with welfare though, capitalism just doesn’t work unless capital is getting the welfare IMHO.

        • Guyn Kansas says:

          I live an hour from KC and go there a few times a week for work duties that I’m now supposed to do part time in 2 days instead of the 48 I used to do.

          Yes there’s plenty of jobs there and help wanted signs….. Making 8.00 an hr with tons of face to face contact with the public who refuses to wear a mask/social distance/not be an ass and usually for around 20-24 hours. OH YES SIGN ME UP FOR A NO BENEFIT, PART TIME, MINIMUM WAGE JOB THAT I CAN GET SICK FOR A BIZ OWNER WHO WON’T GIVE A SHIT.

          The truth is that if they want things to get back to normal they can either make people do the right thing by mandating it or it’s going to get worse. And those of us already laid off by employers or furloughed with promise to bring us back in the future or working part time while unemployment gives us a wondrous 51% of our previous income and the $600 taking me an incredible $55 dollars more than what I was making are being told to look for work in order to continue getting it. While assholes who think there’s no problem if we ignore it so we should just get everyone back to work denigrate us as dregs of society or deadbeats living high on the hog with that 51% + 600.

          The numbers are cooked. If they can get the papers to say it or the talking heads on cnbc or Fox then the true believers can say “See! It’s all getting better! All those other sources are lying!” and continue to believe whatever the next lie Trump and the Repub’s use as lubrication to continue not just to screw everyone else but their own voters. I know more than 30 people who were laid off. 10 got sucked into returning to work because their company got PPP money. There wasn’t any work so they sat at home and got paid 30 hours at regular pay for 8 weeks. Then july 1st 1/2 got laid off again. None got the 600.

          5 are getting it now. But the owner of the company and the management told all of them they would not get it and they wouldn’t qualify so the company was doing them a favor. Then the company got forgiveness of all the PPP loan (wages for the owner and management included plus rent plus utility payments plus the money paid to the employees.) and POOF no consideration regarding the employees now that they got what they needed out of them.

          PLUS THE FED GOV PAID THOSE PEOPLE AND WAAAAAY MORE THAN 600 A WEEK IN COMPANY EXPENSES DURING THAT TIME! The PPP loans took care of people and companies that could have taken care of themselves. And the vast majority weren’t essential or needed to run during the shutdown. Just like the bankers, gov had to ensure the people who could most afford it didn’t take a hit.

  6. Just Some Random Guy says:


    You’re assuming that every one of those 4.8M new jobs went to someone who was on UE. That’s obviously not true. A significant % of that 4.8 was people switching jobs. Or new entrants into the job market. Or people who didn’t bother applying for UE benefits when they were laid off. It’s very possible that say 2.8M of those new jobs went to those previously on UE and 2M went to people not on UE, for whatever reason. There’s your delta.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just Some Random Guy,

      “You’re assuming that every one of those 4.8M new jobs went to someone who was on UE.”

      Nope, I didn’t assume any such thing. Read the article. The ENTIRE article and don’t assume that I said something that I didn’t say.

      You need to understand that the “4.8 million jobs” is a net figure from the establishment (employer) survey: the total of all new jobs filled, minus the total number of jobs lost. The figure is jobs, not people. So if I switch jobs, it doesn’t matter in the count. What matters is if my company now as 12 employees on the payroll during the survey period, but it had 10 people on the payroll the prior month. This should show up as a net gain of 2 jobs, no matter who switched.

      So if some employers reduced their payroll by a combined 2 million people in June, while other employers increased their payroll by 6.8 million in June, it would have produced the net of 4.8 million new jobs. And the Labor Department data completely pooh-poohs that. There was a net job-loss of 1.3 million in June, according to Labor Department data.

      • Cas127 says:


        I’m confused by the state vs. federal distinction made on the first chart…I thought states *administered* *all* unemployment claims while the Feds might (and now definitely *do*) provide *supplemental payments* as part of that state administration.

        Since backing out the Federal component on the first chart brings it’s unemployed numbers much, much closer to what the BLS is reporting (admittedly you would think an actual count would be much more accurate than a survey…) perhaps there is some definitional or methodological confusion going on.

        Have the DoL or BLS made any announcement at all on the huge differential?

        It is too huge to be missed/ignored, so that is why I am wondering about definitional or methodological issues.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The supplemental $600 a week has nothing to do with any of this. They’re just on top of all this.

          In terms of the distinction of federal v. state claims, these are different programs, such as the PUA which is a federal program, paid for by the federal government, to cover gig workers, who are not covered under state programs. But the program is administered by the states. The reason it is separated from state claims is because the DOL reports them separately. There is a lot of explanation about this further down in the article.

  7. Linas says:

    Wolf, what portion of the discrepancy do you feel can be attributed to part-time workers? It would be ideal for folks to collect $ from multiple spigots and employers likely wouldn’t mind enabling this.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Practically none. Unemployment claims are tracked by SS number. Gig workers get 1099s and part-timers get either 1099s or W-2s, all with SS numbers. Everything is reported to the employment office and the IRS, either quarterly or annually. Plus, the unemployment office checks with the employer to document the unemployment claim.

      You’re going to get caught if you’re trying to commit fraud because everything is documented and reported. The Nigerian fraudsters in Washington State got detected too within just a few weeks and kicked off the unemployment rolls.

      So if you work in the underground economy, then that’s not reported, but you cannot claim unemployment insurance because you cannot document your income and your employer. And so you get now money, and you don’t show up in the unemployment claims data.

      • Steve says:

        I could be wrong but last time I worked in the employment office, 1099’s never got reported to us. Its a federal form that gets filed annually to the IRS. State’s Unemployment offices rely on monthly reports filed by Employers showing W-2 employee data only as part of their UI remittance.

      • Linas says:

        Thanks Wolf, but I don’t think it’s fraud. Part-time workers are eligible for reduced unemployment benefits in many (most?) states. But they can also now collect the extra $600/wk under the CARES act. Thus, they are technically employed and unemployed at the same time.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        ” Gig workers get 1099s and part-timers get either 1099s or W-2s, all with SS numbers. ”

        One can earn 1099 **AND** W2 income simultaneously. It’s easy to cheat the UE system Wolf. As I stated before, 1099s only provide a yearly total but say nothing of when that income was earned. A 1099 with $50K of income could be all earned on Dec 31 or earned throughout the ear $1000 a week. Or something in between. But from a 1099 there is no way for the IRS or anyone else for that matter to know how or when the income was earned. That’s why it’s easy to earn 1099 income while claiming UE.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          It’s “easy” to rob someone on the street too. If you want to violate the rules, sure, all kinds of things are possible. There are risks associated with it. So most people don’t do it. A few might, and I don’t quibble with you about that.

      • I can’t speak for other states because I only know my own state, but here in Nevada, if you work in the underground economy and cannot document your income, no problem. If you look at the last question in the FAQ at,
        the question is “What if I do not have the documents to prove my income? ” The answer: You still qualify for unemployment compensation.

  8. DR DOOM says:

    William Casey,past CIA Director, said that he knew that the CIA was doing its job when the whole country believed a lie. Mike Pompeo,Secretary of State, was yuking it up about that is what the CIA does lie,cheat,and steal. Every Regulatory Agency in the government has been captured by corporations or special interests money thrown at Congress and the Executive.What dumb ass American thinks Casey or Pompeo wasn’t talking about government in general. I don’t believe jack shit on,what comes out of governments pie holes. If you believe government and its corporate /state run media stay the hell away from me.

    • sunny129 says:

      @ DR DOOM
      Glad, I am NOT the only one with that ‘mind set’ NOT to believe the govt-data, that easily!

      What Pompeo said is utterly shocking but true since it was recorded by a Christian Broadcasr Co crew, by chance! They are so arrogant, that they don’t care and most public are apathetic and are sleep walking! so sad!

    • coalman says:


    • BuySome says:

      I’m with you and then some..throw in every organized group of clowns with any agenda they want to pump. Every one of their mouthpieces is well deserving of finding out just how far Sgt. Hulka with the big toe can shove it up their a**hole.

    • timbers says:


  9. Mark L says:

    Hi Wolf – thanks for posting this! I was pulling my hair out this morning at the shear ridiculousness of the NFP number.

    Clearly in the BLS’ own report they state: “the household survey response rate, at 65 percent, was about 18 percentage points lower than in months prior to the pandemic.” They are admitting that the data is less than ideal but I guess no one reads past the headline. I would guess there is political pressure to report good numbers.

    Absolute mockery.

  10. JustTruth says:

    Yes, we all get very angry but you know the drill. Government lies 99% of the time. Government agencies are soical control mechanisms – NIH, FDA, FBI, BLS, etc. Their job is to protect the current government in power. Period.

  11. Jeremy Wolff says:

    DoubleThink. 1984. Enough said.

  12. Dan says:

    We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

    That was the actual Casey quote.

    Perhaps they’re wrapping things up now…

    • sierra7 says:

      Dan: (and, all others)
      Forgive me for the links Mr. Richter…..
      “Necessary Illusions”
      “Thought Control in Democratic Societies is a 1989 book by United States academic Noam Chomsky concerning political power using propaganda to distort and distract from major issues to maintain confusion and complicity, preventing real democracy from becoming effective.”

      “Manufacturing Consent”
      ” The Political Economy of the Mass Media [Herman, Edward S., Chomsky, Noam]” Available in both book and video; UTube for the video, free.

      Just these two publications alone will give the average interested person a real good look “under the covers” of our “modern” society and how most governments attempt to “control” their citizenry.

  13. Putin on the Ritz says:

    The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.”

    Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs

    Everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Alexi Yurchak termed hypernormalisation.

    Could COVID 19 be our Chernobyl moment?

    • Fat Chewer. says:

      We’re there.

    • polecat says:

      Maybe the time will soon come, whereby we will all be forced to quaf down a big heaping gulp of Perestroika.

      Some how, I find that not very refreshing ..

  14. lisa2020 says:

    Excellent call!

    The overwhelming effort is to distract, retract, and confuse further:
    it’s called trumping!

  15. Cordelia says:

    They are different data sources. The BLS unemployment is based on a survey, and there have been issues in collecting the data, but they are not supposed to alter the data. It is worth noting that the data from the employer (establishment) survey implies net job losses since February that initially imply substantially higher unemployment (17.3% versus 14.7% for April), but narrow through June, so the implied unemployment rate is only a little higher for June (11.7%). The implied job gains in May and June are actually larger than implied by the CPS (household survey). One possible explanation that I have seen is that the claims data has duplicates. I agree that the data looks out of line with expectations, but I have worked with BLS data for many years and trust them. That leaves open the possibility that the survey data has problems associated with altered procedures during the crisis.

    • Jana Christo says:

      This is probably a case of “garbage in, garbage out” and not intentional altering of the data.

    • sunny129 says:

      ‘I agree that the data looks out of line with expectations, but I have worked with BLS data for many years and trust them’

      Missing 13.7 Millions unemployed and under reporting? Wow!
      May be you took different Math class than me!

      • JB says:

        Aye, in January, these numbers were around 2 million. I can’t imagine 18 million jobs disappeared. What permanent damage does a pandemic do?

  16. Mike Dubya says:


    Any chance that the Labor Department double counted some?

    Does the BLS count gig workers?

    Not trying to dispute your findings, just trying to further validate my SH short.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I doubt that the Labor Department double counts because states have names and SS numbers to track the data. Sure there are always some screw-ups. Also and more importantly, states are STILL behind in processing claims, and the actual numbers we will eventually get will be higher still.

      The BLS, in its household surveys, should count gig workers that have lost their work. But it’s clearly not counting very hard.

      • KurtZ says:


        Thanks for tracking all these numbers and generating so much great material. Maybe the best writer on the internets.

        Cant remember if it was Orwell or some other contemporary of his, but he tracked the number of oxymorons in the language, as a gauge of the level of corruption in the culture.

        We can now add Bureau of Labor and Statistics to that oxymoronic tally.

      • Tom Jones says:

        Isn’t it possible to be be in both categories: having an open valid unemployment insurance claim, AND be working. Someone I know got one Payment for EDD but nothing else until months later. In the meantime was recalled to work…yet still had an open claim for back payments due; including all the weeks of $600/week. This of course was a disaster T the time; but the point is, she may have been counted in both categories: Unemployed (having a claim) and working (having been recalled).

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The EDD gets the data from the employer when they hire a new body. It’s done online, and very quick. I have to deal with this too. This would flag that person as having returned to work, and she gets pulled off the unemployment roll.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          If person gets job in new state, the new state EDD and old state EDD probably aren’t communicating.

          Not much issue in big state like California, but could be a factor on the East Coast where state-of-residence and state-of-employment are more often different (e.g. around NYC).

          Or, given how overwhelmed the states are right now with high claims levels, could be they haven’t done all their catch-up accounting yet? What would be near-automatic in normal times may not be happening now.

  17. timbers says:

    1.99% unemployment by November! Dow 40k!

  18. lewis says:

    It is fairly well known that BLS stands for “Bureau of Lies and Shenanigans” and they have outdone themselves once again. Good work Wolf dissecting the latest fraud. Have a great 4th of July weekend.

  19. MCH says:

    Runs over and stick my tongue through the hole in my cheek while putting on my wolf warrior garb.

    Wolf Warrior #1: ” Thank you Mr. Richter for being honest broker of data. As clearly seen by all, western government lies about the data to hide the truth from its people. They are aided and abetted by the western media which back up those lies with their fake news. There is only one honest broker for credible, concise, and plausible data, the Chinese government. And the few sources of truth like the Global Times, CCTV, or the People’s Daily. All approved sources. Thank you.”

    Wolf Warrior #2: “yes, yes, fake news, fake data from the Imperialist dogs of the West, much much worse than fake gold in China vaults.”

  20. lisa2020 says:

    Looking for a total of US-unemployed is just like looking for a total of US-COVID-19 deaths. You won’t find those two simple totals anywhere. But, IT keeps everyone searching for the results. Keeps us all busy working. Whether or not anyone actually gets paid for any work, the Fed keeps the money flowing everywhere.

    I think I’m in love with the FED!

    I musk be ded!

  21. Tony says:

    Could this be because of the reverse opening of the economy?

  22. Gandalf says:

    The BLS also calculates the CPI, which we all know is cooked to a deep fried crispy dark with hedonics and substitution – and this has been going on for decades, starting in 1983.

    The BEA calculates the GDP, whatever that is in our service economy, and “real GDP” gets cooked further by adjusting with the cooked CPI.

    So there, the US is not that different from China cooking its economic numbers.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      At least here, we’re still allowed to poke holes into it without getting thrown into jail for life or be disappeared, knock on wood :-]

      • Raymond Rogers says:

        Unlike the Epstein madam who should have gone on the Joe Rogan podcast before she shoots herself in the back of the head two times.

    • Michael Droy says:

      Thing is all those fake CPI numbers actually do compound to give a big misleading net figure.
      But all those Chinese lies about their GDP fail to compound at all – and it really did grow from a third of US GDP in 2000 to a quarter bigger now using PPP.
      Maybe they aren’t lying.

  23. MonkeyBusiness says:

    The Washington Post has an article about service industry workers especially the ones in hospitality. They got called in by their place of work but then they were furloughed again because of the latest pause in reopening. Supposedly the workplace survey was taken BEFORE the furlough, so next month, the BLS will have to really work hard to produce a positive number.

    But yeah, welcome to the People’s Republic of America. The only thing left is to negotiate the terms of surrender.

    Firing is hiring.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    America has the least dirty laundry.

    I am currently reading the book Slouching Toward Betlehem by Joan Didion. This is about California in the 1960s/70s. It’s scary how prescient she was. She could see the whole darn thing coming decades ago.

    • Mike G. says:

      There is no better writer than Joan Didion. Her essay “Goodbye to All That” still gives me goosebumps and I must have read it a dozen times since college.

  24. Rowen says:

    The PPP loan is creating some really weird employment stats. This has happened to several of my friends in the restaurant biz who received PPP loans.

    1. They furloughed almost workers, hourly and salary, in March when the state shut down F+B.
    2. The CARES Act created two separate unemployment tracks. Some workers made more with PUA; some workers made more under the PPP, especially considering insurance and retirement benefits.
    3. The problem is that many employers took PPP loans using Feb payroll figures, assuming many of the lower wage workers would come back. LMAO.
    4. Government responded by dropping the payroll requirement for forgiveness from 75% to 60%. Because of the collapse in demand, some biz are struggling to even meet the 60% number.

  25. Brant Lee says:

    I usually skim around websites in the morning to get a quick read on things. I went to to get the precious metals news when I first saw the unemployment numbers:

    “Gold prices are hovering around $1,780 an ounce, Thursday, after the Bureau of Labor Statistics said 4.8 million jobs were created in June. The data significantly beat expectations; according to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see job gains of around 3 million.”

    They quoted the BLS numbers, then said Economists were expecting 3 million new jobs.

    Really? Were economists (whoever the heck that is) expecting 3 million new jobs?

    Talk about grains of salt. You can’t believe anything until you see it for yourself.

    • BuySome says:

      I read Kitco as my supplement to Laurel & Hardy, 3 Stooges, and Marx Brothers. Nothing like a daily delusional laugh!

  26. NDM says:

    Wolf, could partial unemployment count for some portion of the discrepancy? People receiving some benefits while still working less hours due to cuts in staffing.

  27. Adam Smith Engineer says:

    Is it possible that there is overlap in the total number of beneficiaries? For example some people may be receiving Federal unemployment benefits and State benefits at the same time and the total number of people who receive some benefit is a bit lower than the 31 M number? I understand it does not explain all the discrepancy, but jus curious.

  28. Paulo says:

    Terrific article and mucho thanks for all the distillation. (Data not spirits).

    Hmmm survey based?

    I don’t know about other folks here, but when my phone rings and I don’t recognise the #, or there is that survey ‘pause’, I usually hang up. If caught and asked to respond to a survey, I usually decline and feel irritated (especially during election windows). There must be a better way to gather this information about jobs and new hires.

    My favourite question about work and well being goes like this: Is your family better off financially and/or in wellness than it was last….. Or, do you feel more or less positive about the future now, than you did this time last year? If survey people are going for subjectivity instead of numbers, they might as well be up front about it.

    • Dave Kunkel says:

      I usually don’t respond to those telephone surveys, but once in a while when I feel ornery, I answer their questions with outrageously absurd replies.

      I can be a lot of fun to see how long it takes them to catch on.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Paulo, My phone is am old Kyocera DurPro flip phone (“they don’t make ’em like they used to”) and it has on the main screen a tap button says “Dismiss”. I let an unknown number ring out so as not to inform the “caller” the line is active and touch ‘Dismiss”. Don’t even have to take additional steps to clear the phone’s memory.

  29. George W says:

    Got Junk?

    Back in December I quit Amazon and picked up a job at JunkKing.
    The hours were unpredictable to say the least( some days 4 hours some days no work ).

    I kept asking how anyone works with such unpredictable hours.
    Basically the response was that their significant other made so much money, they really didn’t need to work.
    I went back to Amazon.

    Prior to Amazon, I worked on the AESD( Army Enterprise Service Desk ).
    Amazon is better. sic.

    • Young Buck says:

      But Mnuchin was on T.V. and said we never hit 30 million unemployed! (Sar)

      • polecat says:

        He should be wearing jailbird threads, don’t you think?

        … there are other feathered-nesters who are suitable for such attire.

  30. Michael Droy says:

    I was going to say these are figures by Elon Musk and Tesla,

    But more likely it is WeWork
    or rather We(don’t)Work.

  31. Johnnie Sun says:

    When is someone going to take advantage of both sides of the story and claim unemployment is going down and millions are scamming the system? DOW goes up and social services go away. Sounds like a winner strategy.

  32. George W says:

    Because of my Amazon flip/flop I am no longer eligible for unemployment.

    Unemployment insurance at least in Utah is not a cake walk.

    A few years back I was on unemployment for under a month and managed to get audited. The unemployment rate at that time was next to zero, so all eyes were likely on me.

    You are required to apply for and document at least 4 Job applications per weak. One of the survey questions is whether or not you received a response from the applied for position.

    An autoresponder message that the company received my resume does not, in my mind, qualify as a response from the company and that is how I recorded the event.

    I was of course audited, as the State of Utah submitted a dummy resume to the same email address, received an auto responder “response” and down the audit hole we go.

    • Petunia says:

      I was thinking about the gap problem myself. In Florida you needed 20 months of continuous employment to qualify for unemployment, during the GFC. Under these rules, if you qualify for unemployment, then go back to work, then get laid off again, you are probably out of luck in Florida. The unemployment system there was designed to screw the worker.

  33. Bobby Dents says:

    They have been massaging the numbers since April. The Trump BLS is far shittier than the Obama era one in that regard. Watch the 2020 prelim for benchmark(2019) and you will get my point. Clinton was the opposite. It was conservative and under reported most of the time.

    BLS data probably needs to be overhauled how its done. B/D model stuff doesn’t work and the way they are moving large segments of the labor market around to fit a narrative simply needs to stop. Here are the rules, follow them.

  34. AF says:

    Thanks again for cutting through the BS from the BLS. I knew the number this morning was a lie.

    Thanks again for another great article.

  35. Sinbad says:

    Here in Australia most unemployed people receive government payments.
    Those receiving what is called the dole in Australia used to be the official unemployed number. During a time of high unemployment the government introduced statistical surveys, to improve the accuracy ?
    For a while both figures were published, the new survey data always showed lower unemployment than the number of people receiving the dole. Today the number of people receiving the dole is no longer available, it’s now some sort of state secret.
    Lies damned lies and statistics.

  36. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    Some (many) people just NEED to believe. There is ‘just’ no other way.

  37. fred flintstone says:

    Sorry to say……years ago there was pressure……but government was civil service and most folks understood the word morality.
    Morality……like he is a family man…..leave him alone. He’s just doing his job. I might not like what you say but you have the right to say it.
    So numbers from the gov which were produced in a very cumbersome way were somewhat attached to reality……as best they could be. Not always but most of the time.
    Today……if you don’t go with the flow……you are the enemy. Civil service… matter…’ll be abused until you cave……with the rest watching carefully and learning what will happen to them if they don’t knuckle under.
    You have a family……well I don’t and if you don’t behave we’ll take that away from you. As far as your rights…..don’t say a word if you want to keep your job. The union……how quaint. We don’t run a sweat shop here…..just work 24/7… available 24/7……and keep your mouth shut. Isn’t freedom great. We do pay more than China…..for now.
    and we wonder why Powell does what he does.

  38. john29 says:

    It seems obvious to me that much of the soft “survey” data is no longer valid. A survey depends on a high and regular participation rate. That is consistent from reporting periods. But with the situation now, so many are depressed that a much larger number are not responding to surveys. Thus many unemployed and in other survey data, the really bad depressed people are no longer responding to surveys and thus making the survey data no longer useful.

    But the BLS is sticking with their process which is no longer valid. It is like taking a political poll and way oversampling the happy people because the depressed are longer responding or do not trust surveys anymore.

    The BLS need to address the response problem and get the response rates back up or redo their entire process. For sure they need to state up front and highlight that survey response percentage is way down which makes the data less reliable and maybe invalidates a report if the response rate falls below 75-80%.

  39. Cobalt Programmer says:

    Lies, Damned lies and statistics… (Mark Twain)

    Its all election year. COVID19 is an unanticipated adverse event. Who could have thought about a virus causing chaos in 2020?

    Lot of people talk about redundancy in the government departments. No need of two different government agencies calculating the same variable. If two separate departments are doing the same job one of them is expendable. However, if a airplane is flying at 20,000 feet height, there is need of redundancy. In today’s world, the importance of redundancy is that at least one of them will refute the lies. Discrepancy.

    (Reports based on the traffic) In DC area traffic is picking up. Looking at lot of temporary tags in cars. Either the cars are bought new or DOT is still closed. Traffic is slowly creeping up. Not anywhere near the pre-covid levels. Most of the people did not drive around during the last four months. I can say.

    Some say B did the protest. Blood on their hands. R were also equally careless (defiant) in their states. Now, all I worry about is…This better be the second wave. If this is the first wave for the texas and florida, then, blame the China.

    Called back to job. 25% of the pre-covid levels. Its a mess. Anyway, a man gotta work…

  40. Rcohn says:

    Does anyone believe anything that the government publishes or anything ANY politician says?

  41. SocalJim says:

    The economy is recovering just fine. Of course, the politicians are out spreading COVID fear to improve their chances in the November election. However, it is not working. People are not hiding in their homes any longer. People are out buying and the stock market is rallying. We are only half way through the V shaped recovery and people that politically gain by tearing down the economy are getting desperate. America is back.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Weren’t you the one who, three months ago, said repeatedly that Covid-19 would just disappear by early summer as it gets warmer, and we’d be done with it by now? But by now, in your neck of the woods, infection rates are surging. Imperial County ICUs are filled to capacity with Covid-19 patients, and they have to move some of them to neighboring counties. There are big outbreaks now all around the country. You can close your eyes and pretend it isn’t happening, but it’s still happening.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      I am going to take a wild guess and assume you also hate Gavin Newsom and group him as one of those politicians out spreading COVID fear and enact commie lock down measure.

      You know, this 4th of July weekend, there’s still places you can go to live your freedom, I suggest Huntington Beach, it will be packed with bunch of freedom thinkers like yourself

      • SocalJim says:

        Hintington Beach is too crazy for me. I am a Newport guy.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Huntington Beach and Newport Beach will be closed 4th of July, given the surge in infections, local officials decided. So you’re going to have to defy the rules.

    • Yertrippin says:

      Yes, my friend went on a ventilator today as a result of Covid. Conspiring with the fear mongers I suppose.

      What’s the big whoop huh brah.

      Find a mirror ASAP.

    • Jon says:

      The housing market in social is heating up day by day to my surprise

      Even people are buying Teslas in drove not sure where are they getting so much money if the people are hurting so much financially

      • polecat says:

        They’ll be hurting all right, as they hurtle non-stopped into a freeway median wall!

        Quite the fireworks display, from what I’ve read.

      • Petunia says:

        People are borrowing from the govt loan/grant programs. If you have any side hustle, even a utube channel, you are a small business owner and qualify for a loan/grant. It’s free money.

  42. DR DOOM says:

    Your neighbor gets a mulligan, your spiritual leader gets a mulligan. The family member that ain’t ever gonna pay you back can get a mulligan. If you cheat on a spouse you are a lucky son of a bitch if you get a mulligan . Government has power over you, life and death in some cases and for sure power over your treasure. You cannot give government a mulligan. Government ain’t nothing to trifle with. Governments are lethal . Lying cannot be rationalized away by wrapping yourself in a warm blanket of cognitive dissonance. July 4,1776 was a direct result that we were tired of dropping mulligans to George. One cannot waffle on this aspect. This is a teachable moment.

  43. Robert says:

    ” The BLS claims to have obtained these numbers through its surveys of households.”

    I’ve never received a call from the BLS in my entire life (older guy), and no one in my immediate family has either.

    Has anyone who reads WolfStreet ever been contacted by the BLS?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I have received a post card with an online pass code to complete the survey online. It’s compulsory. You have to do it, it says, to avoid sampling error. What’s the penalty if you don’t? I don’t know; maybe more postcards. It’s the Census that actually performs the survey-taking, not the BLS.

      • BuySome says:

        The punishment is the additional cards come “postage due”. If you don’t send it in 30 days, there’s a billing fee, extra charges, and 14,000% interest on the balance. Any challenge must go through the phone bank in India.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      “I’ve never received a call from the BLS in my entire life”

      I’ve never been called for a political poll. I guess all polls must be fake. Wait that is probably true. So maybe you do have a point. :)

  44. KPL says:


    Looks like at this rate (of propping up the market with Lies & Statistics till the elections) you would have to wait till Nov 2020 to collect on your shorts

    • SocalJim says:

      The market will have a downward shake before November. Currently, market action indicates the pres is re-elected even though the polls say otherwise. The market knows the president has hit a weak patch, but the Dems went with the wrong guy. Soon, the market will start pricing in the possibility that he loses and the shake will happen. The shaking should be substantial. The shakes around the debates will be fun to trade. My opinion is the president only wins if the job market continues to improve.

  45. Noelck says:

    I just hate to see all the victory laps people are taking. We see this with the virus and there seems to be no honesty or humanity to it. We need some humility.

    There appears to be 30 million unemployed and perhaps tens of millions infected with Covid-19.

    I have never been more disappointed in our leaders and country in my life.

    • Raymond Rogers says:

      The covid steadily burning through the population is not a bad thing during the summer months. I’ve been following the numbers. The lethality seems to be much lower. I suspect this to be not only because of a less lethal strain, but also because the body is not fighting the elements that make the fight that much more difficult . Much easier to deal with covid than to deal with covid coupled with pneumonia. Of course the most susceptible should continue to isolate.

      The unemployment on the other hand, is a different story. We lost three major pillars to outsourcing/monopolies- heavy industry, manufacturing, and commerce. The country has been pillaged for the last 50 years. It’s time to tarrif across the board. This shouldn’t be looked at in a negative light. Most governments worldwide should do the same according to trade imbalance they have with other nations.

      • Chris says:

        “Of course the most susceptible should continue to isolate.”

        And that’s the problem. This tiny minority who are at extreme risk, trying to survive, constantly working around the other 95% of the population acting like morons. You say “of course” like it’s a straightforward, routine, thing to achieve. I can only begin to imagine what the last 20 minutes of life must be like gasping for breath, at the same time as adrenaline is released into the body as the fear response kicks in. Death possibly can’t come soon enough.

        Am I going back to restaurants etc? A “v” shape recovery? political shenanigans, no moral hazard, bare-faced liars all over national and local politics, in the media? They should rename U.S.A to, ironically, United Shithole of America.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          Chris, isolation for us in the “tiny minority” is not as hard as it could be: The existence of the Amazon online food supply is one example. I think most of us who are old have long since realized that we cannot rely on universal, or even widespread, citizen’s responsible behavior. We are on our own and we know it.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          ”THASS RIGHT”” rdb,
          WE the elder PEEDONs are either pretty well acquainted with the stone cold fact that the guv mints, with a very few exceptions, really do not care about any of us Peedons, no matter our age and other factors.
          So, with that very clear over the last several decades, most of us still in control of our bladders will only ”keep our powder” or any other ammo as dry (or wet as the case may be) as possible and ready for the day when we can ”release” it all onto the shoes, if not somewhere else of our masters… and this without any regards to race, age, ”alphabet ID, “etc., etc.
          And won’t that be fun, at least for the first few minutes (likely all we elders can do, eh)

        • Chris says:

          The 5% can’t expect the world to stop for us and I don’t think we do, which you appeciate, (“we are on our own…..”)
          I may have been less than clear. My point is really that if the world wants to go to heck in a handcart, then i can’t do much to stop it. But neither do I want it dragging me down with it.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Raymond Rogers,

        It takes three-plus weeks from an infection surge before death rates surge. So you have to be a little bit patient here before coming to conclusions.

  46. malonie says:

    YOu know, I just thought of something…it could account for the millions missing: I get PUA and PEUC. So, The way I see it, I would count 1 for the Blue and 1 for the Red which we all know 1+1=2 , but really 1+1 =1…so there’s overlap count on the 31.5 million count. Not sure but it could be?

  47. Thomas Wolfe says:

    When massaging the data isn’t enough you have to lie. The BLS gets this and the Labor Dept soon will. Being that US Gov stats now only serve to allow markets to maintain an illusion of a functioning economy, I’m surprised any factual data manages to leak out of the propaganda.

    • Thomas Wolfe says:

      To add,

      The BLS (as most Gov agencies and politicians are keenly aware of) knows that markets rally just as much on a lie as they do on the truth. Algos don’t differentiate nor do they care, and the smaller percentage of human traders left must simply follow the money.

      But I do appreciate Wolf pointing out the latest BLS scam. If this were YouTube, FB or Twitter I’m sure he would have long since been banned on the premise that facts contradicting Gov data are hate speech or racist.

      With the recent explosion in censorship & gov propaganda (not to mention protestors rioting FOR censorship), the US has gone to a dark place much faster than I could have imagined and COVID looks like only the catalyst for the inevitable.

  48. Hendrik Wagenaar says:

    There are many similarities between autocratic regimes: faking or witholding data to make the regime look better is one of them. I recommend the latest book by the great democratic theorist John Keane, ‘The New Despotism’ for more perspective. The sad thing is that the Western financial press accepts the doctored US figures at face value and, rightly, distrusts Chinese numbers.

  49. Harvey Cotton says:

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics is an independent government body unbeholden to political pressure – just like President Trump’s National Park Service, the Justice Department, Federal Reserve, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, etc.

    So if the government says that Trump set inauguration attendance records, or that burning coal is an important component for fighting global warming, or that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama in their forecasting, you believe it – because the alternative is abiding in “Conspiracy Theories” or, worse, hoaxes.

  50. flashlight joe says:

    …lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  51. Greg Rasphon says:

    How much is inflation, C.P.I. and other statistics understated for years now. It is the way they changed the calculations of statistics. Under Obama, the same thing was happening big time. It is the labor department’s doing.

  52. Cooking Figures says:

    It seems there’s a general consensus that BLS figures are cooked. Not only that but the “beauty”??” of it all is that they manouvered to issue their report simultaneously with that of Labour Dept. so that it literally killed the effect of the latter. And we all know why this was done, don’t we.
    But my dilemma is: Who can do anything about it and make the public much more aware and expose the scam to the whole country?
    I’m afraid this situation reminds me of the story about the mice which wanted to put a bell round the vicious cat; each one agreed on the motion, but no one volunteered.

  53. Pete Koziar says:

    The BLS adjusts their data via their “birth death model:”

    I suspect it’s all blowed up thanks to COVID. According to that web site, they have made adjustments but, to me, they don’t look adequate to cover the employment carnage underway.

  54. Manufacturing jobs will return to the US, though probably not in time to save the progenitor of the bring jobs back movement. Politics is sometimes cruel in that way. The labor market tightness has been shattered. Corporations now call the tune. They return their plants to a nation with a highly educated labor force, poor and beaten and willing to take anything (after the benefits run out). Then USG can start to claw back some of those corporate tax cuts and of course the workers get tagged at the paymasters window. If you’re tired of that Uber gig, or stuffing boxes at Amazon, workers will find the good old assembly line is a bit of (comic) relief. Only the very youngest and least educated will actually be hired, government subsidized factories for former deplorables. You get to keep anything over and above UBI. In the 30’s anyway the labor movement provided some hope.

    • Pete Koziar says:

      There are only three ways that repatriating manufacturing jobs could work:

      1. Automation. This is already taking place – factories that once employed hundreds or even thousands now operate with a dozen or two. The only reason that Asian factories employ so many is that their staff are cheaper than robots.

      2. Wholesale repeal of minimum wage laws so US wages can fall to 3rd-world levels.

      3. High tariffs on imports to make them more expensive than US-produced products. (or the collapse of the US dollar)

      Note that there are plenty of other places in the world than China that are still cheaper than the US – other Asian countries like Vietnam, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, or even Africa (which could be a serious factor if their labor were better educated).

      We just quoted injection mold tooling. In China, it was about $30K, in the US, over $300K, which was more than the whole development budget. No way could we use the US tool.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Get rid of most of management and reduce the insane CEO/worker pay ratio.

        Won’t happen? Yeah, absolutely right. Too many people with hands in the cookie jar. CEOs, middle managers, lawyers, etc, etc.

  55. Gomp says:

    This is a reply to all here. Kool Aid comes in many flavors. Some of you need to switch it up a bit. Stay away from the chocolate and licorice.

  56. Jonzo says:

    Maybe the Federal Government has decided to just report State unemployment numbers and not unemployed Gig people using the PUA ?

  57. Linas says:

    I just read the BLS report, it looks like an additional 9,062 thousand folks are classified as “Part time for economic reasons”. Many of those 9 million could legally be on the unemployment rolls. This could happen if they were called back or newly hired after the shut down in a part-time role; most states let you collect partial dollars if you can’t find a full-time gig. An extra incentive to return to work in this manner is that you still get an extra $600/wk.

    • Petunia says:

      There are ways you can be employed and on unemployment. Most states have a one week of unemployment before you file rule, which has now been rescinded.

      If you had some wages the week you lost your job, and the wages exceeded the state benefit amount, you are unemployed but not eligible for any benefits that week. If you are on unemployment but work days here and there, but do not earn more than the state benefit, you can still get a benefit. In both these cases you are unemployed having worked less than a full week.

  58. Kasadour says:

    I apologize if this has been asked and answered, but what about fraud in the system? Could fraudulent claims like the ones we saw in Washington State in May account for some of this discrepancy? From what I recall, fraud accounted for at least $300 mm in payouts (most supposedly recovered) as well as surges in initial claims in May. I haven’t read if any other states experienced similar fraud and whether the fraudulent claims are included in the totals.

  59. KP says:

    …an alternative explanation.

    It could be that:
    In other words, the BLS has under-reported the number of unemployed by at least 13.7 million people.

    .but how about the opposite conjecture?
    Under the CARES act, unemployment benefit is an extra $600 and applies to self-employed and gig workers. It exceeds average wages in most states. It also comes at a time when monitoring of misclaiming is very low. So I’d redraft it as follows.

    In other words, the generous level of benefits has encouraged 13.7 million to claim when they aren’t actually unemployed. The BLS, by contrast, has accurately reported the number of unemployed.

    • NDM says:

      No. Read the BLS survey FAQ, and their recent comparison versus UI claims. The BLS figures are likely bunk for a few reasons:

      1. The BLS survey now has an 18% lower response rate (65% versus 83% same time last year). There is massive sample bias here, the response rate alone calls into question the validity of the data.
      2. The pandemic is a wholly new scenario that is causing havoc with the typical survey response. The BLS admitted to, and is apparently trying to address inaccurate responses. To be counted as unemployed you basically have to say “my hours/job was cut due to the coronavirus” – but if you say anything else you get lumped into the employed bucket. This included people self-classifying as “employed but not reporting to work” even though they were temporarily laid off or furloughed. This alone accounted for a roughly 3% increase in unemployment in May, and about 1% in June (per the BLS). Also, if you classify yourself as not working right now due to illness, you are counted as employed. I have suspicions that this is another potential reason for miscounting – I can imagine many people saying something about coronavirus that might lump them into this bucket (IE “I’m not working right now due to Covid”).
      3. This is the big one – due to relief legislation, you do not have to be looking for a job right now to receive unemployment benefits. The BLS Survey DOES NOT COUNT THOSE NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB AS UNEMPLOYED. It doesn’t include them in the count at all, they are labelled as “out of the labor force”. This is to me the biggest error.

      All this information is in the BLS report and FAQ.

      • NDM says:

        Oops, didn’t mean to say “hours/job was cut due to the coronavirus” but “economic reasons”. The “coronavirus” response could cause some to erroneously be labelled as “employed”. IE “I am home due to the coronavirus/health reasons” rather than “my job was cut due to the economic downturn surrounding the coronavirus”.

  60. No Comment says:

    What everyone is failing to take into account is that the government is giving the federal unemployment out to nearly any and everyone, so even people who are underemployed or have had their hours cut (this only mostly applies to hourly workers) then they are still claiming under employment and getting full $600. So not so sure the corelation between people getting the money and those still unemployed is really accurate…strange times we are living in for sure.

    • tex says:

      Came here to say the same – people being counted as “unemployed” are not really unemployed because most companies decided to cut their employee hours rather than conduct layoffs because they are not sure if this is a temporary situation and that once they layoff a person they may not be available later.

  61. Martin says:

    Hi guys,

    I am still confused about the numbers. Can someone look on the calculation below it, if I get it right?

    – In USA there is 160M active workforce.

    – USA Department of labor says, that there is unemployment rate 11.1% in July. That means (160/100*11.1) = 17.76M people without job.

    – USA Department of labor says there is 19,290,000 insured unemployment – it means people who lost job and now have support from government. That calculate to (19.29/160)*100) = 12.05% unemployment rate.

    – USA Department of labor says there is 12,853,163 people recieving benefits from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Which mean self-employed or gig workers. When we add it to “regular unemployed” 17.76M + 12.8M = 30.56M = (30.56/160)*100 = 19.1%

    So the real unemployment is 19.1%

    I am also curious, when this PUA will end, where will be this 12.8M people located? Under non-working force? Or they will just disappear?

    The numbers are from here:

    I also found this table and just to scroll over the numbers is very impresive:

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