Last week, one of the most anticipated stats in the payroll report–Average Weekly Earnings–showed an annual increase of 2.9%; exceeding both the 2.5% expectation (also the actual figure in last month’s report).
2.9% is a significant for the very reason that it’s the highest reported figure since the 2008 financial crisis.
Take a look at the figures below. See the red circles? The Average Weekly Earnings for Goods Producing and Private Service-producing industries–both of which are the Total Private Line’s only sub-components–you see a decline of -0.8% and -0.1.
Yet when these figures are totalled, the reported result is as an increase of 0.2%!
It’s obvious to anyone that the math is a little bit…off?
Here’s the kicker. Not only does this call into question the validity of the labor inflation data, it calls into question the credibility of all the labor data!
But it’s hard not to speculate on a few other possibilities:
● Are there any other coded goal-targeting errors in any of there other spreadsheets?
● Might this not have been an error but instead a politically-motivated fabrication?
It’s most likely a coding error. If you look below at the July weekly earnings, a figure of $907.82, it’s the exact same figure as the August preliminary wage numbers as released last month. In other words, upon shifting the spreadsheet from July to August, the cells were somehow hard-coded.
If this is one of those “fat finger” errors, then might the August figures actually be the September numbers?
This is a massive screw-up on the part of the BLS.
Its impact on assets: trillions of dollars.