AP's Rugaber Fails to Explain Why July Unemployment Rate Rose in Most States, But Fell Nationwide

Maybe because it's a UFO, we're not supposed to be able to explain it.

No, I'm not talking about unidentified flying objects at the recently acknowledged Area 51. I'm talking about an unexplained financial observation, the one made by the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber on Monday after the release of the July Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report Monday morning. Rugaber observed that the unemployment rate rose in the majority of states and fell in a relative few, while July's national unemployment rate reported two weeks ago fell from 7.6% to 7.4%:


UNEMPLOYMENT RATES RISE IN MOST US STATES IN JULY

Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in July and fewer states added jobs, echoing national data that show the job market may have lost some momentum.

The Labor Department said Monday that unemployment rates increased in 28 states. They were unchanged in 14 and fell in eight states - the fewest to show a decline since January.

... ... Nationwide, hiring has been steady this year but slowed in July. Employers added 162,000 jobs, the fewest since March. The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, a 4 1/2 -year low, from 7.6 percent.

That "lost momentum" assessment is interesting, given that just 10 days earlier after the release of the Department of Labor's weekly unemployment claims report, an AP tweet asserted that a fall in those claims had hit "a level that signals steady job gains."

A quick calculation of the nation's weighted-average unemployment rate based on the sum of all the states' and DC's data shows a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rise from 7.4% to 7.5%.

Both the national and state unemployment rates are based on household interviews which ask those surveyed about members' employment status as of the week which includes the 12th day of the month involved.

So why did the states' rates go up while the national rate came down? Well, I said it was an unexplained financial observation. It's Chris Rugaber's job to ask government officials why that's the case. Instead, its seems that by noting both and letting them pass without further explanation, he's hoping that there won't be any inquiring minds who want to know. Since he's probably among those or in close communication with those who are in lockup during the hour or so before these reports are released, it doesn't seem like it would be difficult to ask a pertinent question or two.

Rugaber also let California dodge notice for no apparent reason when he wrote the following:

Unemployment in California has fallen to 8.7 percent in July from 10.6 percent 12 months ago - the biggest year-over-year drop of any state.

Okay, but California's unemployment rate in June was 8.5%; so things are heading in the wrong direction. But in another unexplained phenomenon, even though hiring in the state per the Establishment Survey of employments was significant (38,100 payroll jobs added), the Household Survey shows that the state lost 65,000 jobs. Nationwide, the sum of all states in the Household Survey showed the civilian labor force shrank by over 200,000. Yikes.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.