The US economy added closer to a million jobs than 236,000

Many reporting on US labour market data have said that the US has added 236,000 jobs. This is false. Earlier we said that nonfarm payroll numbers are up 236,000, but that's not the same thing as adding 236,000 jobs. Take a look at this chart:

(Source: Slate)

Slate's Matthew Yglesias explains:

January is always a month of net job losses. When the BLS says we added jobs in January, what they mean is that we lost fewer jobs than the seasonal adjustment algorithm expected.

But by the same token, there's always a strong rebound in February. The 236,000 seasonally adjusted jobs we added in February are actually 960,000 jobs. As you can see above, if you compare the red line (unadjusted) to the blue line (seasonally adjusted) the month-to-month seasonal fluctuations are much larger than the overall business cycle


But US unemployment is still much higher than the White House said it would be as a result of President Obama's stimulus package:

(Source: White House, AEI)