Manipulated January BLS Report Lacks Credibility

Delved into, the January Bureau of Labor Statistics report isn’t credible. Wall Street analysts had projected that the economy would add 185,000 jobs, but the announced 517,000 new jobs totally stunned market watchers.

Skeptics included Forbes Magazine experts who pointed to several eyebrow-raising variables. Citing reliable sources, most or all of the 517,000 job gains weren’t because of new job creation, but attributable to benchmark revisions, seasonal adjustments and population controls, keywords for what Forbes labeled as statistical magic. Morgan Stanley concluded that without the population adjustments, the Household Survey, up to 894,000 – an even higher level than the payroll survey – actually only rose to 84,000, while Rosenberg Research concluded the true payroll number was a dramatically lower 44,000.

Forbes compiled a lengthy list of economic information leading to its conclusion that the January BLS report is fishy. As of February 1, payroll processor ADP’s jobs’ number was a positive 106,000 widely divergent from 517,000. Small businesses, a better economic indicator than big corporations, lost 75,000 jobs in January and during the last four months shed 260,000 jobs. Specifically, the payroll report reflected retail employment at plus 30,000 jobs. But retail sales fell in November, December and likely in January too.

Adding jobs is contradictory to what’s happening the in the retail industry. The same contradictions apply in BLS’ construction, transportation/warehousing and manufacturing job sectors. Those industries, respectively, according to BLS, added 25,000, 23,000 and 19,000, even though housing starts, building permits and construction expenditures continue downward into double digits. Amazon laid off thousands of workers; Fed Ex cut management staff, and every regional Federal Reserve survey indicated that manufacturing has weakened.

Another employment sector has been decimated, and those job losses have a subplot. Big Tech layoffs included 91,000 Indian nationals working with temporary H-1B nonimmigrant employment visas. Since last year, 257,000 tech positions have been eliminated. Federal regulations require that dismissed H-1B workers must leave the country if they cannot find similar jobs within 60 days. When the 60-day grace period ends, the H-1B holder has ten days to depart. Prospects for the unemployed H-1B visa holders are dim when layoffs, not hiring, are the prevailing business plan, at least until the economy begins to recover.

Two Indian advocacy groups, the Indian-Americans, Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies and Global Technology Professionals Association, submitted an appeal to President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou to extend the 60-day grace period to one year or a six-month minimum. To date, the recipients haven’t responded.

The strife surrounding tech unemployment will soon increase. On March 1, the fiscal 2023-2024 filing period for H-1B visa lottery will begin. During a period of deep industry cuts, this will bring 65,000 foreign nationals and 20,000 more H-1B visas for advanced degree holders from U.S. colleges, known as the master’s cap, into a saturated tech labor market that will continue to be layoff-plagued. The labor influx is indefensible. Co-chief operating officer Jeff Clarke, Dell Technologies, evaluated conditions as eroding and “with an uncertain future.” In 2023, Dell will fire 6,650, reducing total employment to its lowest level since 2017.

For decades, tech employers have insisted on, and lobbied ceaselessly for, numerical cap increases. They have argued that foreign-born H-1Bs are critical to their success, if not their very survival. Since Big Tech has laid off thousands, and anticipates firing more in the coming months, the argument that H-1B visas are essential to their existence will be impossible to make. Nevertheless, since Biden is determined to increase the foreign-born work population, the H-1B visa lottery will proceed next month just as if employers faced the dire IT workers’ shortage they’re forever alleging, even though the labor pool is overflowing with laid off and presumably available-for-hire tech workers.

In 2014, then-Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions blasted the “greatest masters of the universe” and the “super billionaires” like Microsoft’s Bill Gates for laying off existing personnel without raising wages to attract U.S. engineers, but instead advocating for importing more H-1Bs. As always, the big winners in this decades-long scheme are the corporate elite, and the losers are U.S. tech workers.