Paddy Hirsch is a Contributing Editor at Marketplace. He is the creator and host of Marketplace Whiteboard, a video explainer of financial and economic terms, and he is the author of the book Man vs Markets, Economics Explained, Pure and Simple.
Hirsch joined Marketplace in 2007, just as the credit crunch that preceded the 2008 financial crisis began to take hold. As editor of the New York Bureau and the entrepreneurship desk, he spearheaded Marketplace’s financial markets coverage throughout the crisis and as the economy fell into recession. He was awarded a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2010, and he returned to Marketplace in July of 2011, when he was appointed Senior Producer of Marketplace Money. He published his first book, Man vs Markets, in August 2012.
Hirsch got his start in journalism with an internship at the BBC in Glasgow, Scotland. He became a field producer for CNBC in Hong Kong and later was a consultant to the Open Broadcast Network in Bosnia. He has been an editor for Direct Capital Markets, Institutional Investor Newsletters, Standard & Poor’s, and the Vietnam Economic Times. Prior to becoming a journalist, he served as an officer in the Royal Marines.
Hirsch attended Campbell College in Belfast and received a bachelor’s degree in French and International Studies from the University of Warwick. He is a Knight Fellow and was a Webby honoree in 2009.
Features by Paddy Hirsch
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly identified which portion of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report is revised. The establishment survey is revised, the household survey (which contains the unemployment rate) is not. The text below has been corrected.
Are today's jobs numbers real? In a word: no.
The news that the jobless rate has dropped to 7.8 percent has set off a firestorm of protest from Republicans. Right-wing pundits, Representatives and gadflies are insisting that Obama or his cronies in the Bureau of Labor Statisitics and the Federal Reserve have cooked the books, to cut the unemployment rate to match Obama's promise to get it down below 8 percent.
But here's the news: We have no clear idea how many Americans are really unemployed.
The BLS announcement today incorporates two pieces of news. First, that non-farming companies reported that they added 114,000 people onto their payrolls in September. Second that a household survey conducted by the BLS indicates that the number of jobless in the US dropped to 7.8 percent.
The BLS household survey is a one-shot thing. So that 7.8 percent number is a snapshot of what the 60,000 households interviewed by the Census Bureau say. The report from companies, on the other hand, is checked more than once. And it almost certainly will change. We won't get a more accurate count until the revised number comes out in a few weeks. As you can see from the animated GIF below, it may be higher; it may be lower. But it won't be the same.
It never is.