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Forget Zombies: Phantom Jobs are Really Scary

by John Crudele

I’m still waiting for a reasonable explanation from the Labor Department on why it decided that so many brand-new businesses were suddenly creating so many new jobs in July.

If you missed it, I analyzed Labor’s latest employment numbers last Saturday and found that its total of 163,000 new jobs for July included 52,000 phantom jobs.

The phantom jobs, contained under Labor’s somewhat arcane and usually overlooked Birth/Death Model, are nothing new. The Birth/Death Model allows Washington to guess at the number of jobs created or lost in the crevices of society where they are hard to prove.

Since they are guesses, I believe the guesstimate on phantom jobs needs to be watched.

Here are the numbers, and I will let you decide.

You see, phantom job numbers can vary a lot. In April, 206,000 phantom jobs were created, with 204,000 added in May and 124,000 in June. In fact, 400,000 of the total jobs created this year were phantom jobs.

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