The October Household Survey (CPS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a drop of 0.1% points in unemployment for October. But decimal rounding over-stated things somewhat.

The BLS publishes their rate to one decimal place. But we can calculate a more precise value by taking the BLS numbers for the Labor Force and the Employment levels and doing the arithmetic.

When we do so we see that the unemployment rate has fallen from 5.051% in September (rounded to 5.1%) to a rate of 5.036% in October (rounded to 5.0%). Note that the actual drop of 0.015% points has been “rounded” to a reported drop of 0.1% (six times larger).

And, that is without taking into account that the BLS’s seasonal adjustment in October revised the September number but did not publish the revision. So, recognize that we are subtracting the October number from an out of date September number. What is the commensurate September rate?

Who knows – perhaps unemployment actually rose.

Indeed, if we look at just the male unemployment rate, we see that it has risen in October – according to the BLS published numbers for the male labor force and employment level.