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Jobs letdown: Was it all about the porn shutdown?

Friday, 6 Sep 2013 | 1:58 PM ET
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The disappointing level of job creation in August may have had an unlikely source: Porn.

Friday's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy added a net 169,000 positions, about 11,000 short of the consensus estimate.

While it's difficult to point one specific reason why job creation missed expectations, speculation in some corners immediately turned to the $97 billion adult film industry.

According to the BLS, the business sector it identified as "the motion picture and sound recording industry" lost 22,000 jobs in the month—enough to account for the shortfall and then some.

(Read more: Jobs growth misses high hopes; rate drops to 7.3%)

The reason porn was suspected was because shooting was shut down for a few weeks after two of its most prolific performers—Rod Daily and Cameron Bay—had contracted HIV. That put an awful lot of people both in front of and behind the cameras out of work.

Whether that number could have been as high as 22,000 is unclear. Much of what happens in the industry is done in the shadows, with workers paid under the table and outside the purview of the government.

(Read more: HIV strikes again—what does it mean for the porn industry?)

But the coincidence was enough to attract attention.

The Washington Post extrapolated the data to make the connection in a story posted here on its Wonkblog.

A BLS spokesman said he could not pinpoint the data as to whether the job losses in fact came from porn.

—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.

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