Friday, May 4, 2012

Unemployment Statistics

...and damn lies, and then there's statistics. Today the unemployment rate "officially" went down from 8.2 to 8.1%. You may have noticed that no one seems to be getting a job in spite of this rosy rate.

Q and O has several pieces covering this but my favorite is by Dale Franks who points out that:
Additionally, 141,865,000 people were employed in April, down from 142,034,000 in March, a decline of 169,000 in the number of people employed.
So with fewer people actually having jobs, the unemployment rate goes down because more people who were looking, and thus were counted as unemployed, have simply given up, and thus are now simply not counted.

Remember, when workforce participation reached 58% or so, unemployment will be zero.

It is worth noting that it's not retiring boomers that are driving this dropout rate either, in fact the 55 and up demographic is actually  going back to work. It's the younger groups that are taking it in the shorts.

Going back to Dale:
As always, I’d point out that, if the labor force participation rate were at the historical average of 66.2%, the actual unemployment rate for April would be 11.73%, up from 11.56% in March.
This is the new math. You won't see a resurgence of the old math until a Republican gets elected.


Anonymous said...

The problem with capitalism is that it needs more consumers but fewer workers.

Brad K. said...

The issue here is the "official" statistics.

Two years ago now, Obama stopped extending 2-year unemployment benefits. Well, he stopped or was stopped.

Now, two years later, the number of people drawing unemployment drops. Making the unemployment rate look rosy, on schedule for the Presidential election.

Except for one little thing. The number of people looking for work was re-defined in the Clinton era, for much the same reason Obama capitalizes on the news today. Instead of counting the people wanting a job or a better job, they only count people receiving unemployment payments. Cut off extended unemployment two years before the campaign fund raising season, and today the stats start showing President Obama in a good light, a light of contrived deceit.

The sad part is how very many people have come to expect the current state of eroding values in the market place as "the way it is supposed to be".