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Obama's Payroll Disaster ^ | May 5, 2012 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on 05/05/2012 4:19:31 AM PDT by Kaslin

Quick Notes About the Unemployment Rate

This month was another disaster. Actual employment fell by 169,000 and the only reason the unemployment rate dropped is the civilian labor force fell by 342,000. These numbers are well past the point of believability and will be revised at some point in my opinion.

Over the past several years people have dropped out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low. Some of this was due to major revisions last month on account of the 2010 census finally factored in. However, most of it is simply economic weakness.

Jobs Report at a Glance

Here is an overview of today's release.

Recall that the unemployment rate varies in accordance with the Household Survey not the reported headline jobs number, and not in accordance with the weekly claims data.

April 2012 Jobs Report

Please consider the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) April 2012 Employment Report.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

Unemployment Rate - Seasonally Adjusted

Nonfarm Employment - Payroll Survey - Annual Look - Seasonally Adjusted

Employment is about where it was just prior to the 2001 recession.

Nonfarm Employment - Payroll Survey - Monthly Look - Seasonally Adjusted

click on chart for sharper image

Between January 2008 and February 2010, the U.S. economy lost 8.8 million jobs.

Since a recent employment low in February 2010, nonfarm payrolls have expanded by 3.7 million jobs. Of the 8.8 million jobs lost between January 2008 and February 2010, 42 percent have been recovered.

Statistically, 125,000+- jobs a month is enough to keep the unemployment rate flat. For a discussion, please see Question on Jobs: How Many Does It Take to Keep Up With Demographics?

The average employment gain over the last 26 months has been 142,000, barely enough (statistically speaking) to make a dent in the unemployment rate.

Yet, the civilian unemployment rate has fell from 9.8% to 8.1%.

Current Report Jobs

Average Weekly Hours

Index of Aggregate Weekly Hours

Average Hourly Earnings vs. CPI

"Success" of QE2 and Operation Twist

BLS Birth-Death Model Black Box

The BLS Birth/Death Model is an estimation by the BLS as to how many jobs the economy created that were not picked up in the payroll survey.

The Birth-Death numbers are not seasonally adjusted while the reported headline number is. In the black box the BLS combines the two coming out with a total.

The Birth Death number influences the overall totals, but the math is not as simple as it appears. Moreover, the effect is nowhere near as big as it might logically appear at first glance.

Do not add or subtract the Birth-Death numbers from the reported headline totals. It does not work that way.

Birth/Death assumptions are supposedly made according to estimates of where the BLS thinks we are in the economic cycle. Theory is one thing. Practice is clearly another as noted by numerous recent revisions.

Birth Death Model Adjustments For 2011

Birth Death Model Adjustments For 2012

Birth-Death Note

Once again: Do NOT subtract the Birth-Death number from the reported headline number. That approach is statistically invalid.

Household Survey Data

click on chart for sharper image

In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,638,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 945,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,693,000.

That is an amazing "achievement" to say the least, and as noted above most of this is due to economic weakness not census changes.

Decline in Labor Force Factors

  1. Discouraged workers stop looking for jobs
  2. People retire because they cannot find jobs
  3. People go back to school hoping it will improve their chances of getting a job
  4. People stay in school longer because they cannot find a job

Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.

Part Time Status

click on chart for sharper image

There are 7,853,000 workers who are working part-time but want full-time work.

Table A-15

click on chart for sharper image

Table A-15 is where one can find a better approximation of what the unemployment rate really is.

Notice I said "better" approximation not to be confused with "good" approximation.

The official unemployment rate is 8.1%. However, if you start counting all the people that want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc., you get a closer picture of what the unemployment rate is. That number is in the last row labeled U-6.

U-6 is much higher at 14.5%. Both numbers would be way higher still, were it not for millions dropping out of the labor force over the past few years.

Grossly Distorted Statistics

Given the complete distortions of reality with respect to not counting people who allegedly dropped out of the work force, it is easy to misrepresent the headline numbers.

Digging under the surface, the drop in the unemployment rate over the past two years is nothing but a statistical mirage. Things are much worse than the reported numbers indicate.

Note the drop in U-6 unemployment this month as the Civilian Labor Force fell by 342,000. This is beyond statistical noise, to the point of pure statistical bullsheet.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 05/05/2012 4:19:32 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Workforce participation is just .1 percent off the low of November of 1981, at 63.6 percent. The low in 1981 was 63.5. To get workforce participation at 63.4, you have to go back to the Carter administration.

2 posted on 05/05/2012 4:38:24 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: Kaslin

While all that may be true, it is too complicated and obtuse to understand and to matter. What matters is that unemployment fell. That is easy and understandable.

To counter that simple contirved reality, there must still be pain. If the pain is felt from all those jobless and suffering is great enough7 to overcome the euphoria induced by the faling rate, The Messiah loses

3 posted on 05/05/2012 4:49:39 AM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: bert

Just because people stopped looking for jobs because they get discouraged when they can not find a job does not mean the unemployment rate went down

4 posted on 05/05/2012 5:00:35 AM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: bert

I ported the labor force participation graph to FaceBook and let it stand by itself. I think that is the way to approach this, because you are correct that it is a blizzard of data otherwise for those not economically trained (that would be the vast majority of people).

I recommend picking a vital graph and dealing with it elsewhere. Hopefully it will stimulat questions that one of the other graphs might answer. My worry is that there will be no response and this information will go right into the memory hole. Not that people are too busy with American Idol but that they are so deep in despair they no longer even care to know why this is happening to them.

5 posted on 05/05/2012 5:03:35 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (St. Joseph, patron of fathers, pray for us!)
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To: Kaslin

The statistic always should have been “Of those persons over the age of 18 and able to work, how many are not employed full-time?” One can then pivot off that core statistic, but an honest government report would begin with that number.

Or do I strike an unreasonably optimistic note with the word ‘honest’?

6 posted on 05/05/2012 5:05:45 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (St. Joseph, patron of fathers, pray for us!)
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To: BelegStrongbow

Good man. :b: Keep up the good work. It drops to 63.4 and it’s “Welcome back, Carter!”

7 posted on 05/05/2012 5:06:24 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: Kaslin

save for later

8 posted on 05/05/2012 5:37:14 AM PDT by quintr
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To: Kaslin

There needs to be a “Wind-chill factor” for unemployment stats that encompass the under-employed, those who have quit looking, etc.

9 posted on 05/05/2012 5:50:46 AM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To the left the truth looks like Right-Wing extremism.)
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To: BelegStrongbow

One old liberal (now deceased) thought I was nuts because I suggested to him that there could never be any honesty in an unemployment report based on counting GOVERNMENT workers as employed! It sounds perfectly sane to me since government employees including military are paid with tax money and generally don’t produce wealth but in many cases destroy or consume wealth. Suppose we just put everyone on the government payroll at some level, local, state or federal. There would be instant ZERO unemployment but would it really solve any problems? I don’t think so. If the department of agriculture produced food, fiber and timber rather than being paid to harass those who actually do then I might think differently.

10 posted on 05/05/2012 6:12:49 AM PDT by RipSawyer
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To: BelegStrongbow

“Of those persons over the age of 18 and able to work, how many are not employed full-time?” Subtract the participation rate from 100% and you have that number.

11 posted on 05/05/2012 6:23:34 AM PDT by JeanLM (Obama proves melanin is not enough)
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To: Kaslin

The way unemployment data is reported in the media is absolutely deceitful and shameful.

12 posted on 05/05/2012 6:24:32 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: bigbob

In Collusion with the Dept. of Labor.

13 posted on 05/05/2012 6:45:49 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: bert

You are correct, it is too complicated and obtuse. What really matters though is not the UNEMPLOYMENT number but the PERCENTAGE OF THE LABOR FORCE THAT IS EMPLOYED. It is dismal and that statistic flips the conversation from cooking the books of unemployment through reducing the labor force numbers by the group that is no longer receiving benefits, not registered as unemployed, has given up or is underemployed.

Lets just report the number of people employed as a percentage of the total population of people able to work.

14 posted on 05/05/2012 7:35:15 AM PDT by Sequoyah101
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To: Kaslin
Do any other countries count as "unemployed" only those who are actively seeking a job, vs. those who want to work but haven't been looking because they know there aren't any jobs available they could get?

The Obama people will tout all the new jobs created since January 2009 as if he personally created them, but hope that no one notices the other numbers. As far as the media actually educating people about what the numbers mean, they don't have to worry much on that front.

15 posted on 05/05/2012 9:29:14 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: RipSawyer
Suppose we just put everyone on the government payroll at some level, local, state or federal. There would be instant ZERO unemployment but would it really solve any problems?

But that is just what the marxists propose.

Everybody to be "employed" by the state. All land and property and businesses owned by the state. Since the wealthy business owners are "hoarding" wealth. The government will "create" jobs that the "greedy" rich won't.

Never mind the fact that if the "greedy rich" were really as greedy as proclaimed, and were getting rich off all the labor of the workers, then they would be "creating" those very jobs and getting even "richer" off the labor of even more workers.

The fact that the "greedy rich" aren't "creating" more jobs, too make even more money, suggests that if more jobs WERE "created", they would lose money instead of make money.

Typical marxist mentality. Buy high, sell low, make it up in volume.

Buy materials at high prices (to take care of our buddies)
Hire lots and lots of workers, so they can buy all our goods.
Then sell all the goods at low prices to the workers.
More workers means more volume.

See? Simple marxist math.

16 posted on 05/05/2012 12:25:28 PM PDT by mountn man (Happiness is not a destination, its a way of life.)
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