Unemployment Rate

Employment Stats Misleading

The payroll jobs report for November from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the US economy created 203,000 jobs in November. As it takes about 130,000 new jobs each month to keep up with population growth, if the payroll report is correct, then most of the new jobs would have been used up keeping the unemployment rate constant for the growth in the population of working age persons, and about 70,000 of the jobs would have slightly reduced the rate of unemployment.

New York Post Claims Census Falsifies Unemployment Figures

The New York Post is reporting an absolute bombshell story if true.  They claim the September 2012 unemployment report was manipulated and survey data was faked, just in time for the election.  The story quotes anonymous sources, insiders from the Census Bureau who claim to have falsified survey data for the unemployment report.

Jobless Benefits DO NOT Cause Unemployment

The Wall Street Journal's headline asks, "Are Jobless Benefits Leading to Higher Unemployment?"  But in the very first paragraph in their story they answer their own question with A new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston suggests the answer is no -- or at least not much.   So then, why does the WSJ ask? Why not just use the headline of this post?

The Fed Focuses on the Unemployed

federal reserve buildingThe FOMC just did a great thing. The Federal Reserve tied interest rates and quantitative easing to U.S. labor. The messaging alone is powerful. The Federal Reserve is saying, very clearly, U.S. workers matter. Businesses need to start hiring and increasing wages if they want to actually improve the overall economy.

About 5 million people—more than 40 percent of the unemployed—have been without a job for six months or more, and millions more who say they would like full-time work have been able to find only part-time employment or have stopped looking entirely. The conditions now prevailing in the job market represent an enormous waste of human and economic potential.

The FOMC set out specific parameters to the ongoing QE3.

You Can't Blame The Economy On The Weather

The pathetic jobs report has ushered in a whole new blame game on the weather. January through March 2012 had the warmest temperatures on record for the United States.

Most economic data, including the employment report, is seasonally adjusted. The algorithm is called X-12-ARIMA and is maintained by the Census. Without going into the mathematics, this algorithm takes past cyclical patterns that are predictable and adjusts those spikes, attributed to the seasons. The algorithm takes out of an economic data series those wild swings, so one can more easily compare real growth instead of, say, fall harvesting or Christmas hiring. Construction employment, for example, is highly cyclical due to the nature of the work. Below is a graph of not seasonally adjusted construction employment.

construction nsa

Why Did the Unemployment Rate Drop When Only 120,000 Jobs Were Added?

The headlines blare unemployment rate lowest since March 2009! Yet November only added 120,000 jobs, barely enough, as usual, to keep up with population growth. So, how could the official unemployment rate drop -0.4 percentage points, from 9.0% to 8.6% in a month?

Let's look at the data.

Yes, poverty is worse than they ever admitted

Cross posted from DailyKos, but expanded

The National Academy of Sciences has issued its own estimates of the number of Americans in poverty, and yes, it’s much worse than the official statistics have been telling us for the past decade. The new NAS formula estimates nearly 1 in 6 Americans, 15.8 percent, are living below the poverty line. That’s 48 million Americans.

By comparison, the latest official Census Bureau statistics are that 13.2 percent of Americans, or 39.8 million, are impoverished. It should be noted that the Census Bureau is reportedly cooperating with the National Academy of Sciences to get this information out as quickly as possible.

What Recovery? Green Shoots turning into Brown Weeds

Some Green Shoots supporters have declared that the bottom is in. They point towards various short-term trends, and if you don't look too close, it appears to support their cause.
The Green Shoots supporters accuse the Brown Weeds advocates of using charts that are too long, and thus miss the recent movements.

Therefore I've decided to dig up my own charts, looking at just the last month.

Unemployment: A Realistic Forecast

If you are out of work like me, and hoping that the Depression will end soon so you can get a job, you better develop a Plan B.

A recent analysis by a trio of economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco predicted a jobless recovery on a nationwide basis, following a pattern that appeared after the recessions of the early 1990s and 2001.

Most economic predictions can be taken with a grain of salt. If you were as wrong on your job as often as economists are on their jobs, you would get fired very quickly.
On the other hand, it's common sense to look at recent historical trends and project patterns from them. Given that premise, let's look at what we can expect in terms of employment.

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