Behind the unemployment numbers

By now we've all seen this story.

(AP) -- The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest since late 1983, as a wide swath of employers eliminated 663,000 jobs.

That's pretty bad, but would you believe that the real numbers are actually worse?

For instance, when you look at the official BLS report you discover that the headline 8.5% unemployment rate is actually seasonally adjusted. The real, non-adjusted unemployment rate is 9.0%

It gets worse. The number of people no longer counted as in the labor force increased by 339,000 in the past month (seasonally adjusted).
The number of people "marginally attached" to the workforce (i.e. no longer counted) is now 2.1 million. That's 754,000 more than a year ago (not seasonally adjusted).

Plus, the January unemployment numbers were revised to add another 86,000 victims on top of the already awful stats.

And speaking of adding numbers, the BLS's birth/death model added 114,000 fictional jobs to last month's numbers just so that they don't look so bad.

Subject Meta: 

Forum Categories: 

always go to the raw stats and press releases

If possible. Nice catch midtowng. I thought those headlines look doctored to make it all appear "not as bad" as it is.

Other folks, it's getting kind of cool some of our government agencies are now bloggin' fools so over in the bottom right I've pulled in some of their news feeds...

One organization which can release really damning reports that the press promptly ignores is the GAO.

For example, over and over the GAO has said the H-1B visa program is used to labor arbitrage and also has massive fraud involved...

Yet today Obama is wanting to not change anything claiming this helps the U.S. be "competitive".

In other words, politicians also ignore the GAO.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

They didn't graph it.

I picked this up at Zero Hedge this morning.

During the Clinton Administration, "discouraged workers" — those who had given
up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had — were redefined so as
to be counted only if they had been "discouraged" for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, unemployment in line with common experience, as estimated by the SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure, rose to about 19.8% in March, from 19.1% in February.

The "SGS" he refers to is "Shadow Government Statistics" which is a subscriber service.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Lost GDP...?

Great reporting. Any notion of what this might translate into in terms of lost GDP for the years noted?

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

U1-U6 measures for states

BLS has finally released the U1-U6 measures for states.

There are statistical issues that make the data less reliable than the U-3 released for states, and it's a annual rate.

But there are some jewels.

I'm planning a series once the semester finishes.

Look at the U-1 long terms (structural unemployment) rate as a percentage of the U-3. In certain states, structural unemployment was really taking hold by the end of 2008.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

offshore outsourcing, insourcing

The government still refuses to collect any data on offshore outsourcing and, even worse, counts temporary guest workers into the unemployment statistics.

That's on top of the underemployment plus the large, growing "permatemp", which often is under 1099-misc and labeled a "Small business", so they do not even count in the employment statistics at all.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.