The July 2011 monthly unemployment figures show the official unemployment rate decreased to 9.1% and the total jobs gained were 117,000. Total private jobs came in at 154,000 with government jobs dropping -37,000.
Those entering not in the labor force increased by 374,000. The labor force participation rate dropped -0.2% to 63.9%. This is the lowest labor participation rate since January 1984!.
The civilian labor force dropped -193,000 while the civilian non-institutional population increased by +182,000. What this means is even more people dropped out of the count for July and are not tallied into the unemployment rates. U6, or the broader unemployment measurement, decreased -0.1% to 16.1%. By every indicator we can gleam from the monthly numbers the situation is horrific, with people dropping out and those still counted increasing dramatically.
Below is the nonfarm payroll, the total number of jobs, seasonally adjusted. Since the start of the great recession, declared by the NBER to be December 2007, the United States has officially lost 6.79 million jobs. That does not take into account additional jobs needed to employ the United States increased population, but does include the jobs added over the over 3 and a half years, or 43 month time period.
Below is a running tally of how many official jobs permanently lost since the official start of this past recession (recall the private NBER has declared the recession over!). This is a horrific tally and notice this isn't taking into account increased population growth, which implies the United States needs to create at least 10.98 million jobs or self-employment. This estimate assume a 62.7% civilian non-institutional population to employment ratio, as it was in December 2007, which implies an additional 4.19 million jobs needed over a 3.42 month time period.
If one takes the current civilian non-institutional population and the December 2007 to employment ratio and then subtracts off the current number of payroll jobs, assuming one job per person, which is false, some people work 2 and 3 jobs to get by, the number of jobs to get to pre-recession levels is much worse, 19 million jobs. This doesn't take into account population fluctuations, for example, those retired percentages increasing.
A graph of the alternative unemployment measurement, U-6, is posted below. Here you can see the incredible increase in comparison to the beginning of 2007
How can the unemployment rate decrease? The official unemployed decreased by -156,000, alternatively the employed decreased -38,000. The actual labor force dropped by -193,000. The employment to population ratio dropped -0.1% to 58.1%. With 374,000 dropping out of the count of the labor force, the -38,000 drop in employed people still decreased the official unemployment rate by ratios.
You may notice these population and labor force numbers which make up the unemployment rate exceed the actual number of jobs created, 117,000. The BLS has two different surveys, two different methods, and additionally is counting other types of work beyond payroll. These numbers are from the household survey whereas the actual job count is from the establishment survey.
Below is an annualized graph of civilian institutional population. It's from this superset of people that potential workers come from.
The civilian labor force decreased by -193,000, while the civilian population increased by +182,000. Yet those not in the labor force increased by +374,000. This means a lot more people dropped out of the count.
The civilian non-institutional population are those 16 years or older not locked up somewhere or not in the military or so sick and disabled they are in a nursing home and so on.
The increasingly low labor participation rate is now at 63.9%. If we go back to December 2007, the labor participation rate was 66%. The highest civilian labor participation rate was in January 2000, at 67.3%. What this means is there are over 5.03 million people not be accounted for in the official unemployment rate, in other words counted as employed or unemployed, who probably need a job and can't find one. No, they are not all baby boomers retiring (many who cannot retire due to having no retirement money).
The employment to population ratio is now 58.1% which is at record lows. You have to go back to July 1983 to find such low ratios. This was when a severe recession occurred. The uber-low ratios are not a structural change, such as all families decided to have a stay at home caretaker, or magically a host of people could retire early, this is people dropping out of the count. They need a job, but stopped looking, fell off of the rolls, stop being counted.
These numbers are important because unemployment is a ratio, percentage or during a limited time period, the number of people actively looking for a job and counted. Many people are not counted in the official unemployment statistics, due to definitions, but obviously when one has more potential workers and less jobs, that metric doesn't bode well for America.
Below is the graph of the civilian non-institutional population, which is the largest super-set of the potential labor force, larger than the civilian workforce, due to those who are not looking for work, retired and so on being counted in this figure. This is why one must create jobs greater than the constant rate of jobs lost. There are more people to employ. Unemployment is a percentage, a ratio.
The BLS unemployment report counts foreign temporary guest workers as well as illegal immigrants in their U.S. labor force statistics.
One needs at least 98,000 and some estimate up to 375,000 permanent full time jobs, added each month just to keep pace with U.S. civilian workforce population growth. That's not general population, that's the group needing a job.
This unemployment report doesn't even give enough jobs to keep up with population growth. It's so dismal maybe now, politicians will realize we have a jobs crisis going on for over 43 months!