part time

Exploring the Wild, Weird World of Employment Numbers From Statistical Space

It's like someone pulled the unemployment rate out of a Star Trek transporter, as if America entered a time warp machine and we moved to another dimension through a worm hole. A 0.3 percentage point drop to 7.8% makes no sense when there were only 114,000 jobs added. Captain, can the unemployment rate be right and we really did defy the laws of statistics?

We want to point to something which might in part explain what happened this month with the household survey statistics. That is how long someone holds a job. We don't have monthly statistics on job tenure, yet it could very well be that finally, people are working longer at a job. The never ending Schindler's List attitude towards U.S. workers may have abated. The U.S. has disposable worker syndrome, where people are laid off and fired for no damn good reason at all. It's a fact of the American work life while one has a job one week, there is no guarantee one will have a job the next.

To wit, let's look at another obscure BLS statistic, labor force status flows. This is the number of people flowing from being in the labor force, out of the labor force, employed and unemployed on a monthly basis. Below is a graph of the monthly changes of people who moved into employment from already having a job, not being counted at all, or being part of the official unemployed since 2006.

flows to employment

Yet Another Abysmal Jobs Report Shows Only 80,000 Jobs for June 2012

The June 2012 BLS unemployment report is another abysmal jobs report. Total nonfarm payroll jobs gained were only 80,000. May's payrolls were revised up, from 69,000 to 77,000. April job gains were revised down, again, from 77,000 to only 68,000. The below graph shows the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls employment.


More Depressing Unemployment Statistics for May 2012

The May employment report was dismal. This overview shows the situation is even worse than dismal, it is depressing in more ways than one. Officially there are 12.72 million people unemployed and the unemployment rate is 8.2%. We calculate below an alternative unemployment rate of 16.8%, which shows 27.11 million people need a full-time, real job.

BLS Employment Report is Abysmal - Only 69,000 Jobs!

The May 2012 BLS unemployment report is abysmal. Total nonfarm payroll jobs gained were only 69,000. April job gains were revised down, from 115,000 to only 77,000. March payrolls were also revised down, from 154,000 to 143,000. The below graph shows the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls employment.


BLS payrolls 05/12


May shows only 82,000 private sector jobs gained while government payrolls shrank another -13,000. In addition, 9,200 of those jobs were temporary.

Alternative Unemployment Rate is 16.6% and Other Scary Unemployment Statistics

April brings showers and yet another sad employment report. The new official unemployed tally is 12,500,000 with an unemployment rate of 8.1%. We calculate below an alternative unemployment rate of 16.62%, which shows 26.72 million people need a full-time, real job.

Unemployment 8.2%, 120,000 Jobs for March 2012

The March 2012 monthly unemployment figures show the official unemployment rate dropped a 10th of a percentage point to 8.2%, and the total nonfarm payroll jobs gained was 120,000. These statistics are not the blow out most were hoping for. Total private jobs came in at 121,000. Government jobs dropped, -1,000. While manufacturing gained 37,000 jobs, retail trade, a category that includes retail sales clerks, dropped -33,800 jobs.


unemployment rate


People Would Could Only Get Part-Time Jobs Decreased -4.38% in December 2011

December's unemployment report had a little indicator of better news. A recession indicator, those forced into part-time hours due to slack economic conditions just plummeted. Overall, people being forced into part-time jobs declined by 371,000 in a month, to a tally of 8,098,000 people.