243K New Jobs; U3 At 8.3%

Very good job news:

The United States economy gained momentum in January, adding 243,000 jobs, the second straight month of better-than-expected gains. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, giving a cause for optimism as the economy shapes up as the central issue in the presidential election. The Labor Department’s monthly snapshot of the job market uses a different survey, of households rather than employers, to calculate the unemployment rate.

Both the unemployment rate and the number of jobless — which fell to 12.7 million — were the strongest since February 2009, President Obama’s first full month in office.

The job growth numbers really do not match the economic growth numbers so, to me at least, this is a little perplexing. Call it recovery-less job growth. But good news is good news. And this is unreservedly good news. Not just for President Obama, who will assuredly win reelection if this trend holds up (over 200,000 jobs were created in December.)

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    Good news (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:11:45 AM EST
    But as I heard this morning on CNN, the actual unemployment rate (counting those darn people who have fallen our of being counted) is more like 11.9%.

    Good news on paper.  

    Correct. There's a huge hole in the bottom (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:40:35 AM EST
    If you did a little deeper (none / 0) (#68)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:37:35 PM EST
    you'll find your information on this is false.

    Post up the proof (none / 0) (#69)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:52:17 PM EST
    The source numbers are from the BLS.  

    Always read to the bottom (none / 0) (#70)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 01:23:34 PM EST
    I shouldn't have said false, I should have said your author misrepresented the facts.

    Effective with data for January 2012, updated population estimates which reflect the results of Census 2010 have been used in the household survey.

    The adjustment increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in December by 1,510,000, the civilian labor force by 258,000, employment by 216,000, unemployment by 42,000, and persons not in the labor force by 1,252,000. Although the total unemployment rate was unaffected, the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were each reduced by 0.3 percentage point. This was because the population increase was primarily among persons 55 and older and, to a lesser degree, persons 16 to 24 years of age. Both these age groups have lower levels of labor force participation than the general population.

    The labor participation rate (none / 0) (#72)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:12:07 PM EST
    is reduced, is down, according to this. I.e., more jobs does not mean more at work, overall.  Correct?

    More from Tyler Durden, at (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:48:09 PM EST
    Zero Hedge:

    It appears the record surge in people not in the labor force is not the only outlier in today's data. For the other one we go to the Household Data Survey (Table 9), and specifically the breakdown between Full Time and Part Time Workers (defined as those "who usually work less than 35 hours per week"). We won't spend too much time on it, as it is self-explanatory. In January, the number of Part Time workers rose by 699K, the most ever, from 27,040K to 27,739K, the third highest number in the history of this series. How about Full time jobs? They went from 113,765 to 113,845. An 80K increase. So the epic January number of 141.6 million employed, which rose by 847K at the headline level: only about 10 % of that was full time jobs: surely an indicator of the resurgent US economy... in which employers can't even afford to give their workers full time employee benefits. We can't wait for Mr. Liesman to explain how this number, too, is unadulterated hogwash, and how it too is explained away to confirm economic strength. Incidentally this is not the first time we have discussed the issue of part vs full time workers: for more see here: "Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society, Following 6 Straight Months Of Full Time Job Declines"

    Food for thought.


    "Unreservedly good news" (none / 0) (#77)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:52:45 PM EST

    Not entirely clear on your question (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 04:53:31 PM EST
    but the labor participation rate should continue to drop (unless replaced thru immigration) for the same reason Social Security has issues. As the population pyramid moves forward there are more leaving the work force than available to replace them, so yes that alone would lower the unemployment rate as the boomers are replaced in the job market.

    looks good on paper (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by loveed on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:25:23 AM EST
    Paper is flat the world is round.
     Most of these jobs are temp.jobs. Someone please find the numbers.
     In the 80's, Reagan was trying to encourage hiring during the recession. Companies complained about the cost of benefits, for there lack of hiring. Reagan suggest hiring people part time, to avoid paying benefits. So it became practice to hire 2 people for the same job. They worked 20hr.no benefits or half. If you had a full time job, health insurance was free.
      I never paid for health insurance til 88. Now I pay almost 300.00 a month for me and my husband. Never used it til last year.
      Now temp is the way to go for businesses. My husband works for an international company. He been working overtime at least 68hr a week,going on 2yrs.. He's paid half of what the position calls for. No benefits at all, no vac.,no sick time,no health insurance, no raises.
     The temp. company is paid the other half, and receives a huge tax break. Along with the large international company. For hiring people who's been unemployed for 6 months or longer. Their profits are record breaking.
     I believe this was the start of the 1%. Greedy companies only caring about profits. I also believe this will be the new norm.

    And did that rate come down too? (none / 0) (#18)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:24:39 AM EST
    she didn't say (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:28:39 AM EST
    But I would bet it went up or stayed the same, since more people are getting frustrated and stopped looking for work and more people are droping out of the numbers - even if they get a low wage part time job.

    It is falling too (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:46:00 AM EST
    basically mirroring U3.

    The broader measure was 15.6% in November, 15.3% in December, and now 15.2%.  It too is at near a three year low.


    From a an early January Reuters report:

    A broad measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have stopped looking and those working only part time but who want more work, dropped to an almost three-year low of 15.2 percent from 15.6 percent in November.

    Wish I believed it (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:56:23 AM EST
    I find it delusional to accept the government numbers, when that same government is trying to sign trade agreements whose result will be lowered wages and standards.  We should be competing against no one but ourselves; instead, our "leaders" are rushing to create absurd illusions.  Money is fake, people are real, but you'd almost never know it from the way we go about things.  Money matters, people, meh, not so much.

    The prior months jobs numbers were (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:07:49 AM EST
    revised upward.

    I do not like banks, either.  But given our current system, they are a fact of life.

    The long term problems of wage stagnation or falling wages has been accumulating for a long time--since 1980 frankly, and his Reaganess.  More education, and rising wages in China (which is happening) will help.

    Another interesing wrinkle is that the number of jobs needed to just keep pace with population increases is really 90,000, not the `125,000 previously assumed.  Popluation growth is not as high as before.


    Birth rates (and in-migration rates) (none / 0) (#73)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:14:11 PM EST
    do tend to decline when the economy stinks.  (See: the 1930s.:-)  

    But that means more unemployed storks.  And more foreclosures on cabbage patches.


    True, but (none / 0) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:17:43 AM EST
    any decline in the birth rate during the Great Recession isn't going to affect the size of the workforce for another 15 or 20 years.

    McDonalds is hiring? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:15:09 AM EST

    Did you see? (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:21:38 AM EST
    In the Google town hall (I think) where the lady asked a question of Obama and told him about her husband being out of work, and Obama told her to send the husband's resume to him?  Now the Republicans have ads out telling EVERYONE to send their resume to Obama.

    Is he hiring (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:25:52 AM EST
    blog shills for campaign season?

    I honestly (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:25:42 AM EST
    think that would be a fun job...and I've always aspired to do a little acting ;-).

    I guess it would be (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:14:12 AM EST
    if you could sleep with yourself...

    Actually, he was curious why this (none / 0) (#86)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:20:07 AM EST
    superficially qualified guy for an in-demand profession would be out of work.  His wife seemed to think it was because of visas for foreign workers.

    At any rate, Obama (or his staff) ended up sending him three or four employers who wanted to hire him, so happy ending for them, apparently.


    I think that's the problem (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:24:51 AM EST
    The only truly new normal is that everyone is working for McDonalds wages.

    Or for Obama wages? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:30:01 AM EST
    I've always looked at trade agreements (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:50:34 AM EST
    as the good outweighing the bad, but trade agreements don't seem to work out very well for us.  How could they though when sociopaths are the corporate norm.  We don't really manufacture much anymore here.  Our people tend to demand a living wage while other nations inexperienced in all this capitalism stuff see "the dream" and then tend to work themselves into an early grave for a couple of generations before they grasp how bad the exploitation is.

    The trade agreements tend to only do that, make it easier for U.S. corporations to exploit the people of other countries while standing behind the protection and influence of the worlds greatest military power, somehow magically paid for by the shafted tax payers of the United States.


    Well said... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:55:58 AM EST
    Someone else commenting when I posted that in a facebook group put it this way...

    Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam ???

    Do these people know they are about to become slaves?

    Actually (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by eric on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:44:42 AM EST
    the warmer than average temperatures have brought on an earlier than normal demand for yacht scrubbers.

    Oh the silver linings (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:51:14 AM EST
    What would life be without them?

    Additionally the temps have made (none / 0) (#22)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:42:26 AM EST
    for actual job losses (at least income) for snow removal entrepenuers.

    (Yeah I know you make the joke and I enjoyed that joke, but just thought I'd throw this factoid in.)


    Seriously, the snowless winter (none / 0) (#87)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:21:56 AM EST
    in New England has meant the ski areas are taking a terrible financial beating.  Not what we needed here in VT after the Irene disaster, that's for sure.

    Re: McDonalds (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:00:58 AM EST
    Food service @ 33,000 and Temp. services @ 33,000 were the two leading sectors.  

    I've been told that wages are stagnant (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:28:37 AM EST
    Not what I'm experiencing though.  What I've seen going on is that many must work now for half of the wages they used to make.  But prices aren't coming down, not yet.  They have to eventually though, and that's called deflation and that makes Wall Street insane and the Federal Reserve and well, just everyone except the working poor.

    Price deflation (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:06:04 AM EST
    is considered a sign of a bad economy, a depression.

    Stable prices and rising wages is the goal.


    Good luck with that and globalization (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:27:10 AM EST
    The last time we had deflation (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:31:56 AM EST
    to a significant degree was the 1930s.

    Bernanke's scholarship has focused on deflation during the Great Depression, so, true, that is his point of view.


    Bernake... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:47:22 AM EST
    ...does not live on the same planet that we do.  He serves a system that has as its ultimate goal the hiring of as few people as possible for as little money as possible.  That's the entire operating paradigm of "free market" capitalism.

    I think the opposite is true (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:00:59 AM EST
    Given the current monetary policy that has led to the lowest interest rates in seemingly forever, Bernanke is using the levers he has to increase jobs.

    The conservatives hate him because he has opened the spigots and increased the money supply.  Bernanke can be contrasted with earlier Fed Chairman Greenspan and even Volker who were inflation hawks and viewed their (only) role as keeping the inflation rate low.  Conservatives have argued, and will do so more often if the umemployment rate contiunes to decline, that hyper inflation is around the corner.

    Bernanke has influence on interest rates, and they are very, very low.  So, there is not much more that he can do.

    Sure, as a symbol of money and Wall Street, he will be vulnerable to a generalized attack. One could criticize him for the Wall Street bailout, but that was necessary to prevent a collapse of the banking system, and even Krugman acknowledges that.  You could level some criticism against him for failing to advocate more strings to the bailout funds, such as requirements of more lending.....But that was not his chief responsibility.  Others are more to blame for the carte blanche given the banks that received bailout funds.

    Bernanke has done his main job very well imo.


    I will simply disagree (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:13:32 AM EST
    IMO, in all ways economic, we are living in a delusion of incomparable proportions.  Also, keeping interests rates artificially low, while good for some things, ultimately means the entire economy is at the mercy of speculators.  The complete, unmitigated mercy.

    What I am saying about Bernanke is that, again, he is serving a paradigm that is in the process of failing and dying.  We are far past the point, in terms of population growth plus technology displacing human workers, to believe anything short of unprecedented planning and reorganization will solve our problems.  We have to change our entire paradigm and, as it stands, we're simply not capable.  We're too stupid as s civilization.  So we're simply going to tread water or worse (more likely), for the foreseeable future.

    Wish I felt more optimistic, but I can't turn off my rational head.  



    The low interest rates (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:29:26 AM EST
    have had a beneficial effect on the horrible housing environment.   Those low rates have kept the LIBOR rate depressed which is the main index for the vast majority of variable rate mortgages.

    How many hundred thousands more foreclosures would be happening/on the books if those people had not seen their monthly mortgage reduced over the last 18 or more months?  That reduction has probably helped keep some people with just their nostrils above the water line.


    Forgot to include (none / 0) (#37)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:33:39 AM EST
    mortgage rates in relation to US Treasury rates also.  

    The worm has turned! (none / 0) (#39)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:43:57 AM EST
    I agree with you.

    The 'worm' will become a (none / 0) (#43)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:53:38 AM EST
    tapeworm when (not if) the Fed starts reeling in all that cheap QE (1 - X) money.  That's Bernanke's nightmare, enough economic growth to start pushing fuel and food (both of which are rising now) prices up at a higher rate triggering inflation.  Without robust employment gains, to include those 1.2M coming back into the workforce, a second recession is unavoidable.

    Yes, that is the conservative critique (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:28:37 AM EST
    Inflation remains low, and in terms of the long run, I agree with Keynes's view that we are all dead in the long run.

    I specifically stated food and fuel (none / 0) (#53)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:42:11 AM EST
    For 2011 from the BLS:

    - Food overall 4.7% increase
    -- Food at home:  6.0% increase

    • Fuel (gasoline) 9.9% increse
    • Fuel oil: 18.% increase


    Shelter and piped gas numbers helped pull the overall inflation rate down.  Shelter benefiting from said interest rates.

    Food and fuel hits the broadest range of people.


    I think the Fed lives day each simply (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    trying to prevent the next Great Depression now.  They may have even succeeded if there was any enforced regulation of Wall Street and derivatives....hell, even Jon Corzine proved to everyone that there are no enforced regulations even in the commodities market :)  Because the whole financial sector has been hopped up on Meth for years though now, this is what we get, this is where we are.

    Typo friendly posts....that's me (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:45:58 AM EST
    My wages have been stagnant (none / 0) (#75)
    by sj on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:33:48 PM EST
    for the last 8 years.

    You're lucky (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 05:18:26 PM EST
    Mine have gone down every year for the last 3 years. Unfortunately, my law school loan payments have not.

    I think you're right (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by sj on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 06:47:34 PM EST
    Things could be much worse for me.  I hope you don't have a lot of student loans.  It's terrible what I've been reading about them.

    Without some education funding (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 06:59:32 PM EST
    how much debt does a college degree saddle a person with before they even enter the workforce. Indentured servitude anyone?

    I was lucky (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 07:49:21 PM EST
    I didn't have undergrad loans, but since I didn't come out and get to join a big fancy firm (and then I moved to the DC area - very expensive to live!), my loans are close to $100K.

    Yeah, they will never be paid off.  I will be in the nursing home paying Sallie Mae.....


    That is so wrong (none / 0) (#84)
    by sj on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:47:36 PM EST
    And it's a little scary to me that you can consider yourself lucky with that hanging over your head.  Student loan reform is critical, I think.  Real reform.

    What am I going to do? (none / 0) (#93)
    by jbindc on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:08:06 AM EST
    Student loans will get paid when they get paid.  My main focus now is paying down credit card debt.

    I can only stress about one set of debt at a time! :)


    Same here (none / 0) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:26:34 AM EST
    I'm self-employed, but clients keep cutting the fees they're willing to pay.  I'm literally working twice as many hours as I used to for slightly less income.  I don't have student loans or mortgage debt, thank God, but I'm raiding my small amount of retirement money every year for expenses and taxes.

    I have (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:43:48 AM EST
    experienced the same thing. I had to take a cut in pay. Well, it was either take a cut in pay or don't subcontract anymore and I decided to take the cut in pay. Though I'm really kind of tired of all this and I'm going to start looking for something else to do.

    I haven't seen the numbers (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by eric on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:31:23 AM EST
    but I would bet that wages are down along with hours.  I don't see corporate America paying much to folks desperate for a job and with 8.3% unemployment.  Also, savings are gone, houses are gone, credit is gone.

    It's a pretty damn big hole to get out of.

    This is a pretty good jobs report (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by MKS on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:24:34 AM EST
    The issue is will it be just one month or will it be part of a trend.

    BTD points out the curiosity of the mediocre GDP figures....But employment is a lagging indicator, so the good jobs numbers may just be pent up demand for new eomployees......We will have to see if the good news continues.


    Explains why a slow improvement in job growth (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:51:58 AM EST
    is not helping the economy as a whole very much. Even if they are working, people don't have money to spend.

    Earnings/hours (none / 0) (#16)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:13:51 AM EST
    Earnings: up 4 cents per hour.
    Hours: work week increased .1 an hour

    BLS numbers (none / 0) (#45)
    by Addison on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:58:57 AM EST
    Well, if we're discussing corporate America and the wages and hours given to workers these days, there's actually pretty good data over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


    The average weekly hours of all private sector employees is currently 34.5, which is as high as it's been since August 2008. This number hit its nadir at 33.8, where it was stuck for most of 2009.

    The average weekly pay of all private sector employees was $353.76 (seasonally adjusted, measured in 1982-1984 dollars) in January. This number reached its nadir at $340.70 in July 2008.

    In terms of both total average hours worked and total earnings, things are getting better. However, the total civilian labor force was listed at 154,395,000 in the January 2012 numbers. It had already grown to 154,400,000 by mid-year 2008! Which means that the labor force overall has remained stagnant in number for 3.5 years! Over 42 months the measured labor force has stayed at the same level -- obviously this is not good. We're not creating jobs for a growing labor force, we're  barely creating enough jobs to re-employ a stagnant labor force.

    And that's the real issue here.


    First, let me start by saying that (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:18:50 AM EST
    it's good when anyone who didn't have a job is now employed; I am not - repeat not - cheering for unemployment to keep going up or for more people to suffer the loss of a job and all the consequences that flow from that.

    But, like lentinel, I do have to ask: what kinds of jobs at what kinds of wages with what kinds of benefits?  I have read on more than one occasion that those who are fortunate enough to go back to work at the same kind of job they had before they were laid off are not making the same kind of money or getting the same kinds of benefits they were, so not only have they suffered the economic loss of an extended period of unemployment, but they may never catch up to where they were.  

    People who drained their savings, raided their retirement accounts - if they were lucky enough to have either - and racked up more charges on their credit cards - these people have nothing to cushion them against future economic downturns, and since their earnings are behind where they were, they have less ability to begin to build any kind of cushion.

    The states are tapped out, so the so-called safety net is fraying, badly, and isn't going to be able to weather another downturn.

    Is it good to be working and making money?  Absolutely.  A job beats an unemployment check almost any day of the week.

    But when conditions are such that people can't get ahead financially, no matter how hard they work, we're establishing a huge underclass that's accepted lower wages, greater productivity requirements, reduced benefits as the best this economy can offer them.  They're expected to be grateful, and to learn to live with constant fear that it's going to be pulled out from under them.

    Employers kind of like the fear factor - they can demand more, give less in return and handsomely reward themselves and investors.

    Republicans have no answers that have ever been proven to work; Democrats have to hope that continuing to essentially do nothing will keep the numbers moving in their favor - and pray that Europe doesn't collapse like a house of cards.  If Dems move toward implementing austerity, they can probably kiss all this "progress" goodbye.

    So, yes - I'm glad more people are working, but...when the jobs we're adding all seem to require learning a version of "do you want fries with that?" I think any celebration is premature.

    Absolutely (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:31:07 AM EST
    And I'm afraid that's likely the new reality in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

    We can and should tax the bejesus out of the billionaires and break up the big banks, etc., but it's not going to bring back the economy we used to have.


    Who's on First (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:40:33 AM EST
    A little "humor", especially when that 1.2M number  of real people is being glossed over.

    COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

    ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.

    COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

    ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

    COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

    ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

    COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.

    ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

    COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

    ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

    COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

    ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

    COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.

    ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


    It goes on a bit longer but this makes the point.

    11.4% (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:53:12 AM EST
    One does not need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the fudging the BLS has been doing every month for years now in order to bring the unemployment rate lower: the BLS constantly lowers the labor force participation rate as more and more people "drop out" of the labor force for one reason or another. While there is some floating speculation that this is due to early retirement, this is completely counterfactual when one also considers the overall rise in the general civilian non institutional population. In order to back out this fudge we are redoing an analysis we did first back in August 2010, which shows what the real unemployment rate would be using a realistic labor force participation rate. To get that we used the average rate since 1980, or ever since the great moderation began. As it happens, this long-term average is 65.8% (chart 1). We then apply this participation rate to the civilian noninstitutional population to get what an "implied" labor force number is, and additionally calculate the implied unemployed using this more realistic labor force. We then show the difference between the reported and implied unemployed (chart 2). Finally, we calculate the jobless rate using this new implied data. It won't surprise anyone that as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) - basically where it has been ever since 2009 - and at 2.9% delta to reported, represents the widest divergence to reported data since the early 1980s. And because we know this will be the next question, extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

    Real Jobless Rate Is 11.4% With Realistic Labor Force Participation Rate | ZeroHedge

    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:55:41 AM EST
    If you can't change the score, just change how you keep score.  

    Ex (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:00:18 AM EST
    You're such a buzz-kill (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:02:18 PM EST

    Heh. Well... (none / 0) (#67)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:22:34 PM EST
    I guess it will be good for someone, if by extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

    For decades now the media, and the 1% through that media, has been promising everyone one that there is no problem, that we are only "transitioning" from a manufacturing, i.e. production, based economy to a service economy and that that is just "evolution".

    Curiously, they never did really talk much about who exactly it is that the majority of the labor force would be servicing, though... did they?


    Except that the media hasn't (none / 0) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:33:06 AM EST
    been saying that since around 2008.  There's endless solution-less discussions, instead, about whether there's any way to bring well-paid manufacturing jobs to this country.

    BTD is Right (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:23:44 AM EST
    This is good news.

    It's funny, when the unemployment number increases, it is an accurate reflection of what's happening with the job market.

    When it decreases it is either (i) manipulated by  the government, (ii) not reflective of any material good news, or (iii) just a meaningless stat.  The twisting being done in the comments to make this neutral or slightly bad news is astounding.

    Obviously there is a way to go but dang people. It's good news.  It's surprisingly good news.  And if it keeps up, the end of the year is going to be good for dems and good for the country.

    Unreservedly good news (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:27:39 AM EST
    May we have more.

    Yes it is (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:50:39 AM EST
    and my retirement account is showing the good news over the last year and unbelievably so since Jan 1. And more good news would be even better.

    Your retirement account has (none / 0) (#91)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:36:03 AM EST
    almost nothing to do with employment stats.  The stock market is related to corporate profitability, which is no longer related much to employment since the profits of most big U.S. companies are no longer tied to mass U.S. consumption.

    It's good news whatever (none / 0) (#92)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 12:37:03 AM EST
    measure one uses, official BLS statistics or guesstimates of "real" unemployment.

    Two major problems with your (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:34:25 AM EST
    pom-pom cheering; whistling past the graveyard position.

    1.  The complete ignoring of the 1.2M number of "non-counted".

    2.  We are double what structurally healthy unemployment should be - 4%-$4.5% vs a dishonest 8.3%

    Sorry, I can't get giddy when smoke is being blown up my wazoo.

    BTAL (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:44:25 AM EST
    Obviously it is not  perfect but it is a consistent standard we can use to judge progress.  Everything  you reference as being a flaw in the number was a flaw in the number when it was in the 5s.

    If we are comparing apples to apples, things are getting better.  No one is arguing that it is all fixed.  I am really worried about Iran and the EU and oil prices, but  things are better than almost any  economist expected.  Unemployment is down almost half a percentage point in three months.  That's a good pace for what is a long journey.

    I don't expect us to keep up that pace next month but its a positive trend.


    Yes the measurement standard is the same (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:03:28 PM EST

    However to be honest and realistic, one has to look at the 1.2M number and not cherry pick the 8.3% U3.  

    As to trends, the 1.2M number is a very bad trend, just look at the chart in my linked post above.  It is "trending" completely down.  

    Be careful what you wish for.  As you know, an increase in economic activity could/will result in those people flooding back into the work force causing this "good news" U3 rate to trend the other way.


    Live by the unemployment rate calc (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Buckeye on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:08:00 PM EST
    die by the unemployment rate calc.

    Still, that will be a good problem to have once it occurs.


    unless we're talking about (none / 0) (#52)
    by CST on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:39:37 AM EST
    the percentage of people living in poverty.

    In which case we shouldn't worry about it.


    Shouldn't be worrying about what? (none / 0) (#54)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:43:23 AM EST
    sorry i just find (none / 0) (#58)
    by CST on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:49:15 AM EST
    the sky is falling rhetoric on unemployment to be a bit ironic considering just the other day you were arguing that poverty is not really something we should be worried about.

    Since it's only 15% of the population.


    I specifically stated that the poverty rate (none / 0) (#65)
    by BTAL on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:06:30 PM EST
    level was unfortunate and not that is should not be worried about.  The point was it is inline with and related to the recession.

    How many of those in that 15% are also in the 1.2M sitting outside the workforce?  But lets cheer this new U3 number - yes ironic.


    Yes, (none / 0) (#74)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:16:50 PM EST
    conservatives are suddenly concerned about a living wage and poverty.  It's a miracle.  

    Unless, of course, the upward ticks (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Buckeye on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:44:07 AM EST
    really do show weakness and the downward ticks really do reflect smoke and mirros.  Instead of being overly simplistic that any decline in the U4 rate is always good and using ad hominem attacks against anyone that points out flaws they see in the numbers, why don't YOU try looking at these report objectively.

    buckeye (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:47:55 AM EST
    I give.  We've moved into the absurd.

    Unless you were questioning the validity of the number when it was increasing, the fact that you suddenly doubt the number now is really, really .... Unfortunate.

    The people who believe that this is bad news can win.  If you don't see this as positive, there is nothing you would see as positive.  Here is Felix salmon, a fairly respected left leaning economist around here, on

    "You thought the December jobs report was great? I certainly did -- but it's been revised, now, and it's even better than was first reported. And the January report is positively glowing. Unemployment was just 8.3% in January, marking three successive months where it fell by 0.2 percentage points. This time last year, there were 13.9 million unemployed; that figure has now dropped by 1.2 million people, or 8.3%. That's really impressive for an economy which is hardly booming."


    When the unemployment rate goes up (none / 0) (#60)
    by Buckeye on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:57:16 AM EST
    because of lack of hiring, I think it is bad news.  When the unemployment rate drops because 1.2M dropped out of the workforce and labor participation rate has hit a new 30 year low, I think it is smoke and mirrors.  Is 243K better than it has been?  Yes.  But an accurate view of unemployment would have caused that number to not budge had 6 times that amount not dropped from the workforce.  I am also ignoring the poor quality jobs that are mostly being created.

    I will make you a deal.  When the unemployment rate starts rising because jobs are being created and people are starting to look again, I will call it good news even though the rate is increasing.

    I wish I believed things were getting better.  I just don't.


    Anytime (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:00:30 PM EST
    there are more jobs it is good news with so many people out of work. I hope it continues because there are a lot of hurting people in this country right now.

    The Post has more good news (none / 0) (#17)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:21:21 AM EST
    This is good news... (none / 0) (#25)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 09:49:50 AM EST
    but I, (ever the cautious cynical one when it comes to information provided government agencies such as the Labor Department), would like to know the nature of the new jobs. The average wage. The security of the jobs.

    As the Times reported, "The department also estimated that the economy lost 2,689,000 jobs in the month."

    So a lot of what we are being told is related to "seasonal adjustments"...

    I am hoping for many more jobs. If this is real it is good news for us.

    I am already resigned to the fact that Obama will be re-elected, so if the economy improves he can be reelected without having to start a war with Iran. That would be very good news indeed.

    lentinel (none / 0) (#29)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:01:08 AM EST
    color me impressed. I've never viewed you as "ever the cautious cynical one", just a cynical one. Seeing you acknowledge what looks to be really good news, even with a slightly cynical approach, caught me off guard. And I'm not being cynical here :)

    Increased (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:08:45 PM EST
    employment is good news.

    I am cynical about the source of this news.
    I am also in doubt about whether these new jobs are more than flipping burgers. The report doesn't say.

    Listen - what is good for the people of the USA is good for me.

    I simply admit that I wish we had an alternative to Obama other than the idiots presented to us by the Republican party - and to the extent that an improving economy makes his reelection even more likely, well -- so be it.

    As I said, I wouldn't put it past Obama to start a war with Iran to divert from a lousy economy. So, a good economy makes it possible for him to be reelected without having to start a war to show how much tougher he is than Romney on terrrissm.

    So - ultimately - more jobs and a good economy are very good news even though I'll have to be looking at Obama's mug for another four lackluster years.


    Jesse calls BS (none / 0) (#64)
    by trillian on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:05:12 PM EST
    But what was surprising in this latest round is that for the first time in my memory they went back and adjusted the Birth-Deal Model, which are imaginary jobs in the first place!


    Jesse has a lousy memory (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by me only on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 03:41:29 PM EST
    Q: How frequently are the birth/death figures revised and why do the values change?

    A: Birth/death numbers are revised once a year with the benchmark revision.