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August 07, 2009

9.4%! Are We Saved?

And thus Reuters declares the economy recovering:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers cut 247,000 jobs in July, far less than expected and the least in any month since last August, according to data on Friday that provided the clearest evidence yet that the economy was turning around.

With fewer workers being laid off, the unemployment rate eased to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent the prior month, Labor Department data showed, the first time the jobless rate had fallen since April 2008.

It's great to see the bleeding slow, but I wish the reason for it were different. Basically, unemployment went down because the rate of layoffs slowed; employment did not increase. People are not getting hired, they're just getting fired in lesser numbers.

Yay?

Back in 2004, when unemployment was 5.6%, Reuters looked more deeply into the numbers and produced this story: "Low US Jobless Rate ignores 'Hidden Unemployed'"

A key reason the official U.S. unemployment rate is so low is the growing number of working-age people leaving the labor force, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Thursday.

This trend was first reported exclusively by Reuters on Monday in a study of little-known figures buried inside the U.S. employment report each month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produces the data, also publishes an alternative measure that tries to capture the hidden unemployed, those who are not included in the official unemployment rate for various statistical reasons, Reuters reported.

So, using the analysis so helpfully provided by the media when Bush was president, Jim Geragthy looks at the real unemployment rate:
In July, 796,000 of those were taken out of their definition of the workforce, and thus their unemployment calculations for this month, because they have stopped looking for work "because they believe no jobs are available for them..."

...In a work force of Julyís number of 154,504,000, thatís an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.

In a work for of Juneís number of 154,926,000, thatís an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent.

I haven't seen this sort of in-depth analysis performed on the jobless numbers since...oh...January of this year. The discouraged worker is now the forgotten worker.

The Reuters Unemployment News Formula:
Low unemployment + Republican President = Hidden bad economic news.
High unemployment + Democrat President = Economic recovery.


digg this
posted by Slublog at 10:15 AM

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