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September 03, 2010

Unemployment Rate at 9.6% for August. A Yawner (mostly).

The BLS released the unemployment rate for August today, which didn't really change much from last month - 9.6% vs. July's 9.5%. That message of "nothing changed" is repeated throughout the report. Frankly, I was looking for something a little more interesting this month - I thought we'd end up at 9.8 or 9.9%. So I went through the stats trying to find out what was shoring up the employment rate.

And I found one thing that changed, and it had changed quite a bit. Turns out it's those damn part-timers who threw me off. The number of part-time employees ballooned by 730K during August - 330K of them forced into part time work by economic conditions. This brought the U-6 unemployment number up to 16.7% - an increase of 0.2 points from last month.

UPDATE: I hope it's obvious that swapping 3/4 of a million full time jobs for part time jobs is not a sign of an improving job market. And as some commenters have pointed out, the unemployment number is still ridiculously high and nothing to "yawn" about. The terrifying part is that the President is promising to do something about it. Mr. President? Please. Just. Stop.

That all said, here's your updated version of The Chart (don't forget that S. Weasel is selling The Chart on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and the like):


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posted by Geoff at 09:44 AM

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