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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Today’s Jobs Report: Grimmer Than the Headlines Suggest



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Is today’s jobs report good news? Oh, the headlines will be nice: A lowering of the national unemployment rate from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent, private sector employment increasing by 154,000, a revision of previous months’ data to show slightly better numbers…

But as many others have noted this morning, almost another 200,000 Americans left the work force in the past month, which accounts for a chunk of the unemployment drop.

My data-minded correspondent Number Cruncher checks in, more alarmed than most about the report, because he’s looking harder at the data reported from households instead of from employers:

According to the Household Survey, the United States is at its lowest employment point since the recession began.  Specifically I point to the Employment-population ratio which is now at 58.1% down 0.1% over last month.  The Household survey also showed a drop of 37,000 over last month.  Since May of 2011, we have lost almost 500k jobs (May of 2011 indicated 139.78 Million; July of 2011 139.29 million).  To provide some comparison… in July of 2010, the Unemployment-population ratio was 58.4% and the number of employed was 138.99 Million).  Thus in the last 12 months we have added only 300k jobs, which is not going to keep up with the 1.8 million people who over the past 12 month were added to the able body worker population.

As for the unemployment drop…almost 200k people left the civilian work force last month, this is why the unemployment rate dropped, this has been reported.

Jim, these numbers are terrible!  I realize the establishment survey indicated some growth, but one cannot ignore the Household survey…at best we have conflicted data.  However, it is worse than that because until the Household survey shows employment growth we are not growing!  Look at any recession and you will see the household number pickup before the establishment number.  Given that the household survey is showing decline is proof positive that no rational business person wants to do anything in the Obama run regulated economy… November 2012 cannot come fast enough.

Put another way, the month President Obama took office, 81,293,000 Americans, age 16 and older were not in the labor force.

Today, 84,859,000 Americans, age 16 and older, are not in the labor force.

In short, the policies of the administration have successfully driven 3,566,000 Americans from the work force. But as President Obama says after every jobs report, “we have a long way to go.”

Another data point: The number of Americans who are classified as not being in the labor force, but who want a job was tabulated at 5,866,000 in January 2009; last month it was 6,810,000. (In June it was 7,124,000!)


Tags: Barack Obama , Unemployment


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