About Those Unemployment Numbers

Don Surber takes a look at the unemployment numbers for the country. The numbers for December came out yesterday and they were 10 times higher than expected. But the numbers do not tell the entire story because of tricky accounting.

For the second month in a row, Americans were told that there was a net loss in jobs nationally, but that the unemployment rate had either fallen or remained the same.

This is bogus.

Two years ago, in December 2007, there was a net gain of only 18,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate soared from 4.7% to 5.0% in that one month.

In December 2009, there was a net loss of 85,000 jobs. And the unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 10.0%?

We have lost a net total of 96,000 in two months and the unemployment rate fell from 10.2%?

This is liberal math.

As Heidi Shierholz pointed out, the Department of labor is reducing the number of people in the work force dramatically — shrinking it by 661,000 people in just one month — down to a labor force of only 64.6% of those eligible.

Without that shrinkage, unemployment would be 10.4%, Shierholz said.

The reason that it still looks and feels bad is because it is still bad even though they keep telling us that it is getting better and the stimulus is working.

As Surber points out here:

Those numbers do not add up. Clearly the administration is removing people from the labor market statistically at a faster rate than jobs are disappearing in some sort of desperate attempt to rationalize a $787 billion stimulus dud.

The government has all kinds of accounting tricks (like global warming scientists) to hide the decline. They use methods that would land private business owners in jail and they get away with it. Keep in mind that we keep losing jobs (and that is under reported) and the rate holds steady or drops. It makes no sense unless people are being removed from the equation.

Also keep in mind this is the same government that tells you there was a surplus of money when Clinton was president even though the government had (and still has) massive debt.

Big Dog

Gunline

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19 Responses to “About Those Unemployment Numbers”

  1. Adam says:

    “It makes no sense unless people are being removed from the equation.”

    This is no secret. They don’t count people who are no longer looking for work. You can’t attack the methods for collecting a long established measurement to say it should really be measured such and such way and it would be much worse.

    This is exactly like the balanced budget. You’re not saying they didn’t balance the budget, just that you want to change the way you measure the budget to prove it wasn’t balanced.

  2. Adam says:

    I don’t really understand Surber’s point. BLS calls them “Marginally-attached workers” and it’s something you even state as known yourself.

    Surber kicks off with an inaccuracy from the start:

    For the 24th consecutive month, there was a net loss of jobs in the United States in December…

    BLS has revised November non-farm payroll from -11,000 to +4,000. We actually added jobs in November.

    Unemployment is brutal right now. What you fail to note is that it has gotten much better. We went from average of 691,000 jobs lost in Q1 2009 to 69,000 jobs lost in Q4 2009. We added jobs in November. This is obviously bad news for Obama…

    • Big Dog says:

      Grasshopper, they say folks are being removed faster than usual to keep the numbers down.

      Read the linked posts and see how Democrats attacked Bush when he had much better job numbers.

      • Adam says:

        I’m not one to deny the partisan attacks from both sides. My biggest complaint about Bush other than 2 stupid wars was lack of a strong recovery and job growth. We had one of the first jobless recoveries in history under Bush and it’s looking like this one will be similar unless something changes this year.

        • Blake says:

          No- there will be a double- dip recession, and a year from now, even with all the money O’bamma will try to pump into the economy, the jobless numbers will still be bad, because they DO NOT COUNT THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN UP LOOKING FOR A JOB. If they did, the true percentage would be around 17- 18%.

  3. Big Dog says:

    And the change for October was

    -111,000 to -127,000

    That November adjustment was just made and maybe Surber used the previous data but in Feb it might be down again.

    • Adam says:

      The November adjustment was made in the report telling the numbers for December. He’s wrong to suggest 24 straight months and should issue a correction.

      February hopefully won’t be terrible but they aren’t expecting as strong of growth all this year as they had in the last quarter of 2009. Best case may be +8 by the end of the year but worst is it keeps growing and we may not even be fully leveled off. There’s still a growing chance of another dip but hopefully we’ll avoid that.

      • Darrel says:

        Bigd: “…in Feb it might be down again.”>>

        Adam: “February hopefully won’t be terrible”>>

        DAR
        Bidg hopes it is terrible. He roots against America, if it might hurt Obama.

      • Adam says:

        Nevermind. I see now what you mean by February, but keep in mind that it could go even lower. September was revised 2 months in a row from -263,000 to -219,000 and again from -219,000 to -139,000. The job loss values in general look better and better each month even as unemployment remains very high and probably will most of this year.

  4. Big Dog says:

    No Darrel, I do not hope they will be bad in February and I was not talking about February’s numbers. I made the point that if October was adjusted this time then November can be adjusted again.

    I want us to do well (hope is not proper mission planning) but history tells us that all the intervention will not make things better.

    Adam, we have slowed in losses but we have to get to a point where that will happen. Not everyone can lose jobs.

  5. Big Dog says:

    Unemployment was down most of the Bush years.

    • Adam says:

      It depends on how you look at it. Compared to when Bush took office (4%) his numbers were high. Compared to when he left office (8%) most of his numbers were low. Anything above 5% is getting uncomfortable. Bush averaged 6% in his 8 years. If we’re looking at another decade where we hope for 5 or less but settle for 6 or less then Bush did great. We probably can’t hope for 4% again in the near future.

      • Big Dog says:

        Keep the standard in mind when we see the numbers Obama ends up with.

        Under 5% is close to fully employed.

      • Darrel says:

        Fair minded people know that GW Bush benefited from following the strongest job creation record in American history. The 2009 numbers falter in part because they follow the worst job creation record in modern history.

        D.
        —————
        “Over the past 75 years, one trend has held constant. Rapid job growth only occurs when there’s a Democrat in The White House.

        No Republican President — not Eisenhower, not Nixon, not Reagan, not Bush — has ever created more jobs, or created jobs at a faster rate, than his Democratic predecessor. It’s not even close… On average, job growth under Democrats is more than twice that under Republicans.

        Whatever benchmark you use, the difference is dramatic. Since Truman was elected in 1948, 53.2 million new jobs were created during the 24 years when Democrats held The White House, and 38.3 million were created during the 36 years of Republican administrations.”

        –Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls.

        LINK.

        • Blake says:

          “…Job creation record in American History..”- I am guessing that you are referring to the dot com “bubble” that had false and unsustainable numbers, numbers that “popped”, left many without a job, and never came back.
          That is what you call that?
          False prosperity?
          I suppose you think Enron was a great company, then, with THAT kind of mindset.

        • Big Dog says:

          There has been rapid growth with Obambi in the WH?

          If you keep hiring people into the government and make it bigger there will be more jobs. None of them produce wealth (except for the political elites).

          Discount the wars they got us into where they drafted millions of kids to fight (that is a great jobs program) and what do you have? I guess the Dems gave us a lot of jobs with the housing bubble until the bubble burst as a result of Democrat corruption.

        • Darrel says:

          BLK: “# [Greatest] “…Job creation record in American History..”- I am guessing that you are referring to the dot com “bubble”>>

          DAR
          Clinton’s fantastic and unsurpassed job creation record was notable specifically for creating a great number of MANUFACTURING jobs.

          Bigd: If you keep hiring people into the government and make it bigger there will be more jobs. None of them produce wealth>>

          DAR
          Yes, your crowd would know a little bit about that. Let’s look at the record.

          Which party is better at “small government” and keeping federal spending down? Since 1959 federal spending has gone up an average $35 billion a year under Democratic presidents and $60 billion under Republicans. So it’s no surprise to find Republican presidents have increased the national debt much faster, more than $200 billion per year, versus less than a $100 billion per year under Democrats. And this is not even counting the second term of G.W. Bush.

          Link

      • Blake says:

        We can’t hope for 4% until the “light- skinned African- American” is out of office.
        Gee- I hope I am not being racist here- if so, then so was Reid.

  6. Big Dog says:

    Darrel, you really need to get some new material. It is tiresome to have you cut and paste the same stuff over and over.

    But to your point, government spending and hiring people to work in the government are two different things.

    Republicans have had to spend more to clean up Democrat messes. Bush just spent too much but he is not a conservative, he is another progressive.

    So to recap for the slow, you can spend a lot of government money and not create jobs and you can hire a lot of people to work for government. Obama has hired a lot of people to work for government and he has spent a lot of money and not created any jobs.

    He really is good, he did it all.