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Friday, September 07, 2012

Unemployment is down!

The BLS reports unemployment has dropped .2 percent, to 8.1 percent. That's good, right? The recovery is on the way! Well, not so much:
The reason the unemployment rate "edged down" is that 1.483 million people gave up and exited the workforce! The Department of Labor Lies doesn't count anyone who gives up any longer, so the "unemployment rate" is claimed to have decreased. But what's worse is that there were a net 868,000 fewer people with jobs in August over July, despite there being 212,000 more people of working age in the population. That's right -- net-on-net over one million fewer people (adjusted for population change) were working last month.
This is precisely why I said that it is more informative to look at the Employment-Population Ratio in the Greenberg interview last night. The U3 figure is very easily gamed by simply not counting people who are not employed as unemployed.

Labels:

44 Comments:

Anonymous Daniel September 07, 2012 1:16 PM  

Don't be so technical. Maybe all those people have stopped looking for work because they've all won the lottery or are the lazy heirs of the 1%. Besides, the Employment-Population Ratio is bad economics: it might make people so sad that they don't want to buy goods! How do you expect consumer confidence to rebound if you keep telling everyone that they don't have a job?

Anonymous Tschafer September 07, 2012 1:20 PM  

The statistics Washington puts out are getting to be about as reliable as those of the USSR under Stalin. "Production is up, and unemployment is down, Comrades! Rejoice, and just ignore all those Unpersons who have given up looking for work. Wreckers, Kulaks, and slackers, all of them, they don't deserve jobs..."

Anonymous Feh September 07, 2012 1:33 PM  

He says,

"the employment rate of the population, which is the only figure in the report that matters for government sustainability as only employed people pay taxes,"

Yeah, true, but how many of those "employed people who pay taxes" are on the government payroll (directly or as contractors) and thus are net tax eaters?

Anonymous Aeoli Pera September 07, 2012 1:34 PM  

Good economics is the kind that makes the numbers go up. When the numbers go down, that's bad.

Does this mean I can write Monday's article?

Blogger Joshua_D September 07, 2012 1:39 PM  

Aeoli Pera September 07, 2012 1:34 PM

Good economics is the kind that makes the numbers go up. When the numbers go down, that's bad.

Does this mean I can write Monday's article?


Well, you'll have to bump up your word count, but I don't see why not.

Anonymous You Know Who September 07, 2012 1:40 PM  

The solution is more immigration! Much, much, much more immigration!

Don't ask us how we know; we know. We're smarter than you, and more moral, too.

More immigration now!!

Blogger Professor Hale September 07, 2012 1:41 PM  

Maybe the ones who have given up looking for work are: Baby Boomer Retirees, having worked full productive lives and saved are now going to pur their feet up and enjoy the fruits of ttheir labors; mothers returning to the home to raise their own children instead of outrsourcing the jobs, and illegal immigrants returning to guatamala.

So it's all good.

Anonymous Johnny Reb September 07, 2012 1:42 PM  

From reading Solzhenitsyn last night at the bar a thought comes to me. We should rid ourselves of the productive class. Boom! Problem solved! It now takes two or more workers to replace one. Unemployment takes a nose dive. What could possibly go wrong? Good thing Vox is in Italy else I'd push to forbid him from anything but playing video games and reading. Soccer? Maybe but only in the Gulag.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera September 07, 2012 1:43 PM  

Feh,

I surfed irs.gov looking for an answer to your question, but it turns out the tax code is complicated.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera September 07, 2012 1:47 PM  

I thought of a title for my column.

"Obama is bad at math"

Anonymous Gen. Kong September 07, 2012 1:54 PM  

More Soviet-style statistics from the regime. Who would have thunk it? Imagine my shock and sooopraaihze!

Blogger Dan Hewitt September 07, 2012 2:00 PM  

Are you aware of an Employment to Working Age Population ratio? The Employment to Population ratio, I would think, is going to trend slightly downward over time due to an aging population. Not to say that demographics is not a problem, it’s just a different problem than the topic of this post.

Anonymous dB September 07, 2012 2:03 PM  

Vox

Why does the BLS report the numbers the way they do? There must be a reason they do that. One could say that they are just incompetent, or are trying to affect policy or something else. Lets avoid conspiracy theories. Assuming they have always done it this way regardless of who is in charge, why do they do it that way then?

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2012 2:10 PM  

> The Employment to Population ratio, I would think, is going to trend slightly downward over time due to an aging population.

I was under the impression that the Employment-Population Ratio only counted working age people. I could be wrong about that. I don't really have time to check at the moment.

Anonymous 691 September 07, 2012 2:14 PM  

So, how many people have given up looking for work during Obama's first term? At 1.5 mill a quarter that's a rate of 24 million over four years. They can't all be retired because no one has a pension. And it's not like women are working until marriage and then staying home with kids.

That's an extra 8% of the US population missing.

Anonymous Josh September 07, 2012 2:18 PM  

Why don't they have economic numbers for the rise or fall of the animal spirits?

Blogger Joshua_D September 07, 2012 2:24 PM  

Josh September 07, 2012 2:18 PM

Why don't they have economic numbers for the rise or fall of the animal spirits?


Oh. They do.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/chart-day-smith-wesson-sales?page=1

Anonymous Feh September 07, 2012 2:30 PM  

That's an extra 8% of the US population missing.

Don't worry, they'll all show up to vote in November.

Anonymous joe doakes September 07, 2012 2:31 PM  

I always hated stats so maybe this is just my personal pig-ignorance, but isn't that chart affected by demographics as much as economics?

A baby boom would lower the number, right, as would Baby Boomers retiring en masse? So is that really a helpful chart?

Shouldn't we measure Percentage of People Working Out Of Working Age Not-Disabled People? In other words, labor force participation rate?

.

Anonymous Feh September 07, 2012 2:36 PM  

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/09/05/Democrats-change-platform-God-Israel

Tonight, the Democratic National Committee suspended the rules of the convention and inserted language regarding God and the State of Israel back to its platform. They had to vote three times to do it – and they had to lie to deem it passed, even though it was clear that the measure did not pass a voice vote in the chamber.
...
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the head of the Democratic National Convention, got up and asked for a two-thirds vote on the amendments to the platform. He took a voice vote, with people stating aloud “aye” and “nay.”

The first time, he couldn’t determine if two-thirds of the voters had said “aye”; a loud “no” vote was heard. He asked for a second vote.

The second time, he couldn’t determine whether the voice vote had passed. Again. Villaraigosa looked around in confusion.

Finally, on the third attempt, Villaraigosa took a voice vote and simply declared, in the “opinion of the chair,” that it had been passed. There were widespread boos in the convention hall to the renewed inclusion of God and language about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And Villaraigosa was lying, in any case – there is no way that the voice vote had passed. Opponents stood up and protested, waving and shouting. The fix was in. The Democratic leadership had to ram a mention of God and a mention of Jerusalem through, violating their own rules, to avoid the fallout within their own ranks.


By the way, Vox, does this not demonstrate that the Democrats ALSO have no respect for the "rule of law" and thus undermine the claim that the Republicans are somehow "worse" than the Democrats?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 07, 2012 2:53 PM  

The EPR is the issue every media source dances around, they simply won't talk about it. Anyways, with the family problems, my health in decline and the horrific interviews I've subjected myself to, no one is hiring me...It's ok, just another person who isn't paying taxes, isn't paying into SS/medicare, isn't paying into the system, another person pushed into poverty, another person that no longer worries about the employment fiasco.

My family needs me more, perhaps in that a man who NNEDS the job will have that over me. And that is a good thing.

Anonymous DT September 07, 2012 3:15 PM  

I can't decide if this is proof that the first QE worked so well that now those people don't have to work, or if it's proof that we need another QE. Either way, I'm sure we need more immigrants, more green energy jobs, and higher taxes on 'the rich'. And more student loans. Definitely more student loans.

In fact, why don't we just make a law that people who give up looking for work have to take out student loans to go back to school? When they have degrees there will be jobs!

And when are we going to force workers to buy homes just like we force them to buy health insurance? Higher home prices = more equity = more refinancing to pull cash out for vacations and big screen TVs. Surely that will raise the animal spirits!

Man...I should be president.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Award Winning Cruelty Artist September 07, 2012 3:19 PM  

But there is, like, so many numbers. I don't think I can count that high on the hands.

*Award granted on 9/7/12, for crushing a handicapped opponent by counting to five. I'm a regular abecedarian now.

Anonymous patrick kelly September 07, 2012 3:36 PM  

Except it looks like some old folks just won't go away stay retired like they should:

Seniors returning to work

Anonymous Hood September 07, 2012 3:53 PM  

Except it looks like some old folks just won't go away stay retired like they should

The labor participation rate would already be accounting for seniors, as it is a percentage of total population. The demographics of who's working does not matter.

It does make the youth much more vibrant when they are unemployed though.

Anonymous duckman September 07, 2012 3:53 PM  

The Department of Labor Lies doesn't count anyone who gives up any longer.

Just a nit: I happen to know the Dept of Labor wasn't counting them in 1978. They may never have counted them.

Anonymous Anonymous September 07, 2012 4:20 PM  

Hey. Don't count all those people on welfare as being unemployed. Being on welfare is a really important job you know.

Anonymous jack September 07, 2012 4:36 PM  

Driving home just a few min. ago the talk show guy was saying that the labor dept. claimed that some 88 million [with an M] qualified workers in the USA were not working. If true, this is amazing. Who could tell me what that stat is the labor uses? I guess I should know that by now what with visiting this blog so regularly.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera September 07, 2012 5:02 PM  

jack,

You can get whatever number you want if you play the definitions game. The thing is that you have to pick definitions and stick with them (unlike the craven BLS).

E.g.

-Do stay-at-home mothers count as "qualified and nonworking"?
-Do seasonal workers count as "qualified and nonworking" if they're underemployed?

Keep in mind statistics (as a discipline) isn't math so much as it is "math-inspired".

Anonymous Salt September 07, 2012 5:04 PM  

I've had a few liberals point to U6. "See, it's getting better."

Personally, I find it entertaining every time a liberal loses his/her job. :)

Anonymous Yep. September 07, 2012 5:13 PM  

Daniel wrote: "Don't be so technical. Maybe all those people have stopped looking for work because they've all won the lottery or are the lazy heirs of the 1%. Besides, the Employment-Population Ratio is bad economics: it might make people so sad that they don't want to buy goods! How do you expect consumer confidence to rebound if you keep telling everyone that they don't have a job?"

Stop it. Just stop. Not funny. Stop. Please. Stop. Just. Stop. Stop it.

Anonymous Noah B. September 07, 2012 5:25 PM  

More lies... imagine that.

Anonymous JCclimber September 07, 2012 5:36 PM  

BLS: Bureau of Lying Statistics

Anonymous Gen. Kong September 07, 2012 6:42 PM  

Slight OT but worth noting: The Fast and Furious folks, having been scolded by the brace Sir Robins of Republicanism, are planning to expand their seizure of guns owned by those accused of displeasing the regime (no trial, convictions, warrants needed). I just feel so safe and secure knowing there are serious defenders of the constitution out there like Mittens and Ryan the Lyin', not to mention Weepin' Johnny and the Brokeback Boyz.

Anonymous The OASF September 07, 2012 7:10 PM  

According to John Williams at shadowstats.com the unemployment rate is essentially 25 percent after taking into all factors such as the underemployed. He builds fudge factors into his data, but it's certainly infinitely more accurate than the BLS BS. The job losses alone in the energy sector (America's economic salvation!) should send even the headline rate nosediving.

What's sort of amazing is that everybody knows it, yet nobody does anything about it.

Why? Because Americans are a useless, cowardly, dying people who would rather destroy their neighbors lives than the lives of the banksters who are raping them silly.

The collapse. Not soon enough...

Anonymous zen0 September 07, 2012 7:33 PM  

Why? Because Americans are a useless, cowardly, dying people who would rather destroy their neighbors lives than the lives of the banksters who are raping them silly.

I sympathize with your sentiment, but you forgot morbidly obese.

Anonymous The OASF September 07, 2012 7:45 PM  

"I sympathize with your sentiment, but you forgot morbidly obese."

Oh we could include fluoridated, herpes-infested, etc. etc... but I was trying to limit it to an economic context.

Anonymous zen0 September 07, 2012 10:06 PM  

The OASF September 07, 2012 7:45 PM

"I sympathize with your sentiment, but you forgot morbidly obese."

Oh we could include fluoridated, herpes-infested, etc. etc... but I was trying to limit it to an economic context.


Not a criticism, just piggybacking. But now you mention it, America is morbidly obese economically, also.

Anonymous Sexual Eggplant Syndrome September 08, 2012 6:34 AM  

Weiss Research, which is now finally catching up to Casey Research and Simon Black, is forecasting the U-6 figure to be minimum of 30% and will approach 50% before it is all over (a decade from now), with the tax increases beginning on Jan. 1, 2013. This does not even factor in Obamacare in '14. By then, probably the bottom at 50%, and who knows where the top is.

AMC has already got a reality unemployment show in the works. What's next, Running Man ? Does Mittens really want to be POTUS, come this January? I say pray to God for a proactive military coup. Otherwise, martial law will be de facto post collapse, and it will NOT be proactive. Reactive measures are always far more messy than proactive. Pray for a "general's revolt." [1] Far preferable to any other alternative available and conceivable. [see Rogers and Faber]


-------------
[1] One commentator says America needs to throw a "national hissy fit." If it doesn't soon, then the American people will be rewarded a special prize of boot camp. USMC style, not Army. The kind one goes through in which your head is sheared like a sheep, and experience "culture shock" like one never imagined possible.

Blogger IM2L844 September 08, 2012 6:55 AM  

Isn't it a pretty good bet that a significant number of those 368,000 who have supposedly given up looking for work have simply run out of their 27 weeks of unemployment benefits and no longer see any reason to report in to their local employment office? In other words, they haven't actually given up on looking for work. They have only given up on going through the government to find work.

It seems to me that it is not only a disingenuous way to fudge the numbers, but also, when questioned about the real numbers, a way to partially shift some of the blame by implying that there are a bunch of lazy people who have given up looking for work and are now probably just sitting at home on the couch watching TV which is probably not the case at all.

Anonymous RC September 08, 2012 9:14 AM  

"Slight OT but worth noting: The Fast and Furious folks, having been scolded by the brace Sir Robins of Republicanism, are planning to expand their seizure of guns owned by those accused of displeasing the regime (no trial, convictions, warrants needed). I just feel so safe and secure knowing there are serious defenders of the constitution out there like Mittens and Ryan the Lyin', not to mention Weepin' Johnny and the Brokeback Boyz." Gen. Kong

Rick Reese and his family are a perfect example. Completely set up by ATF after reporting a suspected straw purchaser, all assets seized, in jail without bond, at trial 24 of 28 counts thrown out by jury, still all assets were seized. The ATF employees are bonused for seized assets. Nice incentive. The trial was a complete and utter joke. The straw purchaser was turned state's evidence. And on it goes. Welcome to the rule of men.

Anonymous DonReynolds September 08, 2012 1:42 PM  

The unemployment rate is the easiest lie to tell of all the government statistics. Make it whatever you like today and "adjust" it weeks or months later. If anyone were to bother to look at how the unemployment rate is actually "calculated", they would never again believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny.

(Don't even mention how the definitions have been tugged and pulled around over the years. It is impossible to do inter-year comparisons when the criteria keep getting changed.)

Anonymous Azimus September 08, 2012 2:09 PM  

No because everybody needs to eat

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Economist Extraordinaire September 08, 2012 4:45 PM  

Vox have you read this story?

National survey of economists uncovers vast gender gap in policy opinions

It is a survey of Economics Ph.D.'s. I wonder how bad it is on the street with male vs. female votes. And I wonder how the influx of a majority of female students into undergraduate and graduate school is affecting research decisions.

It's confirmation of everything said about women leaning towards socialism and not giving them the right to vote if you want to keep the government small.

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