Saturday, January 8, 2011

Man Are We In Trouble!—Unemployment Numbers for December Sucked Wind

December unemployment numbers came out from the BLS yesterday (Friday): The Bureau of Lying Statistics—excuse me!, the Bureau of Labor Statistics—did its monthly number-crunching. 

And as to be expected, they toed the Party line. 

Check out the A-15 chart of the BLS, which gives a succinct breakdown of the various unemployment figures:

Click to expand, and view the full horror. 
Looks good, right? U-3 unemployment is down to 9.4% from 9.8% in the previous month, while U-6 is slowly creeping down to 16.7%—sounds like progress, right? Sounds like we’re turning a corner—right?


Wrong—and this month, the BLS were sneaky about it: If you look at the A-1 chart on their release, you’ll notice that total civilian labor force dropped two-tenths of 1%, from 153.95 million to 152.69 million. 

Two-tenths of one percent? BFD you might say with a shrug—

—oh, but it is a Big F-ing Deal: That two-tenths of a percent means that 260,000 person are no longer in the work force. They didn’t die—worse, they gave up. Or worse yet, the BLS’s definition of unemployed no longer covers them. They are unemployed, looking for work, but have been out of the work force for more than a year—the BLS’s definition of “no longer part of the labor force”. We all know such cases, which are becoming rampant—and we know that these cases desperately want to work. 

But the BLS is excluding them from the national head-count. 

So with a smaller pool of workers, the BLS could claim that the number of U-3 unemployed dropped to 9.4% in December. But if those 260k workers were still counted as part of the work force, then U-3 would have been 9.6% unemployed—not such a big improvement. 

And if we go back a couple of months, and recalculate so as to count those people out of the work force for more than two years who are still looking for work? Then we’re way over 10% U-3 unemployment. 

So the unemployment situation? It’s sucking wind like a jet engine, brother. 

“Let ‘er rip!”

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