Posts Tagged ‘U.S. unemployment rates’

U.S. Unemployment Rate Continues To Fall-As Discouraged Workers “Disappear”

May 5th, 2012 Comments off

he latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the United States supposedly “created” 115,00 jobs in April. Not even President Obama’s supporters are cheering loudly over this figure, as it indicates a slowing down of job creation-and that is if the number is accurate. As many know, BLS jobs numbers are usually a mathematical abstraction based  on assumptions and inferences, not hard numbers. In any event, if there were 115,000 jobs created in April, that is below the approximately 200,000 new jobs that must be created in the U.S each month in order to keep up with population growth. In other words, 115,000 new jobs in April would mean that the American unemployment rate would increase.

But in April, again according to the BLS, the U.S. unemployment rate did not increase; in fact it “declined” to 8.1 percent. If job creation is lagging behind the expected entry of new workers into the U.S. labor market, how did the magicians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics construct a reduction in unemployment?  Very simple. There are so many discouraged unemployed workers in the United States, they are simply giving up and “leaving” the labor force. In many cases, actually, the BLS is exercising initiative and assuming that a certain proportion of the unemployed simply drop out of the workforce each month.

The real meaning of the April jobs number is that the participation of age-eligible Americans in the labor force -both working and unemployed-is at a 30 year low. How is that synonymous with an economic recovery?

In point of fact, a staggeringly high rate of unemployment, made artificially lower by not counting those long-term unemployed workers as being part of the active labor force, is by no means characteristic of a post-recessionary economic recovery. What has recovered since the onset of the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 are equity prices, which have regained almost all of their losses. However, that recovery is not due to increased consumer demand stemming from the reentry into the workforce of formerly unemployed workers. Rather, stock prices regained most of their losses and have enjoyed a recovery due almost entirely to the loose monetary policies of the Federal Reserve under the tutelage of its chairman, Ben Bernanke.

In contrast with the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt during America’s Great Depression of the 1930s, which focused on facilitating job creation, the policymakers in the U.S. have focused their efforts on reinflating equity prices through quantitative easing (money printing) and offering banks (including investment banks) historically low interest rates, in effect free money. Perhaps sooner than we can imagine, history will render its verdict on this policy of neglecting a recovery in the labor market in favor of reinflating the stock market.



U.S. Economy Tanks While American Politicians Go Insane

August 20th, 2010 Comments off

If any further proof is needed that the U.S. economy is headed towards a double dip recession, the latest statistics from the Labor Department provide it. The most recent figures, just released, show that initial jobless claims have risen to 500,000. This is the third consecutive week of rising unemployment claims, and the worst numbers in nine months.

In March 2008, initial jobless claims rose to a peak of 651,000. By July 2010 they had dropped to 427,000. The green shoots corner over at the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury were celebrating the “success” of the Obama stimulus spending, and expected the figures on initial unemployment claims to soon drop below 400,000, a sign that the job market in America was recovering. Instead, however, this figure has soared to 500,000. The reason is simple. There has been no recovery or end to the economic crisis. All that has been accomplished is that Wall Street was bailed out, at the cost of transferring vast amounts of debt from the private to the public sector.

And what are the august politicians of Washington DC doing while the U.S. economy continues its implosion? Surely they must be working night and day trying to salvage the fast eroding American economy. Perhaps they would, if they had not found other fish to fry. For instead of addressing the nation’s profound economic crisis, they are obsessed over the proposed location of a new Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan  and whether or not it should be moved a few blocks, as well as the vital existential question of President Barack Obama’s religious identity (some on Capital Hill feel he is not really a Christian, and might actually be a secret Moslem).

It would appear that the American political establishment has gone deeply insane, and its collective madness will accomplish nothing constructive on behalf of the U.S. economy.

Only In America: U.S. Unemployment Rate “Drops” While Economy Still Sheds Jobs

February 7th, 2010 Comments off

In the bizarre world of quantum mechanics, there is a specific sub-atomic particle that can mathematically be in two places simultaneously. In the even more bizarre world inhabited by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is possible for the American economy to still lose jobs while at the same time the unemployment rate declines. American ingenuity strikes again!

The BLS’s recent report on U.S. unemployment statistics revealed that officially, the American economy lost 20,000 jobs in January. Considering that most economists predicted a small gain in jobs, this is obviously a worse than expected result. Yet, despite the jobs losses, the BLS is also reporting that the official U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 10%  to “only” 9.7%. How did the creative minds at BLS shrink the unemployment rate even though fewer Americans were working in January in comparison with December? Through cunning statistical manipulation. Apparently, someone decided on high that it was not politically expedient to maintain an official U.S. jobless rate in double digits, so despite the continuing job losses, a way was found to report a reduction in the unemployment rate.

What is even more remarkable about this BLS imbroglio is the reaction of mainstream American media. Virtually every significant news source in the United States is heralding the BLS manufactured “drop” in the rate of unemployment as a signpost on the road to economic recovery, and a first rate achievement, demonstrating true progress towards resolving America’s unemployment catastrophe. It seems that there is a collective will in America to drink the Kool-Aid of wishful thinking. One gets the impression that the Democratic Party has borrowed the old faith-based ideology from the Republicans, maintaining that belief that things are indeed getting better will somehow transform celestial thinking into terrestrial reality.

Hidden amidst the opacity of BLS statistics was the admission that the U.S. government had vastly undercounted the number of job losses in 2009, supposedly by more than 600,000. This stunning admission reveals the unreliability of the Bureau of Labor Statistics to accurately gauge jobs destruction in the United States brought on  by the global financial and economic crisis. What we have in lieu of statistical objectivity is PR spin and metaphysical interpretations.

With contradictory statistics pouring out of the BLS, undermining the efficacy of any official analysis of America’s dim employment reality, I offer a more useful gauge of what is actually transpiring. With 70% of America’s economic output derived from consumption, what is actually happening to the financial capacity of American consumers to actively participate in the American economy?  Taking into account  not only high unemployment, but replacement jobs that are part-time or compensated at lower salaries, it is clear that the collective income of American consumers continues to deteriorate. Anecdotal evidence based on plummeting federal and state tax revenues are a clear marker of this calamitous decline in the purchasing power of American consumers.  Unfortunately, not even the creative statisticians and alchemists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics can spin this dim reality into positive signs that America’s economic renaissance is just around the corner.