The Real Unemployment Numbers Without the Propaganda

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“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief.”

~ Jacques Ellul

I heard a lot of rosy unemployment chatter today and I hope rosy will be the trend, but I’m not counting on it yet.

The real figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are more complete than what we are hearing from the administration and the media. The government’s numbers blasted about today included temporary holiday workers and came from the total employed column, ignoring discouraged and underemployed as usual. The real figures from the U-5 and U-6 columns are 10% and 15.2% respectively.

There is another factor at play which is becoming very annoying. Every month, the government over-estimates and then has to lower their estimate weeks later. The erroneous sound bite metastasizes out in the sphere and the government looks good based on a lie. Like feathers in a pillow, you can’t get them back and the lie remains.

That being said, the numbers are inchworm better, but let’s see what happens when the seasonal workers are gone before we open the bubbly.

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization
Measure Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Dec.
2010
Nov.
2011
Dec.
2011
Dec.
2010
Aug.
2011
Sept.
2011
Oct.
2011
Nov.
2011
Dec.
2011
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force 5.4 4.9 4.8 5.6 5.3 5.3 5.1 5.0 5.0
U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force 5.9 4.7 5.0 5.8 5.3 5.2 5.1 4.9 4.9
U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate) 9.1 8.2 8.3 9.4 9.1 9.0 8.9 8.7 8.5
U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers 9.9 8.9 8.8 10.1 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.3 9.1
U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force 10.7 9.7 9.8 10.9 10.6 10.5 10.4 10.2 10.0
U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force 16.6 15.0 15.2 16.6 16.2 16.4 16.0 15.6 15.2
NOTE: Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

Gallup reports –

…Gallup’s mid-December tracking of the unemployment situation showed little improvement and the government’s December unemployment rate is based on mid-month conditions. As such, it seems likely that Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics announcement will show little or no change in the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for December.

This prediction, however, assumes that the labor force doesn’t continue to shrink, or change direction and grow at so rapid a pace that it produces another unexpected, major shift in the size of the workforce and in the government’s unemployment rate, as it did in November. The BLS has announced that it will change its seasonal adjustments — another factor that potentially complicates any projection of the December unemployment rate.

Looking ahead, Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment measures for the end of the month tend to provide insight into the future direction of the unemployment situation. Although they will not be reflected in Friday’s jobs report, Gallup’s most recent measurements seem to imply that the unemployment situation is not deteriorating on an unadjusted basis, as is usually the case at this time of year…

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