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Overall Employment Numbers Aren't That Good

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The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes an unemployment number that does not reflect reality.   In the last Quarter for instance, across the U.S., 501,000 people found jobs, but 984,000 quit looking for jobs, and they are not included in the “unemployment rate.” The numbers since 2009 are even more disturbing and are not reflected in the BLS unemployment rate: Since 2009 7,598,000 jobs have been added, yet 14,230,000 people that can work have left the work force and have quit looking.   They are not counted in the BLS numbers. Net jobs since 2009 have dropped by over 6.6 million, according to BLS.  According to the BLS formula, if every American intentionally quit work, our unemployment rate would be 0%. 

Three statistics released by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen December 8th demonstrate fundamental issues the Herald and hardly anyone else are discussing: the long term unemployed, those looking for work for over 27 weeks, stands at 25.7% compared to 19.1% in 2008; the U6 “underemployment rate” of those who are looking for full time work or a better job stands at 9.9% of workers vs 8.8% in 2008; and, the workforce participation rate, of all those eligible to work, stands at 62.5% vs 68.1% in 2008, meaning our economy now after 8 years is supported by nearly 5.5% less people in the work force of those who could work. This decline is not sustainable and clearly reflected in the 14 plus million people leaving work mentioned previously.

Finally, looking at job creation over the decades, the 1980s saw an increase of 15.6 million jobs; the 1990s saw an increase of 15.9 million jobs; the 2000s saw a decline of 16.3 million jobs; and this decade is now projected to lose another 3.3 million jobs, assuming no more financial downturns. America is headed in the wrong direction on job creation and our BLS should publish the truth in an “employment rate” vs. the dishonest “unemployment rate.”   A table from the employment movement “Jobenomics” is attached demonstrating net employment during the most recent four decades.” 

The numbers on top of the last set of bar graphs is for 2020 and the numbers below those are for the third quarter of 2015.

(Editor’s Note: Those no longer looking for jobs is a critical number when looking at the overall unemployment rate as Rob Hartwell outlines above. During this critical election year, let’s hope that the reality of these numbers is part of the presidential debates.)


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