February 4, 2011

"This is a very strange jobs report from the Labor Department."

"The economy gained a paltry 36,000 jobs in January according to the report, which is far below expectations and a real disaster for the economy. Nevertheless, the topline unemployment rate fell 0.4% to 9.0%."

52 comments:

Rob said...

It's that "unexpected" behavior of a fraction that occurs when one reduces the denominator while keeping the numerator about the same.

Scott M said...

People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?

edutcher said...

Welcome to Campaign '12. Expect to see a lot of this.

Scott M said...

People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?

You broke the code.

cubanbob said...

According to Yahoo finance, Canada, with on tenth of our population added 69,000 jobs to our 36,000.
One trillion in stimulus spending and we are worse off than before and deeper in debt. Only democrats could pull off such an achievement, no ordinary person could be this incompetent. The county is in the best of hands.
God help us since with this merry gang of arrogant elitist, foolish and willfully blind group of new age communists no one else will.

ricpic said...

Things are going great as more and more simply give up and become the disappeared.

mesquito said...

Looks like in several tens of thousands of Americans have taken up the Welfare Way of Life.

Phil 3:14 said...

Doctor analogy:

The patient is off pressors with a now stable blood pressure but not ready to move out of the ICU.

(And we're all wondering whether the side effects of the pressors were worth it.)

David said...

Scott M said...
"People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?"

This is your morning wake up call, Scott.

The unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage of the labor force. The labor force consists of those persons working, or looking for work. If you stop looking, you are out of the equation.

The actual unemployment rate, if you counted those who have stopped looking, is estimated between 15-20 percent. Estimates vary.

This report is not good news (though the lousy weather may be influencing the "looking for work" category.)

AJ Lynch said...

Two possibilities:

The snowstorms have screwed up the state's reporting.

Or they are cooking the books badly [cause everyone saw this contradiction in the data].

edutcher said...

mesquito said...

Looks like in several tens of thousands of Americans have taken up the Welfare Way of Life.

And a lot of those people will vote D to keep the Federal heroin coming.

WV "jactork" Monkee's uncle.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The NYT article about this blamed the weather. I would've thought lots of snow needing shoveling would mean more people hired, but apparently no.

wv: fradow.

rdkraus said...

This report, like all gov't economic reports, is bullshit.

Period.

Everyone here knows that this is crap, yet they expect us to believe it.

For a good discussion of why and how gov't statistics are crap, I recommend Vox Day's "Return of the Great Depression" for an analysis that will make you laugh and cry.

David said...

"The NYT article about this blamed the weather."

Possible, but there is no way to know. Do people stop looking for work because of snowstorms?

Robert Cook said...

It's not strange at all when one acknowledges that the umenployment statistics are lies to begin with, ginned up to give a falsely rosy picture of the grim reality. Rather than our umemployment rate being the grim-but-not-so-grim-sounding 9.X% that is oft-quoted--note that it never seems to hit that double-digit mark, which, psychologically, would be much more dire--many estimate it to be at least double the official figures.

They stop counting despairing people who have given up and stopped looking for work; those who have taken early retirement only because they have no other options at a certain age to become re-employed; those whose unemployment benefits have run out and who thus cannot apply for more; and those who may be marginally employed...working part-time or even sub-part-time jobs for meager compensation, too little to save or even meet the bills, but enough to get them marked as "employed." (I'm sure there are other categories of non-working people who are not counted.)

It's like when we hear reports that the "economy is in recovery" even though jobs are not becoming newly available. Such reports, when not false, have to do with the profits enjoyed by Wall Street, which is only tangentially related to the well-being of many Americans seeking work and trying to pay their bills.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?

I've never understood why we are supposed to be concerned about people who don't try and find jobs. If someone is unemployed but has given up looking for work, any kind of work, that shows a serious lack of initiative on their part and I'm not sure why I or anyone else should care about people who won't try and better their situation. And the welfare system isn't likely to be supporting them, thanks to the bipartisan welfare reform policies passed in the 90s. There's a lot of things to be concerned about with regard to unemployment, but the fate of those who somehow are supporting themselves and don't want to find work isn't one of those things.

BigFire said...

Simple. BLS change the way they count the workforce. If you shrunk the work force (lopping those unemployed for more than 2 years), then you've reduced the unemployment rate.

Quayle said...

See - things are getting better!

Obama did.........um.....

......uh.......

....well, things are just getting better.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?

I've never understood why we are supposed to be concerned about people who don't try and find jobs. If someone is unemployed but has given up looking for work, any kind of work, that shows a serious lack of initiative on their part and I'm not sure why I or anyone else should care about people who won't try and better their situation


As always, some phony folksy is blowing smoke.

Try being laid off in your 40 or 50s and looking for a new job. Employers are looking for kids who can be worked like slaves and won't use a lot of benefits.

If you're far enough along, you always have the option of retiring, but it makes you dip into your money a lot sooner than you wanted.

If not, you've got to find a way to put food on the table. Some people go into the underground economy.

In any case, "giving up" may have nothing to do with lack of initiative.

somefeller said...

Excuses from Edutcher. No surprise. Those who can, do, and those who can't, bitch.

Hoosier Daddy said...

People stopped looking and are no longer included in the percentage?

When you can collect up to two years worth of unemployment how hard are you going to be looking?

Even Krugman admitted this much in one of his books (although later he disavowed ever saying it).

Hoosier Daddy said...

Try being laid off in your 40 or 50s and looking for a new job. Employers are looking for kids who can be worked like slaves and won't use a lot of benefits.

Nonsense. Employers are looking for dependable people who will actually show up for work and do the job. That tends to be older workers who, you know, have responsibilities (family, mortgage) rather than 20 somethings who live for the weekend.

Also skill sets have something to do with hiring. In lean times, employers prefer a hire who can hit the ground running rather than spend time training Betsy Sue on how to work a copier.

Clay-ipso Facto said...

HD asked: When you can collect up to two years worth of unemployment how hard are you going to be looking?

We've had a number of people come in to interview for an available position (FT, $15/hr, benefits) who in the end said "no thanks" because they'd prefer to sit on the couch (or in some cases, continue working for cash on the side) while collecting unemployment checks.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

Excuses from Edutcher. No surprise. Those who can, do, and those who can't, bitch.

No excuses, facts.

But, as I've said, it must be easy for some phony folksy to sit in Mom's basement and pass judgment.

Mark said...

According to an AP report I read, the number of people who identify as "Self Employed" is way up. Also, it's possible very small businesses may be picking up the hiring slack (although I'm surprised they don't appear in the numbers; how small does a business have to be to avoid Labor Department reporting requirements?)

I'm willing to accept that this may be good news, but I can't help thinking it represents a contraction of total wages payed by the private sector to private employees, especially when you consider that the self-employed get hit much harder with taxes, vis-a-vis carrying the burden of the "employer's" contribution to Social Security.

FloridaSteve said...

So is "strange" the new word for using statistics to tell a complete lie?

PaulV said...

Somefeller making excuses for epic fail of Obama and whining when someone points out failure. More of the same denial.

WV:lesser
Is Obamacare the lesser of Obama's failures?

somefeller said...

But, as I've said, it must be easy for some phony folksy to sit in Mom's basement and pass judgment.

Not as easy as attacking necessary government safety net and regulatory policies, and those who support them, while maxing out on unemployment benefits like you, big chief.

Florida said...

"So is "strange" the new word for using statistics to tell a complete lie?"

It's not just the statistics.

They call this a "jobs" report.

Not an "unemployment report."

This isn't about "jobs." It's about the number of people who lack employment because of Obama Administration economic policies.

Everything with these Democrats is a lie.

Ralph L said...

So why aren't these hardup people on TV every night?

OK, a stupid question.

I always go to firedoglake for complete economic news.

somefeller said...

Somefeller making excuses for epic fail of Obama and whining when someone points out failure. More of the same denial.

Not making any excuses for Obama, and my views on this particular topic were the same when Bush was President and will be the same when the next GOP President takes office. People who don't look for work aren't the same as people who can't find work. But keep talking about failure, PaulV, I suspect that's a topic you are very familiar with.

TMink said...

AJ, they are not cooking the books, they are "seasonally adjusting" the numbers.

It is just happenstance that they only seasonally adjust the numbers down.

Trey

Florida said...

"The labor force consists of those persons working, or looking for work. If you stop looking, you are out of the equation."

Horseshit.

I stopped looking and began trying to form my own business because there were no jobs to be had BY looking. Was I unemployed? Or not?

They stopped counting me, even though I still WANTED a job but was not wasting my precious time and resources looking for one since none were being offered.

The Labor Department stops counting people who still WANT a job but cannot find one, because that makes the number smaller for Barack Hussein Obama.

Their goal is to minimize the headline number and they do that by not counting unemployed people.

It's just a horseshit number.

Paul said...

Ann,

There is NOTHING strange with the report. They just pulled numbers out of thin air and with the problems in Egypt, they Hoped you didn't see the Change.

I stopped listening to them along time ago. They are no more than a propaganda outlet for the government. They say only what they are told to say, sily or not.

rhhardin said...

People stopped going for coffee.

Coffee breaks are an important component of the unemployment rate.

Maguro said...

People who don't look for work aren't the same as people who can't find work.

No, it's not exactly the same. But it's not good news that so many people have given up looking for work, is it?

Anthony said...

Well, heck, by November 2012 no more jobs will have been created but the unemployment rate will be at 5%!

Clay-ipso Facto said...

Florida, if your cover letter has even 1/10th the intensity of what you write here, you are still scaring the SHIT out of prospective employers/investors, man.

somefeller said...

No, it's not exactly the same. But it's not good news that so many people have given up looking for work, is it?

I'd say it depends. If they have given up looking for work because they think they are too good to perform the jobs available to them and have other means of support, I'm not sure it's anything we need to worry about. We need to worry about people who need to work to support themselves and their families and who can't find jobs. There's plenty of them and that's a problem we must address. But by definition, they aren't the ones who have given up looking for work. If someone who used to work in an office prefers to live off of savings or handouts from relatives than work retail, I don't see why I should care.

Phil 3:14 said...

Florida, if your cover letter has even 1/10th the intensity of what you write here, you are still scaring the SHIT out of prospective employers/investors, man.

funny!

BJM said...

It's getting more difficult to fudge the numbers as fewer voters are willing to sip the Kool-aid.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

No, it's not exactly the same. But it's not good news that so many people have given up looking for work, is it?

I'd say it depends. If they have given up looking for work because they think they are too good to perform the jobs available to them and have other means of support, I'm not sure it's anything we need to worry about. We need to worry about people who need to work to support themselves and their families and who can't find jobs. There's plenty of them and that's a problem we must address. But by definition, they aren't the ones who have given up looking for work. If someone who used to work in an office prefers to live off of savings or handouts from relatives than work retail, I don't see why I should care.


More smoke blown. Retail jobs aren't there for people with experience in retail. Healthcare jobs aren't there for nurses. I know people who have decades of experience who can't get hired.

This garbage of, "If someone who used to work in an office prefers to live off of savings or handouts from relatives than work retail", is an out for The Zero and his friends who rearranged the economy to suit themselves. A lot of people have gone through their savings. The relatives, if they were ever tapped at all, are hard-pressed themselves now that gas is 3.25 and food prices are going up because of the ethanol scam. People who have been employed all their lives are now finding they can't find a place for themselves.

As I say, it's easy to sit in Mom's basement. Those who have been out there for anywhere between 1 - 4 years know how bad it is. And the day will come when what's happening in Egypt will happen here unless the current crew is thrown out of office and somebody who knows what he (or she)'s doing starts cutting taxes and regulations.

Chip Ahoy said...

Google's translator is a lot of fun. I set the languages from "Reportage for a Democratic Administration" to "Reportage for a Republican Administration" and the phrase translated: "the economy is still shit."

Robert Cook said...

"And the day will come when what's happening in Egypt will happen here unless the current crew is thrown out of office and somebody who knows what he (or she)'s doing starts cutting taxes and regulations."

You're mistaken if you think the people in office now don't know what they're doing or if you believe that cutting taxes and regulations will help our jobs crisis. They've been cutting taxes and regulations for years and it is the reckless criminality of the corporations unleashed from government oversight and form their rightful tax obligations that has contributed to our calamitous economy.

The American government, unchanging from administration to adminstration in its overarching policy--to serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and to expand its grip on resources all over the world--continues to do what it means to do: help the wealthy accrue more wealth.

Robert Cook said...

"The Labor Department stops counting people who still WANT a job but cannot find one, because that makes the number smaller for Barack Hussein Obama."

You're misled if you think this a feature of Obama's Dept. of Labor; this is a feature of the American government's Dept. of Labor, and this fudging of figures was rampant long before Obama even thought of running for President.

Obama is just following in the footsteps of his predecessors in acting as a lackey for the wealthy interests to whom our government is indentured.

Scott M said...

What are you doing about the situation, RC?

Maguro said...

More commie boilerplate from Cook.

Why is your writing so stilted and unnatural, Robert? Your comments sound like they're cribbed from the North Korean news agency. If you're using their material you should at least give them credit in a footnote or something.

somefeller said...

Edutcher moans:More smoke blown. Retail jobs aren't there for people with experience in retail. Healthcare jobs aren't there for nurses. I know people who have decades of experience who can't get hired.

I didn't say jobs were plentiful and I stated that unemployment is a real problem. However, the only way you can get a job is if you look for one, and if you prefer not to look and make excuses for not looking, don't come crying to me. And it's that cohort of people we're talking about - the ones who aren't looking for work.

As I say, it's easy to sit in Mom's basement.

Yeah, I notice you like to say that, over and over. It's one of the weird little tropes you like to repeat. I'm writing this from my home, not anyone else's basement. Maybe that's where you live, but that's your problem, not mine.

And the day will come when what's happening in Egypt will happen here unless the current crew is thrown out of office and somebody who knows what he (or she)'s doing starts cutting taxes and regulations.

And of course, you close with thinly-veiled fantasies of revolution and violence against those whom you blame for your lot in life. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, fantasies of revolution are the last refuge of the loser.

madawaskan said...

OK look my memory is bad today-but how many jobs to you have to add monthly-just to keep up with population fluctuations-to maintain an annual net positive?

I'm thinking-36,000 ain't it.

I mean what's the monthly retirement numbers, or early mortality, or I had to move: go to prison, detox have a nervous break down and what not.


36,000 barely fills in those potential "openings".

madawaskan said...

Hell since the theme seems to be feminism today let me add some positive reasons for population flux-

marrying your long distance relationship, maternity leave.

Since the rate of unemployment for males has been higher lately the "female flux" should be an even higher percentage than before.

AJ Lynch said...

Trey:

That is what I meant "seasoning" the books or cooking the books. Heh.

Issob Morocco said...

Good thing that pesky recession ended 19 months ago.