The nation's December unemployment rate remained unchanged from November at 10 percent, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday, a sign that the hoped for turnaround in joblessness had not yet arrived.
Barack Obama thinks this is good news.
"This is the best jobs report that we've seen since 2007," the president said then. "I've got to admit, my chief economist, Christy Romer, she got about four hugs when she handed us the report."
Having a female in the position of chief economist means we have to put up with this nonsense about four hugs from our progressive liberal President. How about some rational thinking instead?
Note again that Barack Obama at least claims this report is good news. Does he believe it? The only reason the unemployment rate didn't rise is because 661,000 people gave up trying to find jobs. People gave up looking faster than people lost jobs. If Obama could only do a better job of demoralizing the unemployed he could get the official unemployment rate heading downward.
The Labor Department announced this morning that 589,000 jobs were lost in December. The official unemployment rate remained at 10.0%, as the civilian labor force also shrank by an even larger number, 661,000.
Had the labor force not decreased by 661,000 last month, the jobless rate would have been 10.4 percent, according to economists including David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff & Associates in Toronto and Harm Bandholz at UniCredit Research in New York.
All told 1.9 million have given up looking for jobs since May. So the official unemployment rate greatly understates the extent of job loss.
Since May, the labor force has dropped to 153.1 million from nearly 155 million, a 1.2 percent decline. More than 660,000 people exited in December, the most in any single month in 14 years.
In her analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Ms. Shierholz noted that according to federal numbers the labor force has decreased by 810,000 since the recession began in 2007 at a time when, due to population growth, it should have increased by 2.8 million. She said that means there are 3.1 million missing workers who should be in the labor force but are not counted as such. They are a group that, when the economy recovers, also will have to be absorbed into the work force.
Over all, an estimated 3.6 million out-of-work people have been uncounted since the recession began in December 2007. They include people who had not recently looked for work and those who would have entered the work force in normal times, like recent high school and college graduates, but remained on the sidelines as jobs disappeared.
The participation rate, or the share of the population in the labor force, fell to 64.6 percent in December, the lowest level since 1985, from 64.9 percent.
In 1Q 2000 the labor force participation rate was 67.3%. Oh, the good old days.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2010 January 09 09:16 PM Economics Labor|