Friday, September 04, 2009

Unemployment Rate Surges To 9.7%

Well, this isn't exactly the way that the Obama Administration wanted to head into the Labor Day weekend, is it? The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 9.7%. It had been at 9.4% and experts had expected it to rise to only 9.5%. It's the highest figure in 26 years. Since the NLRB said that the recession started in November 2007, 6.9 million people have lost their jobs.

There are several factors at play here. First, the adjusted rate doesn't take into account those discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs. It also doesn't take into account those workers whose unemployment benefits have run out.

It undercounts those numbers such that a more comprehensive tally of unemployment, which the Department calls the U-6 rate, is actually 16.8%.
The U-6 is Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. Marginally attached workers are persons 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 recent past. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job.
The number of discouraged workers has doubled over the past 12 months, which is a sign that the economy isn't exactly hitting on all cylinders. The only glimmer of good news is that the number of new jobs lost this past week declined to its lowest levels in months.

Note too that the media reports don't do much to indicate the number of jobs lost since President Obama took office, nor when the porkfest was passed in the hope to save or create millions of jobs. That simply hasn't materialized.

Then again, the bad jobs data given right before a holiday weekend is good news since most people aren't really paying attention to it in any event.

No comments: