New Fox News Op-ed: Dissecting the New Unemployment Numbers

I would have picked a different title for the piece, but, in any case, my Newest piece starts this way:

The announcement today that the unemployment rate declined slightly to 9.4 percent in July while only 247,000 additional jobs were lost has been greeted as good news. The change in the unemployment rate puts the rate at what it was in May. Yet, even a rough look at the numbers indicates that the true unemployment rate has been getting significantly worse over the last few months.

How is it possible for the unemployment rate to essentially remain unchanged when 247,000 jobs have been lost? The reason is simple -- the number of people who stopped looking for work rose dramatically. Six hundred thirty-seven thousand additional people no longer consider themselves looking for work. This is by far the largest drop in the number of people who consider themselves in the labor force during the last year. -- It is almost twice the 358,000 increase in the people who left the labor force during June and almost four times the average monthly increase of 167,333 over the last year. Jobs are sufficiently scarce and the prospects of people finding them at wages that they are willing to work for so low that many individuals don't think that it is worth their time to even look for a job.

Part of the drop in unemployment is also due to the fact that some people are running out of unemployment benefits and taking part-time jobs. There is usually a big increase in the rate that people find jobs during the last few weeks that they have unemployment benefits. In July 102,670 people saw their unemployment benefits run out. That number rose to 141,538 in August and is expected to soar to 486,049 in September. It will keep on rising each month hitting 1.5 million in just December alone. . . . .

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Blogger Jim W said...

Don't forget there's a ton of people who just graduated school who are looking for work that don't appear on the unemployment roster.

I just graduated law school and am trying to find a job for the first time in 3 years, but it's slim pickings.

8/08/2009 11:02 AM  

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