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Topic: On the methodology of the official unemployment rate.

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All Forums : [GENERAL] : General Discussion : Current Events > On the methodology of the official unemployment rate.
3 MAY 2012 at 7:35am

ActionJack

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Originally Posted By medck (3 MAY 2012 5:20am)

Originally Posted By ActionJack (2 MAY 2012 8:00pm)

There seems to be a consensus here that the level of labor participation is too low for what is desired or needed (social security, future unemployment benefits, etc.) but that potential underrreporting does not necessarily equate to unemployment (if I'm understanding the argument) and that although job growth is slow, the electorate should see the reported 8.2 number as an indication of both an improvement in job creation and an improvement in the overall job creation trend.  Is that an accurate summation?

 

I think that is probably fair.  The various numbers Cicerno is presenting tell much the same tale, a gradual improvement in the employment situation.  Looking at the peak to current levels in each of the three statistics you'd see this fall:

 

Unemployment: -18pc

Marginally attached + discouraged+unemployed+ underemployed: -17.2pc

Marginally attached + discouraged + unemployed: -19.2pc


They all tell the same story -- of them, the "official unemployment" rate is in the middle, although all are pretty close


Well then that suggests to me that the official unemployment number is not decreasing due to workers leaving the workforce (no longer counted) but instead the number is going down due entirely to job creation.  Is that the consensus here?

 


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4 MAY 2012 at 11:48am

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (3 MAY 2012 7:35am)
Well then that suggests to me that the official unemployment number is not decreasing due to workers leaving the workforce (no longer counted) but instead the number is going down due entirely to job creation.  Is that the consensus here?

 

 

Well maybe it's not the consensus which I can well understand.  I can't believe the latest numbers are all baby boomers retiring either.

 

People Not In Labor Force Soar By 522,000, Labor Force Participation Rate Lowest Since 1981

The economy added 115,000 jobs in April—much less than expected and not enough to keep up with natural population growth. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent because another 522,000 adults quit looking for work and are no longer counted. http://www.cnbc.com/id/47294387

 


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4 MAY 2012 at 1:05pm

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Here is a similiar article in which Mercatus' Hall hits the exact same theme.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/03/news/economy/unemployment-rate/index.htm?hpt=hp_t2

 

Mercatus, if you aren't aware, is the Koch-funded economics department at GMU. I have a couple friends who have graduated from there. 

 

Note that he makes the same argument, that the official unemployment rate does not fully reflect the unemployment situation. He even talks about the participation rate. But he does it correctly. 

 

He qualifies each statement with the necesary context:

 

The states that the participation rate is down, and then discusses the relevence of that fact and that part of it is demographic and part of it is economic. He then cites a source with an (guess)estimate of what portion is demographic and which portion is economic. He doen't try to pass off that the entire change in the participation rate is economic. 

 

He states that IF the 6 million people who have dropped out of the workforce were to all search for jobs at the same time, then the unemployment rate would be over 11%. That is a very different statement than the 'true' unemployment rate is 12%. The former puts the number of people who are currently not looking for work in perspective. The second implies that the administration is somehow making the BLS falsify the numbers and that the 12% number is comparable to previous unemployment numbers. The way Hall puts it, one would have to add the number of people who dropped out of the workforce to previous unemployment numbers to make them comparable while still making the valid case that a lot more people have dropped out recently because of the recession. 

 

Throughout, he is also careful to note that we don't actually know how many people have dropped out for economic reasons but that it is fair to speculate that a significant, but unknowable, number have and that it is a problem.

 

Same point, but made with valid arguments and with the correct context for the reader to understand. I'm not sure if I am being clear here, but do you see why I found the first article objectionable and this one valid and fair?

 

 

 


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4 MAY 2012 at 1:18pm

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Originally Posted By cicerno (4 MAY 2012 1:05pm)

Here is a similiar article in which Mercatus' Hall hits the exact same theme.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/03/news/economy/unemployment-rate/index.htm?hpt=hp_t2

 

Mercatus, if you aren't aware, is the Koch-funded economics department at GMU. I have a couple friends who have graduated from there. 

 

Note that he makes the same argument, that the official unemployment rate does not fully reflect the unemployment situation. He even talks about the participation rate. But he does it correctly. 

 

He qualifies each statement with the necesary context:

 

The states that the participation rate is down, and then discusses the relevence of that fact and that part of it is demographic and part of it is economic. He then cites a source with an (guess)estimate of what portion is demographic and which portion is economic. He doen't try to pass off that the entire change in the participation rate is economic. 

 

He states that IF the 6 million people who have dropped out of the workforce were to all search for jobs at the same time, then the unemployment rate would be over 11%. That is a very different statement than the 'true' unemployment rate is 12%. The former puts the number of people who are currently not looking for work in perspective. The second implies that the administration is somehow making the BLS falsify the numbers and that the 12% number is comparable to previous unemployment numbers. The way Hall puts it, one would have to add the number of people who dropped out of the workforce to previous unemployment numbers to make them comparable while still making the valid case that a lot more people have dropped out recently because of the recession. 

 

Throughout, he is also careful to note that we don't actually know how many people have dropped out for economic reasons but that it is fair to speculate that a significant, but unknowable, number have and that it is a problem.

 

Same point, but made with valid arguments and with the correct context for the reader to understand. I'm not sure if I am being clear here, but do you see why I found the first article objectionable and this one valid and fair?

 

 

 

I think you've been quite clear as to why you rejected the first article; I just can't find that relevant passage on which you relied to determine the author implied the administration was making the BLS falsify numbers.  Now I understand that the number of people leaving the workforce cannot be accurately determined as to whether it's for retirement, or just giving up, from the BLS statistics (as a previous link reported), but now what is the consensus?  Is the unemployment rate decreasing due to job growth or workforce retreat?

 


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5 MAY 2012 at 10:33am

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (4 MAY 2012 1:18pm)

I think you've been quite clear as to why you rejected the first article; I just can't find that relevant passage on which you relied to determine the author implied the administration was making the BLS falsify numbers.  Now I understand that the number of people leaving the workforce cannot be accurately determined as to whether it's for retirement, or just giving up, from the BLS statistics (as a previous link reported), but now what is the consensus?  Is the unemployment rate decreasing due to job growth or workforce retreat?

 

It is going down for both reasons.  There is weak job growth but there are also people leaving the workforce.  *Some* of that is due to aging babyboomers, but not all.  Some of it is due to the inability to integrate younger workers which is a huge problem.  There are also workers who have been unemployed and just quit looking for jobs or makes a choice to do something else (stay at home parent, rely on one family wage earner, retire, live with parents, etc).

 

The unemployment statistic does tell us something -- it tells us what percentage of people in the labor force are looking for work and can't find it.  That has a lot of meaning.  It is not, however, the total reflection of the social and economic condition.  However, it is also not appropriate to say it is a "fake" statistic.  If you want to make an argument about discouraged workers or the social and economic pressures from a soft job market, then there are other statistics to use (Cicerno has laid many out).  But those measure different things and just throwing them out as if they mean the *same* thing as unemployment is bad methodology.

 

The same applies to the methodology about inflation --  in this case, the basket of goods has changed over time to reflect new products/spending patterns (cell phones, flat screen TVs, computers, etc).  We've had people on these board falsely claim that meat, milk and gas are not in the inflation rate.  That is just not true.  The fact that gas prices go up by 25% in a year does factor into the inflation rate; but so do dropping television and computer prices as well as maybe 1000 other prices of varying weights.  Again, the inflation statistic is only *part* of a broader econmoic picture; but that does not mean that it is fraudulant.



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5 MAY 2012 at 10:40am

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On the subject of inflation, the AAA keeps track of average fuel prices.

 

http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/?redirectto=http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/index.asp

 

According to their report, regular gas costs $3.792 today.  That compares to $3.823 a week ago (-0.8%), $3.93 a month ago (-3.5%) and $3.985 a year ago (-4.8% for the year).  It is also down from its peak of $4.114 on July 17, 2008 for a deflation of 7.8% over 4 years (about -2.0% per year).  So gas prices might be up from a depressed level in 2009, but on a weekly, monthly, yearly and 4 yearly level they are down. 



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5 MAY 2012 at 1:24pm

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Originally Posted By medck (5 MAY 2012 10:33am)

The unemployment statistic does tell us something -- it tells us what percentage of people in the labor force are looking for work and can't find it.  That has a lot of meaning.  It is not, however, the total reflection of the social and economic condition.  However, it is also not appropriate to say it is a "fake" statistic.  If you want to make an argument about discouraged workers or the social and economic pressures from a soft job market, then there are other statistics to use (Cicerno has laid many out).  But those measure different things and just throwing them out as if they mean the *same* thing as unemployment is bad methodology.

 

I noted the previous presentation concerning "marginally attached", discouraged, and underemployed, and the BLS does offer some data of those groups.  What I've read though is that the BLS has not presented statistics on those who are no longer in the workforce and well categorized them as 'retired', grudgingly retired (for lack of a better description), or 'just given up' finding employment.  I think that is the entire point especially concerning the percentage of the workforce that is employed. 

 

I also understand the fear that the stories covering the decrease in the employment percentage could be used for political expedience, but find little concern that reporting the mere dropping of the unemployment number can also be abused for political purposes.  Although I did not actually hear the quote, I've seen reported just such an occurance happened yesterday after the initial reporting of the drop in the unemployment number.  It seems to me it can cut both ways but my observation is that some just can't see it that way.



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5 MAY 2012 at 4:38pm

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (5 MAY 2012 1:24pm)

I also understand the fear that the stories covering the decrease in the employment percentage could be used for political expedience, but find little concern that reporting the mere dropping of the unemployment number can also be abused for political purposes.

 

I think the concern Cicerno was addressing was the claim that instead of 8.2% the "true" unemployment rate was 12%.  That claim was both simply false for a range of reasons, it also falsely implied a massaging of the statistics and further displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the consistent methodolgy on employment data that is routinely presented month-in, month-out by the Bureau of Labor statistics.



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5 MAY 2012 at 4:54pm

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I am on the board of directors at a local credit union and each week the CFO sends me a report from our investment advisors.  This week it contained the following information:

 

 

Throughout the current 34 month- old recovery, one thing we’ve learned is that if we keep our expectations low enough, even the most moribund news can be cause for celebration. In light of this morning’s jobs report, it seems that we still might be setting the bar a little too high. Despite the already lackluster expectation of a 160m increase in Non-Farm Payrolls, the reported 115m increase for April still managed to disappoint.
Wait a minute. The Unemployment Rate fell by .1% to 8.1%. Isn’t that good news? Well, it would be if not for the fact that the Labor Force Participation Rate fell by .2% and now stands at a level (63.6%) not seen since bell-bottom pants were still being worn; at least being worn by some of my co-workers. One would have to go back to September 1981, when Prime Rate was 19.5%, to find a lower Participation Rate. If there were any bright spots to be found in today’s report, one would be that last month’s 120m increase in NFP was revised upward to 154m; and although the unchanged Average Hourly Earnings didn’t experience the .2% increase that was expected, they didn’t fall, either. Don’t you feel better now? Well don’t. The Underemployment Rate (U6) remains unchanged at 14.5%.

 

 

I found the part about bell-bottoms quite funny because I acutally owned some.


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5 MAY 2012 at 7:15pm

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (5 MAY 2012 1:24pm)

Originally Posted By medck (5 MAY 2012 10:33am)

The unemployment statistic does tell us something -- it tells us what percentage of people in the labor force are looking for work and can't find it.  That has a lot of meaning.  It is not, however, the total reflection of the social and economic condition.  However, it is also not appropriate to say it is a "fake" statistic.  If you want to make an argument about discouraged workers or the social and economic pressures from a soft job market, then there are other statistics to use (Cicerno has laid many out).  But those measure different things and just throwing them out as if they mean the *same* thing as unemployment is bad methodology.

 

I noted the previous presentation concerning "marginally attached", discouraged, and underemployed, and the BLS does offer some data of those groups.  What I've read though is that the BLS has not presented statistics on those who are no longer in the workforce and well categorized them as 'retired', grudgingly retired (for lack of a better description), or 'just given up' finding employment.  I think that is the entire point especially concerning the percentage of the workforce that is employed. 

 

I also understand the fear that the stories covering the decrease in the employment percentage could be used for political expedience, but find little concern that reporting the mere dropping of the unemployment number can also be abused for political purposes.  Although I did not actually hear the quote, I've seen reported just such an occurance happened yesterday after the initial reporting of the drop in the unemployment number.  It seems to me it can cut both ways but my observation is that some just can't see it that way.



"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." Hayek

 

 

 

 

I think this is partially what you are looking for. These are the numbers for the population 16-64 over the past several years:

 

population 16-64   Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
2008   137 127 126 155 166 182 161 182 133 172 166  
2009   142 100 106 137 141 203 137 151 139 128 116 1176
2010   123 106 96 155 111 160 126 137 179 118 102 1321
2011   128 101 118 157 89 122 57 41 90 9 -13 765
2012   20 21 78   0 0 0 0 0 0 0  

 

I'm not 100% sure these are correct so check them yourself. I got them by subtracting the 65+ population from the 16+ population at BLS.  You can see how the demographics are changing with less and less people adding to the population of 16-64.  

epending on how you phrase the question, and what exactly you are looking for, I would think that additional jobs over the (monthly change * employment rate) reduces unemployment. 

 

As to the portion of the unemployment rate decline attributed to new jobs - new people in the age group (16-64) and the portion attributed to people who have not looked for work in over 12 months, its a question that can be estimated from the BLS numbers. 

 

I don't have time right now, but its an interesting exercise if you feel like doing it. I would start by trying to get a monthy estimate of the number of people who have dropped from the discouraged category to the completely out category each month. That will entail accounting for those who have dropped out, become employed, retired, etc. 

 

Its an educational exercise. I will be glad to get into it when I get more time.

 


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5 MAY 2012 at 8:42pm

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^ That would be something interesting to see.


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5 MAY 2012 at 8:48pm

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This is from a newsletter:

 

 

* The household survey was weaker than its establishment counterpart.

 

Total employment fell by 169,000 - or 495,000 when adjusted to match the payroll concept. (The yearly gain in the adjusted household measure, 1.5%, has nearly come back into line with the payroll gain, 1.4%, after three months of strong outperformance. This is a reminder not to take these departures too seriously, unless they're sustained for more than a few months.) The employment/population ratio fell 0.1 to 58.4%, 1.0 point below where it was when the recession ended, and where it was in September 1983. There was substantial labor force withdrawal in April, with the participation rate falling by 0.2 point, 2.1 points below where it was when the recession ended.

 

* The longer-term picture of labor force withdrawal is kind of shocking. Total household employment is down by 4.4 million since the Great Recession began in December 2007, and the number of unemployed is up by 4.9 million. The civilian population is up 9.6 million - but the labor force is up just 447,000. The number classed as not in the labor force is up by 9.2 million - and those not in the labor force and wanting a job is up 1.7 million. In other words, just 5% of the increase in the adult population over the last 4 1/3 years has found its way into employment; the other 95% are not in the labor force.

 

* The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 point to 8.1%, its lowest level in more than three years. The number of unemployed fell by 173,000 - but the labor force shrank by almost the same amount, 169,000.

 

Without the labor force shrinkage, the unemployment rate probably would have been unchanged. Within the unemployed, the number of job losers fell - but so did the number of re-entrants and voluntary leavers, suggesting that the increased confidence we saw through those indicators in recent months may be dissipating. With the quit rate down, and the long-term unemployed dropping out of the labor force, the mid-ranges of unemployment duration (from 5-26 weeks) saw an increase, as the extreme short- and long-term durations fell.

 


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6 MAY 2012 at 6:24am

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (5 MAY 2012 8:48pm)

 The number classed as not in the labor force is up by 9.2 million - and those not in the labor force and wanting a job is up 1.7 million. In other words, just 5% of the increase in the adult population over the last 4 1/3 years has found its way into employment; the other 95% are not in the labor force.

 

 

 

I think that the newletter is generally accurate, but the above statement is worthless.  They are assuming that all the net change in total jobs must go to the new entrants into the labor force and all the rest are not in the labor force.  The downward pressure from retirees, discouraged previously employed worker, labor force drop-outs, etc, takes up some space.  This is not to say that new potential entrants don't have an atrocious participation rate, but it isn't 5%.  In fact, it is pretty easy to figure out:

 

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab1.htm

 

The BLS reports the 16-19 year-old (new entrants in the past 4 years) participation rate at 31.8% -- now this is highly dependent on seasonal employment (under-20s work more in summers).  Last year, for instance, it jumped from 31.7% in April to 41.6% by July.  And keep in mind a good proportion are in school.  Still, it should be in the neighborhood of 40% instead of just over 30%.  Anyways, you can also see the total number of 16-19s with jobs.  By definition they did not have recorded jobs 4 1/3 years ago under this methodology.  5.4 MILLION of those aged 16-19 had jobs in April 2012.  This is pretty much where the "increase in the adult population" comes into the workforce and a lot of them have found jobs.  There's a lot more churning than the quote suggests.



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6 MAY 2012 at 7:07am

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There is an interesting report by Barclay's Capital on the role of demography.  According to them over half the drop in the participation rate since 2002 is due to demographics.  

 

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-02/markets/31115760_1_unemployment-rate-labor-force-participation-rate-job-seekers 

 

The Chicago Fed, on the other hand, puts it at between 25-33%.

 

Still, the big problem with the remaining drop is that the longer people stay unemployed, the more likely they are to become structurally instead of cyclically unemployed (eroded skills, lost contacts, demotivation, etc).  Then what should have been a temporary drop in the unemployed becomes nearly permanent until a 1990s-style employment hothouse pulls everyone into the workforce.



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6 MAY 2012 at 9:07am

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Originally Posted By medck (6 MAY 2012 6:24am)

Originally Posted By ActionJack (5 MAY 2012 8:48pm)

 The number classed as not in the labor force is up by 9.2 million - and those not in the labor force and wanting a job is up 1.7 million. In other words, just 5% of the increase in the adult population over the last 4 1/3 years has found its way into employment; the other 95% are not in the labor force.

 

 

 

I think that the newletter is generally accurate, but the above statement is worthless.  They are assuming that all the net change in total jobs must go to the new entrants into the labor force and all the rest are not in the labor force.  The downward pressure from retirees, discouraged previously employed worker, labor force drop-outs, etc, takes up some space.  This is not to say that new potential entrants don't have an atrocious participation rate, but it isn't 5%.  In fact, it is pretty easy to figure out:

 

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab1.htm

 

The BLS reports the 16-19 year-old (new entrants in the past 4 years) participation rate at 31.8% -- now this is highly dependent on seasonal employment (under-20s work more in summers).  Last year, for instance, it jumped from 31.7% in April to 41.6% by July.  And keep in mind a good proportion are in school.  Still, it should be in the neighborhood of 40% instead of just over 30%.  Anyways, you can also see the total number of 16-19s with jobs.  By definition they did not have recorded jobs 4 1/3 years ago under this methodology.  5.4 MILLION of those aged 16-19 had jobs in April 2012.  This is pretty much where the "increase in the adult population" comes into the workforce and a lot of them have found jobs.  There's a lot more churning than the quote suggests.


Analysis from Philippa Dunne & Doug Henwood of The Liscio Report ( www.theliscioreport.com).

 


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7 MAY 2012 at 10:27am

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Disabled Americans Shrink Size of U.S. Labor Force
The number of workers receiving SSDI jumped 22 percent to 8.7 million in April from 7.1 million in December 2007, Social Security data show. That helps explain as much as one quarter of the decline in the U.S. labor-force participation rate during the period, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-03/disabled-americans-shrink-size-of-u-s-labor-force.html

 

Senator questions benefits to ‘adult baby’
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and the Senate’s top waste-watcher, asked the agency’s inspector general to look into 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr. and his roommate, Sandra Dias, who acts as his “mother,” saying it’s not clear why they are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of working.

“Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time,” Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter Monday to Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll Jr.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/17/senator-questions-benefits-to-adult-baby/


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7 MAY 2012 at 3:32pm

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Originally Posted By cicerno (5 MAY 2012 7:15pm)
As to the portion of the unemployment rate decline attributed to new jobs - new people in the age group (16-64) and the portion attributed to people who have not looked for work in over 12 months, its a question that can be estimated from the BLS numbers. 

 

I don't have time right now, but its an interesting exercise if you feel like doing it. I would start by trying to get a monthy estimate of the number of people who have dropped from the discouraged category to the completely out category each month. That will entail accounting for those who have dropped out, become employed, retired, etc. 

 

Its an educational exercise. I will be glad to get into it when I get more time.

 

Here's an interesting review:

 

The 86 million invisible unemployed

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/03/news/economy/unemployment-rate/index.htm?source=cnn_bin


 

 


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7 MAY 2012 at 6:05pm

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (7 MAY 2012 10:27am)

Disabled Americans Shrink Size of U.S. Labor Force
The number of workers receiving SSDI jumped 22 percent to 8.7 million in April from 7.1 million in December 2007, Social Security data show. That helps explain as much as one quarter of the decline in the U.S. labor-force participation rate during the period, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-03/disabled-americans-shrink-size-of-u-s-labor-force.html

 

And it was 5.6 million in 2002, 1.5 million less than in 2007.  In other words, pretty much the same as 2007-12 but based on a larger workforce.  The growth does not seem unique to the current situation.  Of course, with more older workers, you might expect some slight increase in disability levels.

 

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2010/di_asr10.pdf

 

page 17

 

 

If you compare the age of disabled workers with the 2007 report:

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2007/di_asr07.pdf

 

you get the following age breakdowns:

65+ (2010): 339,000 [up 71,000]

65+ (200&): 268,000

 

60-64 (2010): 2.1 million [up 400,000]

60-64 (2007): 1.7 million

 

55-59 (2010): 1.8 million [up 300,000]

55-59 (2007): 1.5 million

 

50-54 (2010); 1.2 million [up 600,000]

50-54 (2007): 1.8 million

 

That's over 90% of the "new" claimants. Other age brackets show much smaller increases a total of an additional 179,000 in the 16-49 crowd.



Last edited by medck : 8 MAY 2012 5:12am
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8 MAY 2012 at 5:38am

medck

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Originally Posted By ActionJack (7 MAY 2012 10:27am)

Senator questions benefits to ‘adult baby’http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/17/senator-questions-benefits-to-adult-baby/

 

Since the implication is that the "disabled" are largely able-bodied fakers and this accounts for half the fall in the participation rate, let's look at the data.

 

There have been 179,000 new successful claimants for disability under the age of 50 since Dec 2007.  Out of a total non-institutional population of 239,618,000 in 2011 you get that as 0.07% of the labor force.  

 

Disability claims are also lowest among the under 25s -- preciely the group where participation is a big problem.  There are 38.2 million of them and only 57,000 successfully claim benefits.  That's a 0.1% drag on the participation rate for that age group.  When it has dropped between 6-10%.  So, even if 100% of them are abled-bodied fakers, that means it is between 1% and 1.7% of the participation decline from just that demographic.  Nowhere near half the overall total.

 

Now the over-50 crowd, where the level of disability exists is, unfortunately, the age group where people's bodies start breaking down -- a colleague had a heart attack last year and is out on disability, so it happens.  But in these groups, the labor participation rate has been fairly resilient or even gone up a little.



Last edited by medck : 8 MAY 2012 5:49am
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12 MAY 2012 at 1:34pm

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Just wanted to say that after reading the civility in these posts that I am now a believer in peace in the Middle East. Seriously, kudos to every single poster for making intelligent arguments without resorting to some of the behavior that I've had to caution against in the past. This is exactly how a thread should unfold.


"When in danger, or in doubt.....run in circles, scream and shout!!!", author Herman Wouk.


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12 MAY 2012 at 8:49pm

ActionJack

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No Jobs? Employment At 40-Year High For 55 And Up
... Before the financial crisis, economists worried that labor shortages would develop in some occupations as baby boomers left the workforce.
 
But that's moved to the back burner since the recession began in December 2007. Job holders 55 and up have risen by 3.9 million — and fallen by 8.1 million among those under 55, Labor Department data show. It's been 50 months and counting since payrolls peaked, a post-war record.

http://news.investors.com/article/610204/201205031803/old-workers-in-the-way.htm?src=HPLNews

 


"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

 

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30 MAY 2012 at 8:19am

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Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years

The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.

 

By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.

 

While the unemployment rate may be the most closely watched gauge of the economy in the presidential campaign, this measure of prime-age workers captures more of the ongoing turbulence in the job market. It reflects “missing workers” who have stopped looking for work and aren’t included in the unemployment rate.

 

During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals, huge numbers are on the sidelines.

 

“What it shows is that we are still near the bottom of a very big hole that opened in the recession,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

 

The falloff has been sharpest for men, for whom the proportion had been on a slow decline before the recession. The percentage of prime-age men who are working is smaller now than it has been in any time before the recession, going all the way back to 1948, according to federal statistics. The proportion of prime-age women is at a low not seen since 1988.

 

The nation’s unemployment rate has shown signs of improvement, ticking down from 10 percent to 8.1 percent. But if it tallied people who have given up looking for jobs, it would certainly be higher.

 

The ratio of employment to population, which economists refer to as “epop,” “is a much better measure for what people are experiencing in the job market,” Shierholz said. “The unemployment rate is screwy right now because the labor market is so weak that people have stopped trying.”

 

For example, last month, the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Ordinarily, a drop in unemployment would be interpreted as a sign of improving economic health. But it dropped largely because so many people stopped looking for jobs.

Shierholz estimates that about 4 million workers have simply stopped looking, and so do not show up in the tally used for the unemployment rate.

 

As the presidential race heads into the summer, the health of the economy — and how voters view it — becomes critical, and for many people, the job market is their most significant contact with the economy.

 

According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, the issue of paramount interest to voters is the economy and jobs, with more than half describing it as the “single most important issue.”

 

By comparison, the next most important issue, health care, trailed far behind at 7 percent, and moral and family values followed at 5 percent.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/job-recovery-is-scant-for-americans-in-prime-working-years/2012/05/29/gJQAnza9zU_story.html


"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

 

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Last edited by ActionJack : 30 MAY 2012 8:20am
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10 JUN 2012 at 9:21am

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Try www.shadowstats.com
 


I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.--Albert Einstein

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