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    Unemployment Rate Up To 9%

    Unemployment Rate Up To 9%

    In a just released report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate increased from 8.8% to 9.0%.

    The “unemployment rate” can be somewhat misleading, as I have pointed out in the past, because as more people drop out of the labor market (i.e. give up even looking for work) the rate can drop.  So did the rate increase because more people were looking for work?

    According to the report, 244,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added.  But the report also notes that the “labor force also was little changed in April.”  So it does not appear that the increase was a result of more people looking for work.

    I’ll dig into the report and update on the details.

    Updates:  The “participation rate” was down 0.1% from March, so the increase does not appear to be caused by more people looking for work.  The number of people reentering the workforce or entering for the first time also was stable.

    The unemployment rate for Black males is 17.3%, and for Black females 12.8% (compared to 7.8% for White men and 6.6% for White women).  Black teenagers (16-19) have a 37.5% unemployment rate (compared to 20.7% for White teenagers).  The unemployment rate for Hispanic men is 10.3%, women 11.0% and teenagers 23.4%.

    In response to commenter Sandy, what some refer to as the “true” unemployment rate is much higher.  This table show statistics for “Alternative Measure of Labor Underutilization,” including a rate of 15.9% (seasonally adjusted, as is the 9.0% headline number) for “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.”

    The New York Times, which is spinning this report as an indication that “the recovery continued to pick up steam,” makes this inaccurate assessment:

    “April’s numbers exceeded the forecasts of analysts, who had expected a gain of 185,000 jobs over all, with the change in private payrolls of 200,000. The uptick in the unemployment rate that came even as employers were adding jobs was an indication that more people were entering the work force as hopes for hiring increased.”

    Do NY Times reporters even read the reports about which they are writing?

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    Via Zero Hedge, here's Goldman Sach's interpretation of the employment report:

    And the best economics blogger on the net, Professor Mark Perry at the blog Carpe Diem:

    Anecdotally, I am seeing some recovery in my own region and industry. I was gainfully employed for the entire year in 2010. The last year I could say that about was 2005. I am also getting unsolicited calls and emails about jobs, something which I haven’t seen since sometime in 2006. I am employed (by choice) in the temporary I.T. industry in the Midwest, so I don’t know about other areas and other industries.

    viator | May 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

    The Carpe Diem website contains a wealth of material, thanks for the tip.

    I recommend, also, the indefatigable Mike Shedlock (Mish)

    "BLS Jobs Report: Nonfarm Payroll Headline Number Looks Good, Beneath the Surface, Awful"

    viator | May 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    This ought to shake things up…

    "Greece’s economic problems are massive, with protests against the government being held almost daily. Now Prime Minister George Papandreou apparently feels he has no other option: SPIEGEL ONLINE has obtained information from German government sources knowledgeable of the situation in Athens indicating that Papandreou’s government is considering abandoning the euro and reintroducing its own currency. Alarmed by the attempt, the European Commission has called together a crisis meeting in Luxembourg on Friday night. In addition to Greece’s possible exit from the currency union, a speedy restructuring of the country’s debt also features on the agenda."


    Business Insider

    viator | May 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    If Our 'Food Stamp Recovery' Persists, Obama Will Lose Big

    "On a political level, the blame for the recovery goes entirely to President Obama. Indeed, looking at the polls on his handling of the economy, you can see that he is already taking the heat.

    And so, we can lay down the following marker: if the economic recovery does not begin to show substantial improvement, the likes of which we have not really seen in the last two years, and if the GOP nominates a reasonably acceptable alternative, this president is going to lose in 2012, and the final result will not be close. Nobody gets reelected with employment way down, real income way down, and 14 percent of his fellow citizens on food stamps. Nobody."
    Jay Cost, The Weekly Standard

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