Why Jobs are the #1 Election Issue in 2012
Everyone knows someone out of work, or who have had hours and wages cut back or who have taken lower paying jobs. Its bad. We know that.
But just how bad is it? Will it get better? Will unemployment be President Obama’s undoing in 2012?
What do the real numbers tell us about where we’ve been, where we are now and where we will be in the future?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other agencies compile data that help answer those questions.
A great place to start looking to see the true state of job creation in this country is here:
“Table A-1: Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age” – Bureau of Labor Statistics
This single table set selection screen allows you to choose up to 92 different data elements to view online. The BLS has a total of sixteen different Table A reports and a bunch of Table B ones!
The tables can be built from either “Seasonally adjust” or “Not seasonally adjusted” data.
The mainstream media always quotes from “Seasonally adjusted” tables. That is because they only report on the current month’s job numbers compared to the previous month’s. Using “Seasonally adjusted” numbers makes sense for them.
For purposes of understanding job creation, though, “not seasonally adjusted” tables are selected as shown checked above for these reasons:
- This discussion is about annual employment totals for the last 10 years
- Annualized “Not seasonally adjusted” totals are reported by the BLS
- Annualized “Seasonally adjusted” totals are NOT reported by the BLS
The Table A-1 Unadjusted Employment Summary
For every checked box on the selection screen you will see one table of numbers like the one above. There is a column of numbers for every month covering a 10 year period. For long term job creation or job loss, only the numbers under the “annual” column matter.
Before going on it should be noted that the report automatically lists 10 years worth of data but allows the user to further refine what they look at.
Additional things the user can do:
- Select any range of years from 1947 through 2011
- Include graphic chart displays with the data tables
- Make other useful data arrangements and inclusions
- Download the data in spreadsheet format for further analysis
Why Jobs are the #1 issue in 2012!
Under the “annual” column in the above table are listed the average number of workers 16 and older that were “employed” each year from 2001 through 2011.
In 2007 the annual average number of people employed was 146,047,000… rounded to the nearest thousand.
By the end of 2009 that number had fallen to 139,877,000 employed. We lost 7.17 million jobs!!
That doesn’t even account for the underemployed or those who took jobs for lower pay.
In the last two years we’ve have a net LOSS of 8,000 more jobs.
From 2007 to present the civilian non-institutional population of working age people over 16 has grown 7.75 million, but those in the civilian work force has only grown by 493 thousand. A lot of people old enough to enter the workforce since 2007 either can’t find work or have dropped out of the workforce.
That is about 14 million able bodied Americans that could, but don’t have jobs.
That, folks, is why everyone knows someone who is unemployed. The “Stimulus” didn’t work.
That, folks, is why jobs are the #1 issue in the 2012 election!
Why do some people get depressed at Christmas?
This doesn’t explain why everyone who gets depressed at Christmas does, but certainly explains why some of them do. This chart, too, comes from Table 1-A.
The unadjusted job tallies above show employment is highest in the summer and lowest around Christmas.
In other works, people do the most gift spending for others at Christmas when the largest number of them are unemployed and least able to pay for them.
That would make anyone depressed. It might even explain increases in the suicide rate around the holidays.
More from the Table A-1 Employment Summary Reports
Other factoids that fall out from the other A-1 tables are:
- 2011 civilian labor force participation is the lowest in a decade
- 2011 Employment-Population ratio is the lowest in a decade
- 2010 total number of unemployed, at 14.8 million, is the highest of the decade
- 2010 annual unemployment rate, at 9.6%, is the highest of the decade
- 2011 total number NOT in the labor force was the highest in a decade
- 2011 had the highest number of people wanting, but not finding, work in a decade
Many of those lowest in a decade records set in 2011 are the lowest in several decades.
Perhaps the most depressing fact of all is one that should be cause for celebration. The number of unemployed dropped by a little over 1 million in 2011.
But given all the other numbers above, it means in 2011 that one million people totally gave up looking for work.
Some economists fear that current trends in the job numbers indicate there will be millions left unemployed for a decade before we come back up to full employment again. Others think maybe there is a permanent reset leaving millions perpetually unemployed.
Rays of Hope
Its not all bad news in Table A-1.
There are 805 thousand more workers employed this year than last. Though still preliminary figures, two hundred thousand of those jobs came about in just the last month.
That makes 2011 the first year there has been a net gain in annual job growth since 2007.
People are finally starting to go back to work.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) also reports that real GDP, the total output of a nation’s goods and services, has increased the last two years. While GDP growth slowed last year, it still inched up just enough to top it’s 2007 record high.
Businesses have trillions of dollars in cash assets to invest in job creation when the uncertainty clears.
It is hard to say what will happen in 2012.
The global economy is like a mine field. A thousand explosive factors could blow up our fragile recovery and plunge us and the rest of the world back into recession. Its not lots, but the economy is headed in the right direction. But its gonna be a long, slow road back.
If more people find work this year than in 2011 then there is a great chance President Obama will be reelected.
If not, the President will join the unemployment line himself in 2013.
Posted on Jan 9, 2012, in 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economy, Gross Domestic Product, Job Creation, Jobs, Jobs Reports, news, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.