The Real December Jobs Report
Its that time of the month. The BLS came out with its December Jobs Report today.
BLS reports employment rose by +155,000 and the unemployment rate remained “unchanged” at 7.8%. The stock markets reacted with a collective yawn.
Hey… wait… wasn’t the unemployment rate 7.7% last month, you ask? Yes, it was. November’s unemployment got revise up a tick; hence, though now up, its unchanged from last month.
Job creation remains this nation’s greatest challenge. It makes the fiscal cliff deal seem like a cake walk. So how are we doing?
A Look Under the Jobs Report Hood
The most important unreported statistic this month is that another 2.2 million Americans dropped out of the workforce last year… +224,000 of them dropped out in December alone!
The BLS also didn’t tell us that the total national employment from the household survey rose by only +28,000 last month compared to +155,000 in the smaller (but more accurate) establishment survey.
BLS says that, at 12.2 million, the number of unemployed “was little changed in December”. Oh, yeah? Tell that to the +164,000 more newly unemployed workers in December than there were in November! They might disagree.
Btw… the BLS said that, at 12.0 million last month, the number of unemployed was “little changed” in November, too.
BLS says that, at 7.9 million, the number of involuntary part-time workers “changed little in December”. True, but it doesn’t tell us that number is nearly double what it was before the Great Recession began in 2007.
BLS says that, at 4.8 million, the number of long-term unemployed (>27 weeks) “was essentially unchanged”. True, but what they don’t tell you is that the number of unemployed in all the other duration categories are up +236,000 from November!!
Btw… the long-term unemployed now make up nearly 40% of all unemployed workers.
On the plus side, the actual number of involuntary part-time workers due to economic conditions and long-term unemployed (>27 weeks) went down a smidge in December.
White House December Jobs Report Assessment
The President’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, summed up December’s jobs situation in his first sentence:
While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression
– Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, 1/4/2012
Sound familiar? It should. It is the exact same opening sentence Krueger used to describe the nation’s jobs report last July, August, September, October and November!
Krueger isn’t even creative enough to come up with original lines anymore.
Alan Krueger is a mindless, cookie-cutter bureaucratic ‘yes’ man. It appears like the Administration tells him how it wants the jobs situation presented and what to push each month and he rummages around to find anything that supports it.
His best piece of news each month is how well the private-sector (not government) is doing creating jobs. It is a cherry-picked stat whose only apparent purpose is a lame attempt to make the President look good. He ignores the jobs depression enveloping us.
If you want an accurate assessment of the nation’s jobs situation, forget about Alan Krueger.
Job creation in the United States is like a rowboat traveling upstream. We’ve been paddling as hard as we can since July of 2009, yet the shoreline we see is still the same. We are maintaining, but not going anywhere.
Job growth since 2009 has about matched population growth, nothing more. The millions of jobs lost in the Great Recession are unlikely to return. The December Jobs Report confirms it yet again. Real job growth remains an elusive dream.
Each December the BLS makes a huge readjustment to the household survey statistics that can go back 5 years. That makes this month a good one to review that survey.
According to the BLS, there were 2.2 million jobs created in 2012; yet there were 3.8 million more workforce eligible Americans incoming in 2012. Since December 2007 the workforce eligible population has risen by 11.2 million; yet there are still 3.1 million fewer jobs now than in December 2007!
We just went through a cantankerous argument over the fiscal cliff. That argument is not over yet, either. It was over the best way to avoid falling back into recession.
The biggest drag on the economy is not the fiscal cliff… it is a fast growing and aging population being supported by fewer and fewer productive workers. That is what needs fixing. The jobs report clearly proves it each and every month.