The Real Jobs Report: July 2013
As happens the first Friday each month, the BLS released the much-anticipated Monthly Jobs Report on August 2nd.
It is a barometer of the economic health and well being of ordinary American workers.
It’s been philosophized that a recession is when a neighbor can’t find work and that a depression is when you can’t find work.
What can be learned about that difference from this month’s jobs report?
Reported vs. Not Reported BLS Facts
As always, the first two BLS numbers reported are:
- Monthly non-farm job growth (+162,000)
- Unemployment rate (7.4%)
Jobs were up. Unemployment was down… a healthy -0.2%. Good news. Right? Wrong!
Unreported Friday are these chilling BLS figures:
- Total non-farm job growth (-2,018,000)
- Total employment-population job growth (-7,791,750)
- U6 unemployment (14.0%)
- Monthly “underemployed for economic reasons” growth (+19,000)
- Monthly labor force growth (-37,000)
- Monthly labor-eligible population growth (+204,000)
Yup, that’s right! There are 2 million fewer total non-farm jobs than there used to be!
Yup, that’s right! Based on the employment-population ratio, there are 7.8 million fewer people employed today than there should be.
And that is even after accounting for the 7.2 million jobs created which President Obama bragged on in his jobs speech in Chattanooga this week.
Total non-farm employment isn’t an official BLS stat. It comes from subtracting the highest total non-farm jobs ever reported from this month’s total non-farm jobs. The highest ever reported was in January 2008… five and a half years ago.
Total employment-population job growth isn’t an official BLS stat either. It comes from using the ratio it was before the recession to calculate a job total based on the current population. That number is subtracted from the total calculated using the current ratio. The ratio was 63.4% in December 2006. It was only 58.7% this month.
Unlike the widely reported unemployment rate, U6 unemployment – at 14% – includes discouraged workers, those working part time for economic reasons and those marginally attached to the workforce that have looked for work within the last 12 months.
U6 unemployment does NOT include workers who’ve dropped out of the workforce entirely. If it did the number would be closer to 20%.
While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover
– Alan Kruger, Obama’s Chief White House Economic Adviser, 8/2/2013
Then, for political purposes, both Kruger and the President go on to spin the numbers to put the economy into the best light possible to make Obama look effective.
That is not what we need. We need an honest monthly assessment of the state of jobs in Obama’s oft-repeated recovery from “the greatest recession since the Great Depression”.
The economy is sputtering back to life, but job recovery is still in the ICU. We remain in a serious jobs depression with no end in sight for years to come.