We’re given daily clues as to how Republicans and conservatives are failing in the information war — this unemployment number issue has been one of the more telling illustrations in the last year or so. Many Americans still believe the number of unemployed is dropping, despite headlines like the above and the excerpt and links below.
From the Patriot Post:
Dismal December Jobs Report
Economists predicted that December would see nearly 200,000 new jobs, but reality was … unexpected. Just 74,000 jobs were created last month. The headline unemployment rate dropped from 7.0% to 6.7%, but — and it’s a big but — this was almost entirely attributable to the 525,000 people who left the workforce. Just 62.8% of Americans were part of the labor force, tied for the lowest rate since 1978, and nearly 92 million people aren’t in the labor force. For the year, unemployment dropped 1.2 percentage points, but real unemployment is at least 13.1% and, again, we’d point to the 2.9 million Americans who left the labor force in 2013 as the reason. By the way, we’re entering year six of the Obama “recovery.”
I think we can call this one unexpected. While the precursor reports suggested further weakening in the workforce participation rate, they also indicated a moderately decent number of jobs added. That’s not the case from the BLS, where the U-3 jobless rate dropped to 6.7% but only 74,000 jobs were added in December:
The unemployment rate declined from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent in December, while total nonfarm payroll employment edged up (+74,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in retail trade and wholesale trade but was down in information.
The number of unemployed persons declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million in December, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 6.7 percent. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.9 million and 1.2 percentage points, respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.3 percent) and whites (5.9 percent) declined in December. The rates for adult women (6.0 percent), teenagers (20.2 percent), blacks (11.9 percent), and Hispanics (8.3 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down by 2.5 percentage points over the year.
Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 365,000 in December to 5.4 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.9 million, showed little change; these individuals accounted for 37.7 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 894,000 over the year.
The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in December, offsetting a change of the same magnitude in November. In December, the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.8 percentage point over the year, while the employment-population ratio was unchanged.
The worst news comes in the workforce numbers. Those not in the workforce increased by 525,000 in December (91.808 million), after a one-time drop in the figure for November (91.283M from 91.756M in October). That’s a big exodus of people from the workforce, dwarfing the meager number of jobs added in the economy. Part-time work remained essentially constant at 7.8 million, so the exodus points to an ugly, ugly trend.
Not surprisingly, that lead to a decline in the workforce participation rate, back down to 62.8%. That matches the 36-year low hit in October, which is one reason why the unhinged U-3 continues to drop. The workforce number acts as the denominator for U-3, which means that the result will “improve” as the workforce declines. The U-6 metric, which considers more of those who are only marginally attached to the workforce, remains at 13.1%.