Ken's Project Blog

January 7, 2011

Latest Jobs Numbers in Context

Filed under: Politics — Ken @ 1:15 pm


Well, the new Federal Unemployment numbers are in, and I suspect/anticipate the administration will be out on the sunday talk show circuit touting the solid progress that was made in bringing down the unemployment rate – but they won’t be telling you the whole story of how the unemployment numbers fell from 9.8% to 9.4% I suspect…

The Federal Unemployment numbers track how many Americans are unemployed and actively receiving unemployment benefits of some kind – once a person max’s out their benefits, they “fall off” the unemployment rolls, thus lowering the number of unemployed being reported.

There were 103,000 new jobs created in December, 2010, which is way below the 150,000 most experts were expecting (almost 1/3rd less), and coupled with the increasing number of so-called “99’ers” – those folks whose unemployment benefits have been exhausted, caused the unemployment numbers to drop, despite weak job growth.

There is another, broader unemployment number that is rarely reported (but preferred by analysts), and it dropped from 17.0% to 16.7%, reflecting a reduction in the number of unemployed by 550,000 to 14.5 Million unemployed.

Ask yourself, how did 550,000 people leave the ranks of the unemployed if only 103,000 new jobs were added? Either their benefits ran out or they entered into retirement, thus creating an opening for a replacement position (which would not be included in the “new jobs” number of 103,000, as they are “old jobs”). I suspect the lion’s share of the “lost” people were those whose unemployment benefits ran out, but then again, we are watching the so-called “baby boomers” march of into retirement.

Other interesting unemployment stats:

  • By gender, 9.4% of Men and 8.1% of Women are unemployed.
  • By race the unemployment rate are 8.5% among Whites, 15.8% among Blacks, among Hispanics the unemployment rate is 13.0% and for Asians the rate is 7.2% (These numbers are not seasonally adjusted).
  • For High School dropouts, the unemployment rate is 15.3%, while the unemployment rate among adults with a four-year college degree (or higher) is 4.8%.
  • Almost 6.5 Million workers have been unemployed for over 6 months.
  • Last month 260,000 adults dropped out of the labor force.

Source for above numbers: @WestWingReport on twitter – for those of you who prefer to review the actual numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, look no further.

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