JUNE# released Fri, July 7: +222,000 jobs. Unemployment up 4.4%...JUNE details HERE.. Jobs since Trump took office?... Unemp. rate under Trump? (not yet updated)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Still NO Federal Extended Benefits

Have They Been Forgotten?

Here'a screenshot from the last Department of Labor unemployment insurance weekly claims report; the one that was released Thursday morning, January 23--



ZERO.

Notice the ZERO that I highlighted.  About 1.4 million people claimed UI benefits in the federal Extended Benefits program (the "Tiers") in the week ending December 28th, the last week that people could apply for those extended benefits.  In the latest week for EUC claims to be reported.. the week ending January 4th?  Nope.  Nada.  A ZERO.  Not a very big ZERO, so I highlighted it in red.


Let's look at that number again:  1,350,663.  One million three hundred and fifty thousand and six hundred sixty-three people...  1,350,663 FAMILIES... that were receiving federal extended benefits in the week ending December 28th... and received NOTHING the next week.

And there are still 2.7 jobseekers for every job opening out there.

How are those 1,350,663 families surviving?  How many have another adequate income? How many have still more savings?  How many are on the verge of getting another job?  How many can qualify for disability or perhaps are old enough for Social Security?  How many have.. NOTHING?
The sad thing is that we don't know the answers to those questions.  There is NO followup on how an individual... a FAMILY.. survives after they are no longer eligible for unemployment insurance. 

And yet the governor of North Carolina says...

North Carolina cut their available weeks of unemployment insurance last summer.  They have only had 19 weeks of UI available since July.

The governor of North Carolina, a Republican named Pat McCrory, said in this New York Times article on the effect of cutting benefits in North Carolina:

“Employers were telling me they had vacant jobs, but people would say, ‘Hold that job until my unemployment benefits end.' ” said Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who is the prime mover behind the policy. “I heard that time and time again. Now, employers are telling us that people are coming in and filling out applications to accept jobs, not to meet the requirements of unemployment.”

Uh huh.  Sure, McCrory,  people were telling prospective employers to just "hold their jobs" until their $300/week of unemployment insurance ran out.  Sure they were.  And if you believe McCrory, you'll believe it's going to be 80 degrees in New York City tomorrow.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why We Still Need Extended UI Benefits

In one graph (or two)...






Jobseekers per job opening coming down!

Little by little by little the number of people who are officially unemployed (actively looking for work in the past four weeks) is coming down and we actually have more job openings.  So the number of jobseekers for every job opening has come down from a peak of around 6.7 jobseekers per job opening back in the summer of 2009 to the current 2.7 jobseekers per job opening.  We've been slightly under three jobseekers for every job opening since this past summer.

So that's a good thing, right?  Well... yes; it's much better than 6.7 jobseekers per job opening, which is the biggest reason why the unemployment rate is going down and the number of jobs is going up.  But it's not as good as it has been in the past, particularly back in the late 1990's and very early 2000's as you can see below:


This chart shows the ratio of jobseekers to job openings for as far back as the BLS has records for this particular data, back to the end of 2000.  After 4 1/2 years of decline, we still, as of November 2013, have more jobseekers per job opening than we did at the peak of the aftermath of the 2002 recession.  This was an extraordinarily TERRIBLE recession.  It's taken a long time to turn around that big old boat of the economy and we aren't there yet.

Now there are STILL 1.3 million people out there (perhaps several thousand more by now) who no longer have federal extended benefits and who still don't have jobs.  "Better" does not mean "great".  Yes, even though things are much better than they were four years ago, it is still darned hard to get a job out there.  And I know people who were looking for work in the mid-2000's, before everything went south.  It was still no cake walk to get work back then compared to the late 1990's... or in the 1970's. I'd love to see numbers for the mid to late 1970's.  

The Weeks of Available Benefits Have Been Declining

Remember that the number of weeks of extended federal benefits has been declining as the economy has improved.  The number of of weeks of extended benefits that a state offers is tied into the unemployment rate for that state.  If extended benefits had been allowed to expire last year, over 2 million would have lost a lifeline.  If extended benefits had been allowed to expire two years ago, 3.5 million would have lost those lifelines.  So.. things ARE better.  The number of people dependent on these extensions IS declining.  But.. I'll repeat this:  BETTER is not the same as GREAT or ACCEPTABLE.


If you are in a Republican state or a Republican district, write your CongressCritter and tell him or her that it's still hard to get a job out there.. and can't they really do their part to help?  While you're at it, ask them to support REAL jobs programs, not the anti-regulation, anti-labor laws that the Republicans are trying to pass off as jobs bills.

And, if you "lean" Republican, see if you can make some sense out of these two graphs and these two statements:  Yes, things are better.. but it's still tough to get a job.  These unemployed people STILL need help.

    

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Know-Nothings Love Yesterday's Jobs Report

The crazies and the know-nothings love yesterday's jobs report.


The December jobs report released Friday, January 10, was not that great; it showed an increase of only 74,000 jobs, only 86,000 private sector jobs.  The unemployment rate did drop to 6.7%, but the crazies are writing that off mostly to a drop in the level of people in the "labor force participation", meaning the number of people in this country who are 16 or over and are either working or actively looking for work.

The crazies want people to believe that "the end is coming" and that the increase of 8.3 million private sector jobs since we started adding jobs back in February 2010 is just illusory or the result of some kind of  government conspiracy.  Some of them want people to believe that it is time to hoard food (or pennies) because some kind of collapse is coming.  

Sigh.  Now it is not time to cut off extended unemployment benefits.. We haven't made it out of the economic woods yet.  But there is no evidence that the sky is falling, that Obama's stimulus didn't work, that we should open the floodgates to unfettered capitalism (which got us into this mess). 

Unemployment Myths and Mysteries

So, a day after the report was released, it is time to look at jobs numbers myths and mysteries.. again.  There is not much to say here that I haven't said over and over and over again.  The anti-Obama/Doomsday preppers/crazies/whatevers desperately WANT to believe that the sh*t is going to hit the fan, and they are thrilled whenever any kind of bad report supports their insanity.

The December 2013 jobs myths and mysteries:

1.  Myth:   The "worst jobs report in three years":  Well, not really.  The August 2011 jobs report, two years and a few months ago, showed a ZERO gain in jobs.  ZERO.  The pundits and other hangers-on went completely nuts over that one.

Now remember that the jobs numbers in any given month are preliminary and are usually revised.  The August 2011 jobs number was revised.. first from ZERO to 57,000 jobs.  Then to 104,000.  Now, two plus years later, the BLS believes that 130,000 jobs were added in August 2011-- based on more accurate and more complete data.

Does this mean that last month's 74,000 will be revised upwards?  No guarantee.  But it means that we need to be cautious about claiming that the sky is falling.  And the same people who are most vocal in the sky-is-falling department will be the last people to declaim their dire predictions when the dire predictions simply.. dissipate into the ether.. or are negated by positive reports some months down the line.

Why the plunge vs. expected?  Weather?  Perhaps.  It is absolutely silly to see any one month as a harbinger of anything.  The weather for the week ending December 15th, the survey week, did absolutely suck around here; it sucked much worse than most second weeks of December.  It is likely that many employers did not call in people to work due to the miserable weather.

The seasonal adjustment may have been out of whack for some reason.  In 2003, for instance, 117,000 private jobs were lost in real numbers from November to December.  Seasonal adjustments recorded a jump of 108,000 private sector jobs that month.  So in 2013, we had a drop of 120,000 private sector jobs from November to December, resulting in a seasonally adjusted jump of only 87,000.  (Private jobs usually drop in "real" numbers between November and December.)

Bottom line:  It is just a waste of time to obsess over the jobs report for any one month.  An absolute waste of time.        

2.  More about seasonal adjustments:  The Borg collective known as Tyler Durden over at  Zero Hedge couldn't figure this one out:

"And the funniest part when one considers the surge in construction workers in the ADP report:
Construction employment edged down in December (-16,000).  However, in 2013, the industry added an average of 10,000 jobs per month. Employment in nonresidential specialty trade contractors declined by 13,000 in December, possibly reflecting unusually cold weather in parts of the country.
So construction workers both surged and plunged due to the weather.

Duh.  First of all, the Durden WAS talking about the BLS report, but then it suddenly starts talking about the ADP report.  The ADP report simply doesn't give us enough data; it doesn't break things down enough to provide a decent ability to look at such things as seasonal adjustments and at sub-sectors.

When I look at the BLS construction sector, I notice that "real" construction jobs dropped 216,000.  This was adjusted to a drop of 16,000, as construction jobs ALWAYS drop in December.  How many "real" jobs did ADP estimate in coming up with its increase of 48,000 construction jobs?  I'm looking at the ADP site, but so far, cannot find that number.  The biggest tumble in the BLS report was in civic construction, a drop of 77,700, while specialty trade contractors dropped 124,000.  Unless ADP provides a similar breakdown, it is silly to try to compare the ADP numbers and the BLS numbers.  Unless you are looking at UNadjusted numbers, it is absurd to try to make comparisons.. and it could be that seasonal adjustments are the cause for the "surge" in construction workers in the ADP report vs. the decline in the BLS report.  Not enough info to tell.

3.  Myth:  The really bad thing is the SURGE in the number of "working age" people not in the work force.

Duh again.  How many times do I have to write the same thing?  The "civilian non-institutional population 16+" upon which the labor participation numbers are based INCLUDES 85 year old grandmas as long as they live at home, 16 year old high school students, people who are disabled and living at home, people who are working part-time by choice, people who are home with their kids, people in college who are not working (because they don't want to), and people who are just plain retired.  Now I don't think of an 85 year old grandma as "working age".. do you?  And I really don't consider a 16 year old who works a few hours a week to buy apps for his/her iPhone "working age".. do you?  Maybe in the days of child labor, no Social Security, and abject poverty among seniors, these people would have been considered "working age", but thank heavens that we have evolved as a society past that point--- I hope.

So I'm updating my "not in the labor force" chart which shows us exactly WHO is not in the labor force now.. and gives us some idea as to why.  I last published this chart back in the spring with March 2013 data.  Since that time, we have two million more people who are not in the labor force.  The mopes who write most of the articles about jobs haven't the foggiest idea as to why we have two million more people not in the labor force.  They don't know that the BLS (via the Census) actually asks people who are "not in the labor force"  (not working nor looking for work) if they want a job.  And they have no idea that the number of people who answer in the affirmative are such a small piece of the "not in the labor force" pie that you can barely see them on the pie chart below.

No, people, someone who is "not in the labor force" is NOT unemployed.  Nor do most of them want jobs. And of those who DO want jobs, few have bothered to look for work in the past year.  The bottom line is, that of those 92 million "not in the labor force", 52 million are over 55 and THEY DO NOT WANT A JOB. That's up 2.2 million over last year.  I'm in the process of updating the article on people "not in the labor force" that I published last spring, but here's the basic chart:              



























Will the sky never fall?  

Will we have decent jobs reports month after month into perpetuity?  Well, I firmly believe that one of thse days, millions of years from now, the Earth will fall into the Sun and that will be the end of it all.  And before that happens, things are going to get pretty dicey on this particular globe.  So ultimately the Preppers will be right.  But all of the prepping in the world isn't going to help when that stuff really hits the proverbial blast from the sun.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

December Jobs: Horrible?

Was the December jobs report horrible?


We added only 74,000 jobs in December 2013, and only 86,000 private sector jobs.


Even though the unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a point, a significant change, the pundits on both the left and the right are decrying the lack of job growth.

Is it as bad as all that?

Well, we've heard it all before.

The jobs numbers in any one month need to be taken in context.

Am I the only one, for instance, who remembers the big ZERO month of August 2011?  The President and the Democrats got so, so much flack for that lousy jobs performance, even though it occurred in the wake of the government debt ceiling debacle.  But those numbers were revised upwards as more accurate data became available, and it now appears that we added 130,000 jobs in August 2011, not ZERO.

So this month's numbers may be increased.. or they may not be.  But one bad month does not a trend make.

Average job growth over the past Fifteen Years 

Let's look at the average number of private sector jobs added (or lost) each year over the past 15 years:






One very obvious thing:  Job growth is volatile.  We are either adding great numbers of jobs, or we are losing even greater numbers of jobs.

Second thing that should be obvious:  Private sector job growth in the past 3 years, including 2013, has been better than any other period of job growth going back to the late 1990's.

Now, we lost a huge number of jobs in 2008 and 2009, so job growth following such a decline should be much stronger to make up for the loss of jobs.  But that's simply not going to happen without more stimulus.  And this chart shows PRIVATE sector job growth, not total job growth including government jobs.  The decline of government jobs has definitely hurt our overall recovery.  I'll publish a chart of average government job growth/loss tomorrow, and the real problem will become apparent:  We need the government sectors to help with our job recovery. And that simply is not happening.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Private & Government Jobs Gained & Lost Under Obama (December 2013 update)

How many jobs (total, private, and government) have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated? 
  • 4,311,000 TOTAL jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST in from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 3.2%.    
  • 7,557,000 jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were CREATED from the "trough" of the recession until now, December 2013.  That's an increase of 5.8%.
  • In total, 3,246,000  jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were ADDED from the time Obama took office until now, December 2013.  That's an increase of 2.4%.
  • We have experienced 39 months WITHOUT job losses since September 2010.  We have added 6,949,000 jobs during those 39 months. 
  • We now have 136,877,000 TOTAL non-farm jobs. 
*  These are all net figures, meaning that they represent the total number of jobs at the end of a reporting period.  All losses have been subtracted from all gains and vice verse.
    *  For the purposes of comparison, jobs are being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2005), there were only 1,477,000 MORE jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 compared to 2,271,000 MORE for Obama in June 2013.  (This will be updated for December 2013 in the next few days.)


    How many PRIVATE sector jobs have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated?
    • 4,198,000 PRIVATE-sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 3.8%.
    • 8,178,000 PRIVATE-sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were GAINED OR CREATED from the "trough" of the recession until now, December 2013.  That's an increase of 7.7%.
    • In total, 3,980,000 private sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) have been GAINED from the time Obama took office until now, December 2013.  That's a net increase of 3.6%. 
    • We have experienced 46 months of positive private-sector job GROWTH from February 2010 until December 2013.  We have added 8,178,000 private-sector jobs during those 46 months.    
    • We now have 115,028,000  PRIVATE sector non-farm jobs.
    *As of July 2013,  jobs were being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2005), there were only 455,000 MORE private sector jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 compared to 3,003,000 MORE for Obama.    (This will be updated for December in the next few days.)   

    How many GOVERNMENT jobs have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated?  (Government jobs include federal, state, and local government jobs.)
    • 113,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 0.5%  (about half of a percent). 
    • Another 621,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the "trough" of the recession until now, December 2013.  That's a decrease of 2.8%.    
    • In total, 734,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until now, December 2013.  That's a decrease of 3.3%.  A large portion of these jobs, about 300,000, have been lost in the "Local Government - Education" sector. (Teachers.)
    • We have experienced decreases in the number of government jobs in 10 out of the last 15 months, starting in October 2012.  
    • We now have 21,849,000 GOVERNMENT jobs, not including people in the military.  (Most civilians employed by the U.S. and working for the military are counted.)
    (Note:  Current numbers taken from the December 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report.  Historical numbers taken from various archived Employment Situation reports as indexed HERE. Specifics will be provided upon request; please email me or leave a comment.)

    An afterthought---

    A reader asks:

    How Many Private Sector Jobs Were Lost Because of Obama?

    We haven't lost ANY private sector jobs (net) since February 2010, a year after Obama took office.  Between January 2009 and February 2010, we lost 4,198,000 private sector jobs as stated above.

    Should we "blame" Obama for not being immediately able to stem the tide of private sector job loss in 2009?  If a house is burning out of control and the fire department comes to put out the fire, it continues to burn until it is brought under control and cooled down, right?  Now.. would you blame the fire department for the continued fire and the time to put it out after the firefighters arrive on the scene?

    Well, you might, but I wouldn't:  Here's my reasoning:  Burning Down the House!

    So my answer to this question would be a big, fat ZERO.  I do NOT feel that Obama is to blame for any loss of jobs between January 2009 and February 2010.  If you think he is, please leave a comment and explain!

    What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office Compared to Now? (December 2013 update)


    This report updated for May 2014 HERE.


    What was the unemployment rate when Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated? 7.8%


    What was the unemployment rate after Obama's first full month in office (February 2009)?  8.3%

    What was the unemployment rate at peak?  10.0%


    What is today's (December 2013's) unemployment rate?   6.7%  


    All Latest Jobs and Unemployment Reports HERE
    How many people were looking for work when Obama was inaugurated; how many were working?  And how many people are looking for work and how many are employed now?

    • Read below the graph.
    • The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus month-by-month for the latest months:


    Why are there two lines, one for "Seas Adjusted" and one for "Unadjusted"?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses seasonal adjustments to adjust for the volatility in the labor market from one month to the next.  The relatively even red line above shows the unemployment rate based on seasonally adjusted numbers.  The jagged green line shows the unemployment rate based on "real", "raw" numbers; the unadjusted rate.  Notice that the green line goes up in January (after holiday layoffs) and July (school-related layoffs), and it goes down in October and April, which are strong months for workers.  (Employees are all back to school in October, and employers are staffing up for the holidays.  Schools are also full in April and employers are starting to staff up for summer, construction, vacation venues, etc.)  The red line helps us to compare the unemployment rate over a period of months; the green line, however, reflects "reality":  Your friends, neighbors, and family members actually working or not working.  

    How Many Jobs has Obama Created or Lost? (December 2013 update)


    How many NET jobs created or lost under Obama as of December 2013?  How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?

    How many new jobs in the last 4 1/2 years since Obama was inaugurated?  
    How many Americans were working or employed when Obama took office... compared to now?


    Numbers for December with latest revisions:

    Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 7.6 million MORE jobs in total
    • 8.2 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 6.6 million MORE people working
    How many workers were full-time or part-time at the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 compared to now?

    • 6.7 million MORE people working full-time.
    • 107,000 FEWER people working part-time.  
    • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have actually LOST part-time jobs.  When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.  When companies start hiring again, the number of full-time workers increases.)

    Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 3.2 million MORE jobs in total
    • 4.0 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 2.4 million MORE people working

    How many workers were full-time or part-time when Obama was inaugurated compared to now?

    • 1.5 million MORE people working full-time
    • 1.0 million MORE people working part-time  

    Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 
    46 months since February 2010?
    NO!
    • 46 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.

    Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 39 months since September 2010?

    NO!
    • 39 months of consecutive overall job growth.
    Are more people unemployed now than when Obama took office in January 2009?  
    NO!
    • Despite 727,000 MORE people in the labor force (either working or actively looking for work) now vs. January 2009, there are 1,707,000 FEWER people unemployed now than in January 2009. 






    What's the difference between "net" and "gross" jobs gained and lost?


    Let's get something straight:  Jobs are lost every week and every month.  People are fired, people are laid off, businesses or locations are closed and everybody is let go. 
     

    Also people quit every week.  You yourself, dear reader,  may have quit a job at some point in time. 


    But people are also HIRED every week and every month.  New businesses open, businesses expand, businesses replace people who have left or been fired.  Every week.  You yourself, dear reader, may have been hired for a job at some point in time.This happens in good times and bad. 

    Yes, even in bad times, people are getting hired.  Even in good times, people are let go.  

    Now:  The monthly jobs reportupon which this article is based, presents estimates based on surveys as to how many jobs are gained or lost in a given month.  Those numbers are based on the number of new jobs (people getting hired, businesses opening) MINUS the number of jobs that have been cut (people getting fired, people quitting, businesses closing or cutting back).

    The monthly jobs report therefore reports NET job growth or loss.  


    For 39 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 46 months in the private sector (not counting federal workers, state or local workers such as teachers, firemen, cops, or people who staff the DMV, only counting people who work for private businesses), we have had MORE jobs added than we have had jobs being cut.


    To reiterate:  How many jobs have been created in the last 4 1/2 years versus how many jobs have been lost?
    All numbers provided on monthly jobs reports, which is what the series on jobs created/lost under Obama is based, are NET jobs numbers.  In other words, they reflect gains after all job losses are subtracted, or they reflect job losses after all gains are added. 
    For the past 46 months (as of December 2013), we have had NET gains in private jobs numbers every month.  In other words, in every month since February 2010, more private jobs have been created than have been lost.  In every month since September 2010, more jobs in total have been created than have been lost.


    Fact check and important information on these jobs numbers...

    The above jobs numbers are from the BLS jobs report of December 2013, which was released in January 2014.  The surveys used to gather these numbers in December are taken as of the week which includes the 12th day of the month, in this case, December 12, 2013. 

    December 2013 Unemployment Rate Jobs

    December 2013 Jobs Numbers and Unemployment Rate were released this morning, Friday, January 10, 2014.

    December Highlights:



    • 74,000 payroll jobs added.  (November numbers were revised upwards.)  Job growth has averaged 182,000/month over the past 12 months.
    • Private jobs increased by 87,000.
    • Government jobs decreased by 13,000.  
    • Unemployment rate ticked down to 6.7% (from 7.0%).  The unemployment rate decreased across the board, for every ethnic, age, and occupation group, including teenagers.  (The unemployment rate comes from a different source than the number of jobs which is why the unemployment rate can decline three tenths of a percent with only a minimal increase in the number of jobs.  Over time, these two numbers closely parallel each other.)   
    • The alternate unemployment rate (which includes part time workers who want full time jobs, discouraged workers, and marginally attached workers) stayed the same at 13.1%.  This is the lowest that it has been since November 2008, five years ago.  One year ago, the alternate unemployment rate was 14.4%.      
    • The labor force decreased by 347,000 in December.
    • Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
      • 7.6 million MORE jobs in total
      • 8.2 million MORE private sector jobs
      • 6.6 million MORE people working* 
      Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
      • 3.2 million MORE jobs in total
      • 4.0 million MORE private sector jobs
      • 2.4 million MORE people working*
    December 2013 reports to be published: (Notation will be changed to "Updated for December" when the updated reports become available.)