AUG#: +130,000 jobs.

Unemployment up at 3.7%...AUG jobs under Trump HERE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Men.. Two Homeless Men

Dogs In Need; People In Need:

Denver 7 posted a picture of a dog left outside in the cold by its owners on its Facebook page a few days ago; (picture copied above left).  That picture generated thousands of comments; thousands of shares.  People's hearts went out to the little doggie who did look forlorn and cold lying by a patio door.

But some people brought up the issue of homeless people: 
So stupid, worried about an animal, but not for humans.... there's many homeless people you dont do nothing about it, (sic) but you see a dog and you people cried about it..!!!!

To which some of the same people concerned about the doggie replied:

"The difference between a homeless person and this dog is that a homeless person has a CHOICE to go to a homeless shelter. This dog was put out by the very shelter that took him you priorities (sic) .... This dog couldn't open the door to find that shelter when a homeless person can walk into any number of shelters in the city.... And anyone of you complaining about a homeless person being out on the street pick one up and take him him and out from the cold.... This dog didn't have a choice .... By being left outside his choice was taken away"

And this from a library worker:

"Most of the ones I see on a daily basis in our library, have choices, they're able bodied, of sound mind and body, and choose to sit around on computers all day long. So yes, they have choices, many make bad ones. 14 years of library service, I have seen a lot"

Sorry, I just don't buy it. Most people are homeless after a succession of issues and problems.  It's hard to say that the plight of someone who is homeless should be demeaned or diminished just because that person had some bad breaks or made some bad choices. We all make bad choices; many people have bad breaks, but most of us don't wind up homeless. And many, perhaps most, of the homeless are mentally ill.

They can support themselves and get a job?  As I wrote above, many are mentally ill.  Some may still be able-bodied, but that doesn't mean they can get hired, hold down a job, and s
upport themselves. Who is going to hire a homeless person?  The idea that most homeless people can all just get jobs if they only wanted to is absurd.

Many want to think that homeless people have a "choice" and can go to a shelter or other place of warmth whenever they wish. This is not always true. Many homeless people don't like or adapt to shelters or they fear them. Many shelters are not safe. Many have their possessions in some kind of cart and they fear their possessions getting stolen if they stay in a shelter. Many shelters don't have enough room for all of the homeless, particularly in very cold weather.  I could go on and on.  And someone in a shelter is really STILL homeless; as they have no place to call home.

In my opinion, a homeless person sleeping in the snow or the cold is almost as helpless as a dog left out in the cold. We shouldn't assume that someone who is homeless has that much "choice". If they had that much choice, they probably wouldn't be homeless.

Here's my story about two men who wound up homeless. I knew both of them before they were homeless; when they had families, homes, jobs, hopes, aspirations.

The Artist

He was a friend of a friend and I originally met him in the early 1980's when he came to our home for a casual party. He was an interesting guy; he considered himself an artist and he had a part-time job with a Chicago opera company as someone who helped the lighting crew with their set ups. He was fascinated with marionettes, built them out of paper mache, large puppets 3-4 feet tall, and he put on marionette shows for adults.

His parents were still living, and he lived in a coachhouse on their property. His home was filled with articles, books, papers, art works, prints, and he was very, very proud of his collection. He never had a girlfriend; someone said that he was gay during the days when there was a much greater stigma to being gay than there is now.  He wrote a newsletter about happenings among his friends, and he sent the newsletter out to his friends every month or two.

When his parents died, he inherited their old house free and clear. But it was in need of repair, he still had to pay property taxes, and he needed to keep the utilities on. And his part-time job had gone away by that time; not sure why. He was always going to sell some of his books, and his friends often gave him a hundred or two hundred bucks in exchange for some books. (His friends generally didn't need the books; but it was a way of helping him out.)

The man wasn't disabled in any obvious way, but, even if he was, he didn't have any way of getting health care, he probably wouldn't have qualified for SSDI or SSI. He was kind of shy, not really good at promoting himself, also a bit "odd".

As often happens when people start having problems, they just kind of "drift away". They stop calling, they stop responding to calls, people stop calling them. They may lose their phone service.  This was before the Internet, so it's unclear if his situation would have been better had he been able to reach out to people.  But many people hide behind the Internet.. They are hurting and struggling, but their Facebook friends can never tell.

So that's what happened to the Artist. People would say, "How is E. doing?" and others would say that they hadn't heard from him; they hoped he was OK. Well, he wasn't and finally he either contacted someone or someone managed to contact him.. but it was too late. He had lost his house due to unpaid property taxes. A friend contacted a lawyer, but there was not much they could do other than to buy some time so that he could possibly sell some of his beloved books. But he was more than just a book lover; by that time he was a hoarder, and his house was actually filled bottom-to-top with books and papers. His utilities had been turned off at some time. He was in a very bad place. A few friends pitched in and found him a place to live, but without ongoing income, he lost that. But no one knew as he had no phone. And he didn't tell anyone.

He was in his late 50s or early 60's by that time. Finally someone saw him.. riding the El trains. He was homeless; he hung out in libraries during the day, and rode the El train at night. Not sure where he got the money for the El. He also had a very bad pain in his stomach but he couldn't get it looked at. Someone took him to county hospital over his protests and it turned out that he had advanced stomach cancer. I honestly cannot remember how long he lived after that, but it wasn't long.

It's easy to say that people should "work"; a lot harder for many of them to find or keep jobs. And many people who are struggling just can't bring themselves to reach out to friends or even family until it is too late. They hate being a burden, they feel guilty. Others are angry and rebellious. By the time someone is in their 50's or 60's, the door to working is often closed, even if the person isn't officially "disabled".

The Teacher

Unlike the Artist who was always a bit "odd" and never had enough income to support himself, the Teacher was personable, funny, handsome; everybody loved him. He loved canoeing and camping and often had a kayak or canoe strapped to the roof of his old van. He was the father of 4 kids and was actually the "househusband" as his kids were young; his wife was a doctor. He started substitute teaching at his kids' school and then entered a teacher training program. That's when I met him. He wanted to get his teacher's certificate and start teaching when his youngest son was ready for full-day grade school. He did a lot of substitute teaching, as kids loved him and his oversized outgoing personality ... and he loved working with kids.

But then a few bad things happened.  He met with his brother and sister whom he hadn't seen for years.. and he missed class for a few days after that. He was "sick". We were told that he was seriously depressed and could not finish the last year of teacher training with us; he'd have to pick it up later. Then, while he was struggling with depression (and, as we discovered later, alcoholism) his wife started an affair with a friend... a woman. It was devastating to him, as he knew the woman and considered her a friend. He didn't go out of the house for months, and eventually he and his wife divorced.

He was able to pick up the pieces, however, and got an apartment and a settlement from the divorce.  He did finish his teacher training. But again something went wrong. He was in a full-time sub sitaution, subbing for someone who was out the rest of the year, and he seemed to be shoe-in for a full-time job the next year, but he hit a kid. He just lost it. This man who loved kids just lost it. No more subbing, no more "certain" job offer. His teaching career came to a screeching halt.

He got a job driving a truck, but the loss of his teaching prospects really sent him over the edge.. again.  And then he also "dropped out"; nobody was quite sure what happened to him, his phone number was disconnected, mail was returned. Then someone saw him on the streets: Apparently he hadn't been able to hang onto the truck driving job; he had gone through his divorce settlement; and he was homeless. But he didn't want any pity; he didn't want any help. Friends knew the area in which he hung out, but he didn't want to see anybody. He was hostile to people he had known for years. One of his very close friends told me "I wanted to find him, to talk to him.. He could have stayed with me and I could have helped him." His ex-wife heard of his plight; she reached out to him through friends, but he spurned their offers.  Someone did give him his ex-wife's business card. He put it in the pocket of his coat.

One early spring morning, someone in the woods near the northern city in which he lived, just a few miles from the big house he had lived in with his wife and kids, spotted a man.. a dead man. The coroner thought the man had been dead for a couple of months; dead from hypothermia when the temperature in the area was below freezing night after night. The police found no identification on the man, just a business card. When they called the number, they were able to identify at least this one homeless man. It was the Teacher.  He had held onto his ex-wife's business card for a year or two. Maybe he intended on calling her but just couldn't do it. But the friends and family whose help he had refused many times in those last years of his life were able to bury him and hold a memorial service for him. He was 57.

Every Homeless Person Has a Story

The story of every homeless person is probably filled with missed opportunities, bad choices, and, often, mental or physical illnesses or addictions.  Most of them will die long before their time unless they can somehow get off of the streets.  Most of those sleeping on the streets or in the forest preserves have as little choice as the doggie shivering in the cold.

What should we do about the problem of those who are homeless?

There is no easy answer; and each situation is different.  There are homeless children, homeless women, homeless families, homeless men.  People in shelters may not freeze, but they are still homeless; drifting for days and weeks and months.  Shelters only provide temporary relief from the problem of homelessness; people in shelters are still homeless.

A final comment from someone at the Denver 7 site:

People saying that homeless people have a choice have no clue (as to) what they are talking about.  Yes, there are homeless shelters but these shelters are (often) beyond capacity...  Businesses kick out the homeless because we "fortunate ones" don't want to see some dirty homeless person in a restaurant or the shopping mall.  So.. this dog had no choice and it is indeed abuse, but equally, homeless people (more often than not) don't have a choice either.  Quit being so insensitive to your fellow man and love them as much as we love dogs.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Many Jobs Were Created or Lost in October 2014?

How Many Jobs Created or Lost in November 2014?  HERE! 

Please check HERE for details and updates about November 2014 data.

How Many Jobs Created (Gained) or Lost in October 2014?

  • 214,000 TOTAL payroll jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 209,000 PRIVATE payroll sector jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 5,000 GOVERNMENT (federal, state, and local) jobs were ADDED or CREATED in October. 
  • 683,000 MORE people employed.
  • 345,000 MORE people employed full-time. 
  • 334,000 MORE people employed part-time.
  • 76,000 FEWER people employed part-time involuntarily.  (In other words, people who want full-time work but can only find part-time work.)
  • 416,000 MORE people in the civilian labor force (people either working or looking for work).
  • 267,000 FEWER people unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate drops to to 5.8% (from 5.9%) primarily due to a big increase in the number of employed people AND a big decrease in the number of unemployed people.

To Summarize:  

In summary, there are many more payroll jobs and many more people employed.  Though there are about as many people newly employed part-time as full-time, the increase in the number of people working part-time is all in the "voluntary" group; that is, people working part-time by choice.  

The unemployment rate went down because more people are employed and fewer are unemployed, a good mix.

As usual, the numbers in any one month need to be taken with a grain of salt, as any movements in any one month are not necessarily trends.  However, we have now had 56 consecutive months of private sector job creation, a record as long as such numbers have been kept.

What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office (compared to now)? October 2014 update

June 2015 highlights and reports HERE!!

What was the unemployment rate when Obama took office? Updated for June 2015 HERE!

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

(Unemployment rate then and now on the graph below.)

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

What was the unemployment rate at peak?  10.0%

What is the unemployment rate now?  Today's unemployment rate (October 2014's)?   5.8%  

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?

Please read below the graph.

The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus the last three 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 declining 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 Have Been Created or Lost Under Obama? (October 2014 update)

July 2015 numbers were released Friday, August 7.  Details HERE.
July update for this report found HERE.

Note:  This report is outdated.  Current data can be found at the link above.

How many NET jobs created or lost under Obama* as of October 2014? Number of jobs lost under Obama?  How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?

How many new jobs in the last 5 1/2 years since Obama was inaugurated?  How many Americans were working or employed when Obama took office... compared to now?

Numbers for October with latest revisions:

Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 10,025,000 MORE payroll jobs in total
  • 10,579,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 9,270,000 MORE people working (includes self-employed and agricultural workers)
How many workers were full-time or part-time at the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 compared to now?

  • 9,073,000 MORE people working full-time.
  • 214,000 MORE people working part-time.  
  • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. 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:
  • 5,704,000 MORE jobs in total
  • 6,369,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 5,131,000 MORE people working

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

  • 3,814,000 MORE people working full-time
  • 1,316,000 MORE people working part-time

Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 56 months since February 2010?


  • 56 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.
  • The longest consecutive period of private-sector job increases since this number has been recorded. 

Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 49 months since September 2010?


  • 49 months of consecutive overall job growth.

Are more people unemployed now than when Obama took office in January 2009?  

  • Despite 2,068,000 MORE people in the labor force (either working or actively looking for work) now vs. January 2009, there are 3,063,000 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 48 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 56 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 5 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 56 months (as of October 2014), 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 October 2014, which was released in early November 2014.  The surveys used to gather these numbers in August are taken as of the week which includes the 12th day of the month, in this case, October 12, 2014. 

October 2014 Unemployment Rate, Jobs

November 2014 jobs summary and highlights 
will be released later this morning, Friday, December 5th.

Please check HERE for details and updates throughout the day!

October 2014 jobs summary and highlights:
  • +214,000 new payroll jobs; +209,000 new private sector jobs
  • Unemployment rate drops to 5.8%
  • Number of people working full-time increases by about 345,000 while number of people working part-time increases by about 334,000.  That's 3,326,000 MORE people working full-time over the past year, since October 2013, and 482,000 MORE people working part-time over the past year. 
  • The number of involuntary part-time workers (people working part-time because they couldn't find full-time work) decreased 76,000 in October and dropped 989,000 over the past year, since October 2013.
  • Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 10 million MORE jobs in total
    • 10.6 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 9.3 million MORE people working
    • 9 million MORE people working full-time.
    • 214,000 MORE people working part-time.  
    • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. 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:
    • 5.7 million MORE jobs in total
    • 6.4 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 5.1 million MORE people working
    • 3.8 million MORE people working full-time
    • 136,000 million MORE people working part-time

Please check back for details and updates!

October 2014 reports: (Notation on the links will be changed to "October" or "Updated for October" when the updated reports become available.) 

October 2014 jobs preview published Thursday night:
And, in the aftermath of the election, we have Jobs Numbers Day!
Today is the BLS (government) Jobs Numbers Day. ADP, the private payroll service, always releases their estimates a couple of days before the BLS, and they have estimated that 230,000 private sector have been created. If we come anywhere near that number (which we did), it will be another bang-up jobs month.. And it will mark the 56th consecutive month of private sector jobs creation.

But the people of this great country? At least the ones who bothered to vote? Well, I guess at least 50% of them would prefer the paltry job creation of the Bush administration.  Not sure what else to think.

The Republican apologists and media have done a good job eclipsing the record-breaking job creation by blathering on about the "labor force participation rate". I've got that covered at my blog as well. Check in tomorrow.

Oh,and by the way.. The Department of Labor released its initial unemployment claims report this morning as it does every Thursday morning. It reported:
"In the week ending November 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 278,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level. The 4-week moving average was 279,000, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the LOWEST LEVEL FOR THIS AVERAGE SINCE April 29, 2000 when it was 273,000."

Yep, new unemployment claims are lower than they have been since Clinton was in the White House.

But the American people elected REPUBLICANS.

The Sky Is Falling! The Labor Force Participation Rate Declines

The cry of the Republicans continues:

"Labor force participation rate LOWEST in 40 years...which means people GAVE UP LOOKING FOR WORK! Government-reported unemployment rate only counts those who are actively looking (and not finding). Once your employment benefits run out, whether you've found a job OR NOT, the government no longer considers you unemployed, and voila! A drop in the unemployment rate! :)"

Chicken little pic found HERE 

Um, Robert.. No.

"Robert" wrote the above comment to this article at Addicting Info.  You'll have to dig a bit in the comments to find it, but I did answer him.. and then somebody else.

I'm continually stunned by the spin surrounding the declining labor force participation rate.  Yes, it has gone down, but most peole who comment on it don't even know what it is, much less have any real understanding of why it has decreased.

So here's the whole scoop, for those who really want to know what is going on in this country.

1. The allegation:  "Government-reported unemployment rate only counts those who are actively looking (and not finding)"

The Truth:
 No developed country ANYWHERE counts people as unemployed unless they are actively looking for work. It's actually an international standard. And how can people find work unless they are out there looking for work?

. The allegation: 
 "Once your employment benefits run out, whether you've found a job OR NOT, the government no longer considers you unemployed, and voila! A drop in the unemployment rate!"

The Truth:  
Government-reported unemployment has nothing to do with who is or who is not collecting benefits. I don't know why so many people think that is true. Right now we have about 2 million people collecting benefits and over 9 million who are unemployed. Do the math.

You are considered unemployed as long as you are looking for work, a week, a month, a year, two years... You can be unemployed for a decade as long as you make ONE effort during the month to find work.

3. The allegation:  "Labor force participation rate LOWEST in 40 years...which means people GAVE UP LOOKING FOR WORK!"

The Truth:  
Yes, the labor force participation rate is lower now than it has been for awhile.  But the labor force participation rate  is the result of many things, mostly demographic and economic trends.  A lower labor force participation rate is not necessarily a bad thing.

Basically it is good that people can retire, stay in school, stay home and take care of kids or aging parents. Historically, the lower the labor force participation rate, the higher the inflation-adjusted weekly salary. That's why the righties go nuts about the labor force participation rate; they want everybody out there begging for jobs; they hate the idea that people can actually retire at some point and enjoy their lives.. or something.

In any event, the number of people who have given up their search for work in discouragement, despair, and misery is declining rapidly, and that number is greatly eclipsed by the number of people entering the labor force - and by the number of people who were previously employed who are leaving the labor force (think retirement.) I've got graphs and sources here if you care to look:

4. The allegation:  "Leaving the workforce to retire is NOT covered in the GOVERNMENT statistics. They cover people of working age, able to work but not looking for work. Last figures that the Govt put out that I could find said 63.7% participate. Which means 36.3% DON'T, but could. Not "are retiring" Here's the GOVERNMENT statistics, as You really shouldn't quote your own blog as a source. Keep it simple. Figures are down in the last few sentences. 

You are absolutely and totally wrong, but I don't expect that you will bother to check things out and see that you are wrong, even though I'm including definitions from the BLS site."

The Truth:    Curtis wrote the above.  Now, let's get the basics of the labor force and its definitions correct: 

First of all, the definition of "labor force participation rate" is the PERCENTAGE of people in the civilian non-institutional population 16+ who are either LOOKING FOR WORK or EMPLOYED. The article that Curtis quoted does tell us who is in the labor force is, but it doesn't tell us what the labor force participation rate is.

Here's the definition of labor force and labor force participation rate straight from the BLS:

"Labor force: The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The labor force participation rate is the labor force as a percent of the civilian noninstitutional population." 

That definition can be found HERE.

Now, the definition of "civilian non-institutional population 16+":

There is no top age limit to who is considered to be in the "civilian non-institutional populaiton 16+." People who are retired ARE in the civilian non-institutional population 16+ as long as they aren't living in a nursing home. Peole who are disabled and living at home ARE in the civilian non-institutional population 16+. People who are in high school and college ARE in the civilian non-institutional population 16+ as long as they are over 16. 

People in institutions, nursing homes, prisons or people who are ACTIVE military are NOT considered to be part of the civilian non-institutional population 16+. 

From the BLS site: "Persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, who are not inmates of institutions (e.g., penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged), and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces."

Exactly what I wrote above. The specific source is 

5. The allegation:  "Which means 36.3% DON'T (work), but could. Not "are retiring" 

The Truth:  
After reading the above definitions, it should be clear that the 36.3% who DON'T work and who aren't looking for work include people who are in high school and college (but over 16), people who are retired, people who are disabled but living at home, and people who are home with their kids, along with a small number of people who are discouraged.

My editorial opinion:

I explain all of this in easy-to-understand language over and over and over again (here) at my blog.. But it's still too complicated for some people. And, the people at the rightie blogs and people at venues like Fox really WANT people to believe that there is something horrible about all of these people who are in school, at home with kids, or retired. They want you to feel that YOU are working and all of these lazy people are not working. You are being lied to and deceived, Curtis. Sigh. I'm sorry; I really am.. I'm sorry for all of us that so many people, like you, have been deceived and lied to. 

For the record:  My blog uses data provided by the BLS. I don't make anything up and I usually include the specific source; that is, the specific table that the BLS has provided.  I have been analyzing and writing about BLS and DOL data for about 6 years now and may even know that data and what it represents better than almost anybody outside of the BLS. In addition, I worked for several years as a consultant for one of the state agencies that supplies data to the BLS and I worked on the 2010 Census.