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Monday, May 05, 2014

Unemployment Really 59%?

By Susan Duclos 

An email forwarded to me with screen shots from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be shown below, appear to show that the government is manipulating job numbers in order to claim that unemployment is down to 6.3 percent. 

Official numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for April. Click on "civilian labor force level" to see the numbers.

155,421,000 --- that is 155 million willing and able to work. If 92 million are out of work the unemployment rate is %59.

The image sent was extracted on May 4, 2014:

As can be seen, the 155,421,000 number is accurate, but the image above does not show the 92 million out of the work force, but that is explained in a CBS DC article from May 2, 2014:

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March, the lowest it has been since September 2008 when it was 6.1 percent. The sharp drop, though, occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count people not looking for a job as unemployed. The bureau noted that the civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 last month, following an increase of 503,000 in March.

The amount (not seasonally adjusted) of Americans not in the labor force in April rose to 92,594,000, almost 1 million more than the previous month. .....

Would anyone still like to argue that we are in a "recovery?"

[Update] Below comes from the comment section, correcting the calculations to reflect that the young, retired, etc... are included in the numbers, and shouldn't be.

Comment below:

"The bureau noted that the civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 last month"
This is the number of people they moved from unemployed to not-looking for work and that is why the pretend numbers dropped.
The BLS unemployment rate that they normally quote is called the headline rate and is based on unemployed divided by the total able to work force; so using the above numbers:
Unemployment of 6.3% is 9.8 million / 155.421 million
Now I happen to think that number is a joke because to get it they dropped about 1 million from the unemployed amount because they gave up working or their benefits ran out. So counting those people dropped since jan 2014 gives us 11.460 million unemployed or a rate of 7.4%, which is what it was across all of 2013 (averaged for the year);
Now if you look at the BLS own numbers the labour participation rate has dropped 3.2% during Obamas presidency
And also that 733,000 jobs where lost in April
I like to look at the number of people who left the work force or lost benefits during the Obama war on the middle class and use that to calculate the unemployment. You have to go through huge sets of numbers and even then the BLS keeps changing it to adjust for population controls (ie how they calculate the who is looking or not looking for work). So based on that the number of unemployed is somewhere between 9 and 45 million. Seriously the numbers they give are adjusted just about monthly so there is no way to be sure of the real numbers but it looks like about 10.3 million have given up looking between 2009 and 2013 so that would be 10.3 + 9.8 unemployed to give you a rate of 12.9%
Though like I said I have seen reports that the numbers who have left the workforce because of giving up is is closer to 30 million than the 10.3 I get from the BLS numbers. In which case the rate is 25.%
What your quoting with the 59% is the employment population ratio (EPR) and your reading it backwards, in that it's 59% of the population is working not unemployed. and the BLS gives that as 58.9%, so just about your 59% and it is a better number for somethings than the unemployment numbers. Unfortunately the EPR includes everyone not in an institution, so it includes retired people, those in college or university and those who choose not to work and it's everyone age 16+ so even high school kids with less than full time employment get counted. Historically it has been below 60% since Obama took office and the previous times it has been this low is before 1985. So it's an indicator but not a unemployment number and they way the writer calculated it is counting retired people and students as unemployed rather than not participating.