What you need to know about today’s jobs report
Summary: I don’t have time for our usual analysis of the monthly US jobs report. Here’s a brief with the important news.
For a fast analysis I use the household survey. Although less accurate than the establishment survey, BLS does not revise it — providing a firm if broad baseline. Since this data is noisy, we’ll look at the two-month change — from June to August. All numbers re in thousands, seasonally adjusted.
- Civilian adult (16+) noninstitutional population: up 411 (+0.2%)
- Civilian labor force: down 518 (-0.3%)
- Not in the labor Force: up 929 (+1.1%)
The change in population = change in labor force plus those not in labor force. Now let’s look at the labor force:
- Employed: down 314 (-0.2%)
- Unemployed: down 205 (-1.6%)
So we see three conclusions:
- The number of people with jobs dropped, and
- The number not in the labor force rose by the number of new adults plus those who lost jobs plus those who dropped out (eg, gave up, retired) of the labor force.
- Multiply those percentages by six and you get some serious bad news.
Looking at individual numbers allows people to spin both big optimistic and pessimistic assertions. The overall picture shows a significant — but not yet conclusive (it’s only two months) — deterioration from the slow growth of the past two years. Bad news for Obama. But no surprise since the entire world economy is slowing, especially Europe and China. We are one world.
No, we are not in a recession. Since mid-2009 we have been in a slow recovery, far slower by most (not all) metrics than the average of the post-WWII era — and by some metrics the worst. That’s ugly since we’ve applied the largest and longest in duration fiscal and monetary stimulus ever in US history. That we got so little from it shows the size of the downturn, similar in most respects to that of 1929, and its poor design.
See the details at today’s report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For more information
- Undercutting people’s trust in the Republic: another step to destroying the Republic, 27 August 2012
- America is rich and powerful because we can borrow. Will this debt build a stronger America?, 5 June 2012
- Previous posts about employment