Friday, December 2, 2011

8.6 Percent Unemployment Rate. HUH. FUZZY MATH

The Obama Administration enjoys using fuzzy math to change the narrative of the economy. If Obama insist we are still in a recession, the unemployment report should reflect his premise. Instead, the economy is showing strength, which is a lie. The fact is the "real" unemployment rate, which counts discouraged workers, remains 15.6%. The economists are skeptic with the unemployment report. Job creation remains anemic. Long term unemployment remains high. Unemployment claims remain above the norm. Honestly, there is no way unemployment could drop from 9.1% to 8.6% in one month.

(CNBC) Job creation remained weak in the U.S. during November, with just 120,000 new positions created, though the unemployment rate slid to 8.6 percent, a government report showed Friday.

The rate fell from the previous month's 9.0 percent, a move which in part reflected a drop in those looking for jobs. The participation rate dropped to 64 percent, from 64.2 percent in October, representing 315,000 fewer job-seekers.

The actual employment level increased by 278,000. The total amount of those without a job fell to 13.3 million.

The drop in participation rate is significant in that had the labor force remained steady, the jobless rate would have dropped to 8.8 percent, according to Citigroup calculations. If the labor force had followed trend growth, unemployment would be at 8.9 percent.

The measure some refer to as the "real" unemployment rate, which counts discouraged workers, also took a fall to 15.6 percent from 16.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2009.

However, economists were treating the rate drops with skepticism.

"When the unemployment rate declines, we want to see both employment and participation increase as discouraged workers return to the labor force. Today, we got the former, but not the latter, making the 0.4 percent drop look a bit suspect," Neil Dutta, US economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told clients. "We would not be surprised to see the unemployment rate give back some of its decline in the coming month(s)."

Long-term unemployment remains a big problem: The average duration for joblessness surged to a record-high 40.9 weeks. Stagnation in wages also continues, as more employed workers took on second jobs. There were just under seven million multiple job-holders for the month, the highest total in 2011 and the most since May 2010.