Bureau of Labor Statistics 4/5/2013 Seasonally Adjusted
So look at these statistics
- The Civilian Noninstitutional Population (people over 16, not in prison or in the military) increased by 167 thousand people.
- The number of employed dropped by 206 thousand.
- The number of unemployed dropped by 290 thousand.
- The labor force dropped by 496 thousand (206 + 290).
- And if the working eligible population increased by 167 thousand and the labor force dropped by 496 thousand, that means that 663 thousand more people are not in the work force.
Pictures can sometimes tell us a lot (a picture is worth 1,000 data points?). Note the population of eligible workers has steadily grown since 06/09 (work-eligible population increased by about 9.3 million people, or about 4%), while the number of unemployed has gone down (by about 2.9 million, about a 17% decline). If you’re wondering about the zigzags, I didn’t ‘seasonally adjust‘ the data in the above graph, so it reflects spikes at the end of the year. So far, so good. Looks like wonderful growth and sound economic and fiscal stimulus. Now notice that the workforce went down (by 1.4 million people, or about 1%).Here’s the ugly fact: the population went up, unemployment went down, but the number of people working went down. That gives a different way to look at employment:
The number of Americans not in the workforce has increased by 10.7 million a 13.4% increase.
The labor force participation rate is the lowest it’s been since 1978. It doesn’t look to me like a lot of jobs are being created. And it makes me wonder what happens if the trend continues. Anyone know the answer? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
PS: A portion of the blog title is from one of my favorite movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which Ferris skips school to have a great fun time. Somehow, it seems appropriate.