Friday, March 4, 2011

The Silly Unemployment Numbers: Devil is in Details

While the media headlines are U.S Payrolls Climbed 192.000 in February as Jobless Rate Declined to 8.95, you may wish to consult the actual numbers.

This is from the BLS itself:

Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 64.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, were unchanged in February. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.3 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In February, 2.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up from 2.5 million a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Silly numbers.

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