******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Unemployment Rate Up To 9%

In a just released report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate increased from 8.8% to 9.0%.

The "unemployment rate" can be somewhat misleading, as I have pointed out in the past, because as more people drop out of the labor market (i.e. give up even looking for work) the rate can drop.  So did the rate increase because more people were looking for work?

According to the report, 244,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added.  But the report also notes that the "labor force also was little changed in April."  So it does not appear that the increase was a result of more people looking for work.

I'll dig into the report and update on the details.

Updates:  The "participation rate" was down 0.1% from March, so the increase does not appear to be caused by more people looking for work.  The number of people reentering the workforce or entering for the first time also was stable.

The unemployment rate for Black males is 17.3%, and for Black females 12.8% (compared to 7.8% for White men and 6.6% for White women).  Black teenagers (16-19) have a 37.5% unemployment rate (compared to 20.7% for White teenagers).  The unemployment rate for Hispanic men is 10.3%, women 11.0% and teenagers 23.4%.

In response to commenter Sandy, what some refer to as the "true" unemployment rate is much higher.  This table show statistics for "Alternative Measure of Labor Underutilization," including a rate of 15.9% (seasonally adjusted, as is the 9.0% headline number) for "Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force."

The New York Times, which is spinning this report as an indication that "the recovery continued to pick up steam," makes this inaccurate assessment:
"April’s numbers exceeded the forecasts of analysts, who had expected a gain of 185,000 jobs over all, with the change in private payrolls of 200,000. The uptick in the unemployment rate that came even as employers were adding jobs was an indication that more people were entering the work force as hopes for hiring increased."
Do NY Times reporters even read the reports about which they are writing?

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share


  1. Been lurking. Thought I would comment.
    I read on another site, don't remember it
    off hand, that the unemployment rate is
    more like 15% and the gov. ofc. isn't reporting
    it correctly. How would we know for sure just
    what it really is?
    I live in NC and a TON of jobs here have gone overseas or to Mexico.
    Thank you for being here and thank you for letting me give my 2 cents worth.

  2. Are the blacks, who were the 97% voting block for Obama, realizing that they have been utterly ignored in the great march forward of Hope and Change?

  3. 244,000 less 175,000 birth/death adjustment = 69,000 less 62,000 McDonald's jobs in April = 7,000 jobs

  4. @Sandy added that info. to the post, it's 15.9% seasonally adjusted and 15.5% not seasonablly adjusted.

  5. Remember, there is always John Williams' Shadowstats. He has been doing yeoman's work for years keeping parallel statistics which remove all the political and Orwellian adjustments to government statistics.

    "Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting." John Williams

    For instance take the unemployment report:

    "Up until the Clinton administration, a discouraged worker was one who was willing, able and ready to work but had given up looking because there were no jobs to be had. The Clinton administration dismissed to the non-reporting netherworld about five million discouraged workers who had been so categorized for more than a year. As of July 2004, the less-than-a-year discouraged workers total 504,000. Adding in the netherworld takes the unemployment rate up to about 12.5%.

    The Clinton administration also reduced monthly household sampling from 60,000 to about 50,000, eliminating significant surveying in the inner cities. Despite claims of corrective statistical adjustments, reported unemployment among people of color declined sharply, and the piggybacked poverty survey showed a remarkable reversal in decades of worsening poverty trends.

    Somehow, the Clinton administration successfully set into motion reestablishing the full 60,000 survey for the benefit of the current Bush administration's monthly household survey." John Williams

  6. Via Zero Hedge, here's Goldman Sach's interpretation of the employment report:


    And the best economics blogger on the net, Professor Mark Perry at the blog Carpe Diem:


  7. Anecdotally, I am seeing some recovery in my own region and industry. I was gainfully employed for the entire year in 2010. The last year I could say that about was 2005. I am also getting unsolicited calls and emails about jobs, something which I haven’t seen since sometime in 2006. I am employed (by choice) in the temporary I.T. industry in the Midwest, so I don’t know about other areas and other industries.

  8. The Carpe Diem website contains a wealth of material, thanks for the tip.

    I recommend, also, the indefatigable Mike Shedlock (Mish)

    "BLS Jobs Report: Nonfarm Payroll Headline Number Looks Good, Beneath the Surface, Awful"

  9. This ought to shake things up...

    "Greece’s economic problems are massive, with protests against the government being held almost daily. Now Prime Minister George Papandreou apparently feels he has no other option: SPIEGEL ONLINE has obtained information from German government sources knowledgeable of the situation in Athens indicating that Papandreou’s government is considering abandoning the euro and reintroducing its own currency. Alarmed by the attempt, the European Commission has called together a crisis meeting in Luxembourg on Friday night. In addition to Greece’s possible exit from the currency union, a speedy restructuring of the country’s debt also features on the agenda."


    Business Insider

  10. If Our 'Food Stamp Recovery' Persists, Obama Will Lose Big

    "On a political level, the blame for the recovery goes entirely to President Obama. Indeed, looking at the polls on his handling of the economy, you can see that he is already taking the heat.

    And so, we can lay down the following marker: if the economic recovery does not begin to show substantial improvement, the likes of which we have not really seen in the last two years, and if the GOP nominates a reasonably acceptable alternative, this president is going to lose in 2012, and the final result will not be close. Nobody gets reelected with employment way down, real income way down, and 14 percent of his fellow citizens on food stamps. Nobody."
    Jay Cost, The Weekly Standard

  11. 1.) the 'true unemployment rate' counting everyone who is unemployed including those 'no longer looking for work' is usually 1.5x the listed rate or 2.5x the listed rate during recessions.

    2.) There is a ton of misinformation surrounding unemployment rates. The number is taken from state unemployment rolls. People who exhaust their unemployment compensation before finding a job become categorized as 'no longer seeking a job' when this may or may not actually be true.

    Also, even if you did fall off the official unemployment stat because you exhausted your compensation, you cannot simply 'decide' to start looking for work again and get back onto the official unemployment statistic. This had me shaking my head when the press started reporting that unemployment had risen simply because 'people have started seeking employment again'. Bogus! I would somehow need to get back onto the state unemployment rolls again (impossible) to be officially counted as 'unemployed'!

    The only thing that can increase the official unemployment statistic is actual, true lay-offs, so don't be fooled by the media. The only activity that can make the stat drop is for people to end their unemployment compensations for whatever reason, finding a job, or exhausting what they're entitled to.

  12. Professor, the headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, written by Jeannine Aversa, an AP Economics Writer, is "Economy added 244k jobs in April, 3rd straight month of solid hiring; rate ticked up to 9 pct."

    If the "Economy added 244k jobs in April, 3rd straight month of solid hiring", why are you all dooming and glooming? From the headline, I thought things were going swell. Just try to look at the bright side of things for once, ok? I'm sure you could find that article, and see that it is pretty upbeat. In fact, if we did a paragraph analysis and analyzed each paragraph as positive or negative, we would find the article is very positive. Which is why I check your blog regularly. Thanks.