Friday, October 2, 2009

About those unemployment numbers....

By now you've likely heard about the 9.8% national unemployment rate as announced this morning.

But did you know that number could have been much higher had not the labor force massively decreased?

Once again, the unemployment rate would have risen by a much larger amount if the civilian labor force hadn’t lost 570,000 people since last month. As we mentioned in previous posts, the labor force normally increases by ~ 150,000/month, so that’s a huge, very unusual, decrease. In fact, had the labor force size simply remained the same, the unemployment rate would have jumped to 10.2%

Well, that sucks.

Even more depressing is a look at the actual number of jobs out there right now.

I also was taking a look at the unemployment numbers and found a couple interesting outliers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics have the numbers broken down in several ways, including reasons for unemployment...

1) "Quit job" was the reason for 5.5% of the unemployment numbers this past month. That's the lowest percentage in the data set that goes back to Jan of '99.

For comparison's sake, in August, September, and October of last year that number was at 10.5, 10.1, and 9.5, respectively.

This clearly indicates how scared people are to quit their jobs.

2) Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs (read: stimulus jobs) hit their highest level as well.

Once again, for comparison's sake, in August, September, and October of last year that number was a full 10-14 points lower.

Thank you, Stimulus. But can we have our money back now?

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