Friday, August 03, 2012

Unemployment Rises

As the country struggles to gain growth traction, the unemployment rate held above 8 percent for the 41st consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"While the monthly gain is still relatively small by historical standards, it might help spxark somewhat higher consumer optimism and spending," Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board, said in response to the report.
Despite the seemingly good news, the report's household showed that the actual amount of Americans working dropped by 195,000, with the net job gain resulting primarily from seasonal adjustments in the establishment survey. The birth-death model, which approximates net job growth from newly added or closed businesses, added 52,000 to the total.
The household survey also showed 150,000 fewer Americans in the workforce.
If not for that drop in the labor force, the unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%.
Only in a world of lowered, New Normal expectations was the July jobs report anything less than another disaster for U.S. workers. Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 last month as the unemployment rate rose to 8.3%. In addition, employment for May and June was revised by 6,000 jobs.

– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

– This continues to be the longest stretch of 8% or higher unemployment since the Great Depression, 42 straight months.

– If the labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.0%.

– Even if you take into account that the LFP should be declining as America ages, the unemployment rate would be 10.6%.

– If labor force participation rate hadn’t declined since just last month, unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%.


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