Presto! Unemployed people vanish before your very eyes

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

  The big economic news today is the unemployment rate dropped slightly.

 The rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent in October, as employers cut the fewest number of jobs since the recession began. The government also said 159,000 fewer jobs were lost in September and October than first reported.

  If part-time workers who want full time jobs and laid-off workers who have given up looking for jobs are included, the so-called underemployment rate also fell, to 17.2 percent from 17.5 percent in October.

 Understand that I’m suspicious of any government numbers, especially positive economic numbers, because politicians have a long tradition of lying with them. So when these numbers came out so much better than everyone expected, I decided to look at the raw numbers.

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  The first and most obvious thing that jumped out at me was how the civilian labor force dropped by nearly 100,000 people, in both the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) numbers. The number of people not in the labor force climbed about 290,000, both SA and NSA. That brought up the obvious question of: where did those people vanish from?

  The number of employed went up by 227,000 in the headline, seasonally adjusted numbers (only 47,000 in the non-seasonally adjusted numbers). Therefore it wasn’t the employed that got dropped off the labor force.

 It turns out that 375,000 unemployed people (SA) simply vanished from the numbers like magic. Houdini would be envious.

  How is that possible? Did all these unemployed people suddenly get independently wealthy and no longer need a job?

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 To understand how this could happen you need to look at the initial claims unemployment report from yesterday.

  If you had only read the headline, you would have saw something like this.

In the week ending Nov. 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 457,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 462,000. The 4-week moving average was 481,250, a decrease of 14,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 495,500.

 To get the real story you needed to read all the way to the bottom of the official report. The very last line says EUC 2008. It is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program that Bush signed into office before he left. The number of people receiving EUC increased by +265,300.

  That means that an additional 265,300 people exhausted all 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and rolled onto the federal dole.

 The number of people receiving Extended Benefits jumped by 58,157. These are people that have exhausted both their state unemployment insurance AND their EUC benefits, and are now on benefits that Obama signed into law.

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 To put it another way: there are no jobs out there. No one is hiring.

People are dropping off of official statistics, whether they’ve given up looking, or simply are no longer being counted, and that is the only reason that the numbers weren’t terrible yet again.

 According to IRS statistics, the employment situation is far worse than the BLS numbers.

 TrimTabs employment analysis, which uses real-time daily income tax deposits from all U.S. taxpayers to compute employment growth, estimated that the U.S. economy shed 255,000 jobs in November.  This past month’s results were an improvement of only 10.2% from the 284,000 jobs lost in October.

the BLS is grossly underestimating current job losses due to their flawed survey methodology. Those flaws include rigid seasonal adjustments, a mysterious birth/death adjustment, and the fact that only 40% to 60% of the BLS survey is complete by the time of the first release and subject to revision.


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  1. gjohnsit
  2. DawnoftheRedSun

    tell you home much I appreciate this essay here.  This mornings Obama has saved the economy nonsense was sickening over there.  One unemployed user complained that these recent jobless figures were misleading.  One particularly heinous Obamabot replied “I feed off your anguish”.  Too many people over there are resorting to complete and utter assholery in rabid defense of their idol.

    I am so glad you wrote this rebuttal.


  3. Inky99

    was create a little dip in the gold price so that people could buy more.

    Buy on the dips.  

    Probably the real purpose of this announcement for all any of us know.

  4. banger

    I used to work with statisticians and it is an art. I have to leave my desk but I’ll return and look at our article again. But thanks for this, really.

  5. Miep

    po’ people #’s up.

  6. joeshwingding
  7. Jack's Smirking Revenge

    don’t count.

    “Passive” employment (those looking and sending out resumes)….counts as employment!

    And of course those in jail don’t, yadda yadda yadda…try around 16-20% unemployment soon.

  8. Night Owl

    even half the effort addressing the problems of this country as it spends hiding them from us, we might stand a chance of actually doing something about them.

  9. dharmasyd

    …as soon as I heard the numbers were up.  Decided not to watch any MSM media today, didn’t want to hear all the gaga-gaga-ing.

    I knew it wasn’t true.  Thanks gj for showing the IRS stats.  

  10. dkmich

    you are talking about… My 403b is in much better shape.   As you point out, the unemployment numbers are all smoke and mirrors and the real indicator of improvement is job creation and that is going nowhere.    

  11. seabos84

    there were a bunch of them who wouldn’t vote cuz they said both parties were the same.

    (some of the hippies were trustafarians out on a lark, undoubtedly enjoying the ‘free’ getting laid and the plentiful mother’s little helpers of the day – and some of the drop outs had been involuntarily sent out to kill or be killed in jungles …)

    I’ve missed 1 or 2 primaries…5? since I was 18 — not too many.

    this week is like flash back week to sitting around the campfire in the Berkshires with the hippies 37 years ago… why the fuck did I vote FOR these bastards ????

    at least with McSlime and Princess it would have been straight up, honest to gawd, honest to goodness LIES – this is actually worse than getting lied to by lying fascists.


  12. serendipity

    …they’re pretty visible to the rest of the country, though.  

  13. Spindrifter

    Last week I looked into unemployment numbers for the blind and visually impaired and I’ll tell ya being blinky myself I’m real happy to have a job.  Some 75% +/- of people who self  identify as blind or needing glasses to ‘see’ aren’t even listed as part of the workforce and of the 25% +/- remaining the numbers of under or un employed are roughly 28%  


    Of course the numbers aren’t current,I believe they’re from 2006 or 7 but I doubt they’ve changed much or have gotten worse

  14. gjohnsit

    of doing exactly what Republicans did before them – appearing to be out-of-touch.

      Back in 1992 Daddy Bush and the rest of the Republicans appeared to be out-of-touch with Main Street because they focused on positive GDP numbers and not on unemployment numbers.

     Now, 17 years later, with unemployment 3% higher and only a single positive GDP quarter, Democrats are crowing. Independents are going to abandon the Democrats for the same reason they abandoned Daddy Bush 17 years ago.

  15. dkmich

    I actually found a quote and link to this essay at OpenLeft, which led me to dkos.  I tipped and rec’d it there, but came here to post. I can’t handle the bots…

  16. randgrithr

    Heh. I’m LONG gone…

  17. joeshwingding

    Been waiting for adip myself.

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