(7 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The front-page measure of unemployment declined in January 2011 from 9.4% to 9%, which translates into a decrease of about 600,000 in the number of unemployed Americans, but the official survey of new jobs showed an increase of only about 36,000,
So how did 36,000 jobs reduce unemployment by 600,000?
According to the usual mob of media pundits, it’s a very big mystery!
“It’s all a mystery,” said Robert Brusca, chief economist at F.A.O. Economics.
“Given the confounding nature of this report, we will have to wait at least another month to see if the labor market is rebounding strongly,” said Heidi Shierholz, of the Economic Policy Institute.
“We don’t believe the extent of the drop in the unemployment rate,” said Stuart Hoffman, an economist at PNC. “It’s like funhouse mirror image, although I don’t know if there’s anything funny about it.”
“Who the hell can make sense of this report? It’s distorted. It’s definitely distorted.”
But it’s only as mysterious as corporate-media tools want to make it, and the difference between 600,000 and 36,000 is just another weak signal emitted by dark matter beyond the fringe of our phony economic “recovery.”
Over the last three years, nearly 5 million U.S. workers have effectively gone missing.
You won’t find their photos on the backs of milk cartons. The Coast Guard isn’t out looking for them. No missing-persons reports have been filed. These are jobless Americans who have grown so discouraged by their unsuccessful searches for work that they have simply given up the hunt. They are no longer counted among the 14.5 million Americans officially considered unemployed as of the end of last year, according to the Department of Labor.
In January, the percentage of Americans who were either employed or actively looking for work fell to 64.2 percent, what economist Heidi Shierholz calls “a stunning new low for the recession.” Shierholz estimates that 4.9 million Americans are left out of the Department of Labor’s official unemployment count because they are too discouraged to continue seeking work.
“We have now added jobs every single month for a year,” Shierholz said. “So you would think that there would be labor-force growth, these missing workers starting to come back in. Not only is that not happening, it’s actually starting to go in the other direction. There’s never been a pool of missing workers this large.”
So if we wanted to avoid the standard (bullshit) measure of “unemployment,” and arrive at a reasonable estimate of joblessness in the United States right now, we could look at the brute numbers of how many Americans would probably have jobs in a healthy economy, and those numbers creep relentlessly upward month after month, no matter how many games establishment economists may play with the official stats.
That’s approximately the number of potential workers in the United States, and it increases by somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 month after month month, and since the recession/Depression began in June 2007, these numbers have increased from 231,958,000 to 238,704,000, for a total of about 6,700,000 new potential workers.
And now let’s take a peek at the number of Americans who actually have jobs.
Those numbers peaked at 146,058,000 in June 2007, and now stand at 139,323,000, a decline of about 6,700,000 jobs.
And one last graphic, which represents the percentage of potential workers who actually have jobs in a healthy economy…
Here we observe that even at the height of the housing bubble, the economy still didn’t generate quite as many jobs as we might have extrapolated from the last year of Bill Clinton’s administration, in January 2001, when 67.2% of the civilian labor force was actually employed, in contrast to the Bush/housing-bubble peak in June 2007, when the analogous figure was only 66.2%.
So in a continuation of a healthy but not utopian economy, as in January 2001, when core unemployment stood at 4.2%, and 137,788,000 Americans were employed out of a potential labor pool of 213,888,000…
Now we would expect to see employment of 67.2% of our expanded labor pool of 238,704,000 Americans, which is to say, employment for 160,040,000 Americans.
But instead there are only 139,323,000 jobs.
The difference is 20,737,000 missing jobs, and that brutal number belongs on the bottom line of our phony “recovery.”