October 29, 2013

I've lost interest in the official unemployment rate

Frankly, I'm not sure I even care any more about the official U3 unemployment rate that gets published by the U.S. Department of Labor.  After seeing months of weird results where the economy adds an anemic number of jobs or actually lost jobs and the unemployment rate still dropped, a number of bloggers and journalists on the right did our part to start explaining the U6 unemployment rate which includes people who have stopped looking for jobs and is always a worse, but more realistic picture.  But the U6 started to look odd as well.  As labor force participation dropped to historic lows, the unemployment rate continued its gradual decline.  Certainly the government department wasn't fudging the results by doing things like constantly revising upward the numbers after the initial release hoping nobody would notice.  Oh wait, they were doing that.

Last week the unemployment rate in the U.S. for September was released.  It dropped in September (it was announced late incidentally, because of the government shutdown) to 7.2%.  But the economy doesn't feel like things are getting better.
U.S. businesses added a modest 148,000 jobs in September, far short of the 180,000 analysts were expecting. Still, job gains were enough to lower the unemployment rate to 7.2 percent, the lowest in nearly five years. But, the first jobs report since the government shutdown suggests the U.S. economy may be losing steam.

Concerns about the tepid U.S. recovery may be hurting the job market.
How many Recovery Summers does it take to actually equal a full recovery?  The saying numbers don't lie is being overpowered by the Mark Twain saying "there are lies, damned lies and statistics." The economy is sputtering not flourishing. Businesses are retrenching in order to maintain profit margins. Sears is just the latest example.
I guess the message here is trust your senses, and not what you read or see in the news and certainly not what your government is telling you.  Or at the very least, consider them before swallowing whole the official line of the Department of Labor.

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