Friday, October 2, 2009

Unemployment Data

Lots of posts today on today's unemployment data. Several sites are featuring statistical representations of changing civilian workforce participation over the last 4 decades.

Only one of the sites I've seen today takes into account the role of women entering the workforce. The fact that the percentage of civilian workforce participation today is still slightly above that of the 70s era recession does not mean that the 70s era recession was worse.

The mere fact that today's workforce participation rate is close to the 70s recession era level is scary given the fact that women were not widely represented in the workforce then.

Karl Denninger's post at seeking alpha gives us a better sense of how significant September's unemployment numbers are:

"... the Household Data is VASTLY worse than reported. Here are the month-over-month changes, and they're in the realm of frightening. (all numbers in thousands)

Civilian Labor Force: 154,879 to 153,617 this month.

Employed: 140,074 down to 139,079 this month.

That's a loss of 995,000 jobs, not 263,000, and the labor force contracted by 1,262,000 people!

The participation rate was absolutely decimated, down 0.6% this last month alone. The people "not in the labor force" rose by a staggering 1,516,000 in the last month."

"Weekly earnings are also down by $1.54, which is bad news too."

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