Friday, October 5, 2012

Why today's Job Number is Bullshit

Jack Welch was spot on regarding his skepticism of today's jobs report.
What the report didn't tell you was that 342,000 Americans dropped out of the workforce.
This article from UPI sums it up pretty well:
The Labor Department report said 12.1 million people were unemployed, a drop of 456,000 from the previous month.

That figure is critical because 342,000 more people dropped out of the workforce than gained employment in September. The September rate fell to 7.8 percent in part because it reflected an increase in the number of jobs initially reported in July and August. 
Although the number is officially described as representing people who elected to care for a relative at home or return to school, many did so because they were simply too discouraged to continue looking for work.
So what is the 'real" unemployment number for our country? It's a guesstimate at best as there's no way to measure all those who have run out of unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work all together. The Romney camp estimates the true number to be closer to 11%. They arrive at that figure by by applying the labor force participation rate from when Obama took office to today's population:
"The labor force participation rate in January 2009 was 65.7 percent," Williams said. Since then, the rate has fallen to 63.3 percent. "Had the rate remained the same, the labor force would be about 160,158,000. At that labor force level, the unemployment rate would be 10.7 percent."
As noted in this article, though, it's also impossible to guage the number of retirees during the recession. This was documented in this report by the Chicago branch of the Federal reserve.

What is clear is that this 7.8% number will be put out to the electorate as a sign of recovery. I'll expect to hear it in the upcoming debates. The headlines and pundits have filled the web with it today
To that I'll simply ask "then why didn't the markets explode today?"

I've been neutral about the Presidential race up until now, as neither candidate represents what I'm looking for in a leader. I've also resisted most of the tin foil hat conspiracy theories and muck slinging.

But when something this blatant is put forth as this- it compels me to choose the lesser of two evils.

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