The November 2012 unemployment numbers are out and, of course, the followers of the Cult of our Dear Leader are saying how wonderful those numbers are and those with basic math and reading comprehension skills are not so quick to jump in and join the cheering.
As in most cases, the truth lies between the two camps, but it’s closer to those with the basic math and reading comprehension skills.
According the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U3 unemployment rate (the so-called “official” rate) dropped from 7.9% in October to 7.7% in November. That is the official government number. No books were cooked to get there. It was calculated the same way the federal BLS calculated the U3 number for the past couple of administrations. Just how the feds calculate that number is important to know. I’ll get to that later.
For a more accurate look at the health of the US labor force, you need to look at the BLS’ U6 rate, which includes the underemployed. People who can’t find full time jobs and are working part time for example. That number has been in the low to mid teens for most of the Obama regime. That fell from 14.6% in October to 14.4% in November. Moving in the right direction, but still crazy high considering the U6 rate averaged 9.2% during the GW Bush administration. That was with the declining economy he inherited, the economic recession caused by the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, and the sub-prime housing bubble bursting! It’s even worse when you compare the Obama Economy to the Reagan Recovery, which at this point in President Reagan’s first term, the economy was producing over 800,000 new jobs a month.
The question the media should be asking is how those unemployment numbers are dropping. Yes, the economy is adding new jobs, but at a rate barely above the 125,000 new jobs a month needed to meet population growth. The numbers for October and September were revised downwards, so we should take the November number of 146,000 new jobs with more than just a few grains of salt. Even adjusting for the level of error seen in October and September, the number new jobs number is still probably over 125,000, but certainly not enough to lower the U3 and U6 numbers by two tenths of a percent in a single months time.
Now it is time to address how the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the various unemployment rates, including the U3 and U6 numbers. The key thing to know here is that this rate is based on the official federal workforce count. If you are collecting unemployment, and thus are officially looking for work, you are part of the official workforce that the federal government counts. If your benefits run out, you are no longer counted as part of that workforce, so you are not part of those BLS calculations. If you were on unemployment but start receiving other benefits, such as food stamps or welfare, you are removed from the official workforce count as well. So as the number of Americans on food stamps (which aren’t actual stamps anymore, but EBT cards) rises to record levels under the Food Stamp President, the size of the American workforce, as calculated by the federal BLS, shrinks in a corresponding fashion.
So while approximately 146,000 new jobs were added to the economy in November 2012, the size of workforce dropped by over a half million. To put it another way, the reduction in the workforce was well over three times the size of the increase in the workforce. Combine those two numbers and now that 0.2% drop in both the federal U3 and U6 rates make sense.
If the U3 rate was calculated using the same size workforce as existed when Barry Obama took office, the U3 rate would be 10.7%. Clearly, the primary goal of our Dear Leader and congressional democrats has not been job creation, but the illusion of job creation.
So what the November 2012 unemployment numbers really tell anyone willing to look past the smiling faces of the democrat operatives with press credentials, is that there are more people receiving money from the government (i.e. money obtained from tax revenues), than are people paying taxes than there were last month. That is the legacy of the Obama Economy.
Update: Since I posted this, the BLS “adjusted” the November 2012 unemployment rate upwards from 7.7% to 7.8%. Given the economic stewardship of the Obama regime, don’t expect that to get any better. The initial BLS U3 rate for December 2012 was 7.8%. I wouldn’t be surprised if that gets “adjusted” upwards as well.