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View Diary: Unemployment hits new highs in Spain and France (25 comments)

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  •  Sigh... (0+ / 0-)

    As I said, I have already linked to the definition of "unemployed".  Here it is, again.

    Now you want to bring in the concept of discouraged workers.  I must remind you, this is definitely irrelevant to what you claimed originally:

    In the US if you can't find work long enough you are disappeared from the stats. Or if you never entered the workforce in the first place, like what happens with kids out of school, you never existed.
    Discouraged ≠ can't find work for long enough.
    Discouraged ≠ never entered the workforce in the first place.
    Discouraged = available to take a job and have engaged in some job search within the last year (or since last employed if that was in the last year - but not the last 4 weeks or else they'd be counted among the U3 unemployed).

    If you want to look at discouraged workers now as well, you must look at the U4 rate.

    Your links are interesting for their own sake, but irrelevant to the point: as long as someone jobless is actively looking for work at least once every 4 weeks, they are counted as unemployed, period.

    You seem very keen on this concept of "officially, since 1994".  The 1994 definitional changes are highlighted here.

    If you have never had a job before but are now looking for one, you are defined as a "new entrant" to the labor force.  Officially (see last link).

    If you are a discouraged worker, you are correct, you are not counted in the headline U3 rate.  But that is irrelevant to your claim:

    In the US if you can't find work long enough you are disappeared from the stats. Or if you never entered the workforce in the first place, like what happens with kids out of school, you never existed.
    Neither of these claims is accurate.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:44:56 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I'll give you the "new entrants." (0+ / 0-)

      Though how you can tell how many kids are active jobs seekers in, say, Detroit, or Chicago, inner cities across the US where there are no jobs for anyone -- that's a mystery. Surveys, I know.

      And given that high school dropout rates are around 30%, I'm not sure how they count that. Seems they don't.

      U4, U5, U6, however are not U3, which is the figure I criticized in the original post.

      "Discouraged workers" is defined, iirc, as people who have applied for a job in the last 4 weeks, otherwise they are off the list. I doubt that is including the huge number of homeless we have, for instance. Nor that they are contacted in their homes for surveys.

      You might have noticed that disability claims are at astonishing levels, even higher than the "new jobs" reports of the last months. So they are out of the estimates, but, as in my case without work for 7 months, it did cross my mind that my carpel tunnel might qualify me. (but i couldn't even really try for that, just not my nature. And I'd rather work.)

      Perhaps it was wrong of me to say "cooked." I'm sure the people at BLS are honest and hard-working, and it would be hard to apply political pressure to them from what I've read.

      So let me say "way under what's actually happening."

      And certainly U3, is not U4.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:36:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Discouraged workers (1+ / 0-)
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        Jim P

        Per the link in my last comment (my bold):

        3. Other definitional changes. In addition, several labor force definitions were modified. The most important definitional changes concerned discouraged workers. The Levitan Commission had criticized the former definition because it was based on a subjective desire for work and on somewhat arbitrary assumptions about an individual's availability to take a job. As a result of the redesign, two requirements were added: For persons to qualify as discouraged, they must have engaged in some jobsearch within the past year (or since they last worked, if they worked within the past year), and they must be currently available to take a job. (Formerly, availability was inferred from responses to other questions; now, there is a direct question.)
        People without a job who have applied for a job in the last 4 weeks are counted as unemployed (in the U3 sense).  To be specific, per the link in my first comment:
        Who is counted as unemployed?
        Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.

        Workers expecting to be recalled from layoff are counted as unemployed, whether or not they have engaged in a specific jobseeking activity. In all other cases, the individual must have been engaged in at least one active job search activity in the 4 weeks preceding the interview and be available for work (except for temporary illness).

        All else being equal, if such folk cease to apply for jobs then they will shift from being in both the U3 and U4 counts to just being in the U4 count (the various U-ratings being cumulative).

        On the disability front, the labor stats for the disabled v. non-disabled populations can be found here.  So as of last month, there were 10,633,000 people who were disabled, 16-64 years old, and not in the labor force.  What you're obviously getting at is how many of those people removed themselves from the work force because of economic conditions who might otherwise be in the U3, U4 etc counts?

        The stats on how many are counted as disabled can be found here - although it only seems this has been collected since June 2008.  Still, between then and July 2010 the total actually dropped by 5.0% and from then until March 2013 rose 11.3% (+2,936,000).

        If you subtract from those figures the size of the disabled labor force, you get a disabled population who are not in the labor force of:

        June 2008: 21,442,000.
        July 2010: 20,397,000 (-4.9%)
        March 2013: 22,957,000 (+7.1% v. June 2008, +12.6% v. July 2010).

        Doing the same thing for the non-disabled population gets you:

        June 2008: 56,603,000
        July 2010: 62,222,000 (+9.9%)
        March 2013: 67,526,000 (+19.3% v. June 2008, +8.5% v. July 2010).

        Since the non-disabled not-in-the-labor-force population grew faster than the disabled not-in-the-labor-force population except for the July 2010 - March 2013 period, it seems that the latter was less effected by our economic malaise than the former.

        So trying to pick only the best cherry, for July 2010 - March 2013 in particular, we're looking at an excess of 4.1% or about 830,000 more joining the ranks of the non-labor force disabled than can be explained by changes in the population and labor force as a whole.  So even if we make an unfounded leap and ascribe the entirety of this cherry-picked stat to people who would otherwise be looking for a job, the U3 rate would be 8.1% instead of 7.6% and there's no gross understatement possible there even with this contrivance.

        I doubt that is including the huge number of homeless we have, for instance. Nor that they are contacted in their homes for surveys.
        Good point: the CPS is a survey of households, so people who have no home of their own but are staying with friends or family would be covered, but not those who have institutional or no accomodation at all.

        However, since homelessness has actually been falling during and since the Great Recession (see page 9), there is no room to hide an understatement of unemployment there - even if there were no homelessness at all prior to 2008.

        Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

        by GeoffT on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 02:22:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for taking the time to document (0+ / 0-)

          and argue as you do. Much appreciated, and I learned a lot. (I spent a few hours checking out BLS and DoL sites, at your stirring.)

          I'll not assert that the figures are cooked in the future.

          Though I still hold that things aren't as rosy as the figures show. I'd really have to know a lot more about the assumptions underlying estimates and methodologies to have real confidence in the figures.

          I realize my experience is anecdotal. Nobody in my family and friends, a lot of people, has steady work but three, and all three have seen a decline in business where they are. Cab drivers complain of the slowdown. Store owners too. The stores which aren't shuttered. I know I see more homeless than I've seen in a long time.

          Maybe that's just my local NYC world (which the NY Times recently reported had 50% of its people poor or near-poor.)

          I still think that if U6 were the headline figure, and not U3, reality would be better represented.


          Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

          by Jim P on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:23:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not even then I don't think (1+ / 0-)
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            Jim P

            Personally I'm not a big fan of the unemployment rate - no matter which version - being as headlined as much as it is by the MSM.  The reason for this is that it can go up for good reasons (people deciding that starting looking for work sounds worthwhile now when it didn't before) as well as the obvious bad one, so it has nuances that are almost always ignored by the MSM.

            What I think is generally a better indicator of the labor market is the employment-population ratio: you can see from the BLS chart there that 2008 and 2009 bled employment and while it's now stabilized it is not returning to its pre-recession level.  Even though jobs are being created - and even being created at the same rates they were in the last boom - it's pretty much just been keeping pace with population increases for the last three years.

            So to return to the ~63% employment-population ratio we were at 6 years ago from the ~59% we're at today, we'd need another 4/59 x 140 million ~ 10 million more people to have jobs, over and above those needed to keep pace with the growing population.

            What we're also seeing of late is wage stagnation.  You can see from those tables that year-on-year changes to weekly wages failed to keep up with inflation in 2012Q2, fell in absolute terms in 2012Q3, and because the economy's GDP barely held its ground in 2012Q4 I'd be surprised if there were any good news on the wage front for then either.

            It's hard to recover those missing jobs when demand is being strangled by lower wages.

            Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

            by GeoffT on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 12:12:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This "compete in the global marketplace" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GeoffT

              mantra politicians repeat -- well, that's slave/prison/child labor, and damn near it in Asia. Seems a real, massive, job-creation push, in our political class, is on hold until the wages can be driven down enough to "compete." That's what I surmise, at least.


              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:17:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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