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Fri May 4, 2012, 08:33 AM

Payroll employment rises 115,000 in April; unemployment rate changes little (8.1%)

Last edited Fri May 4, 2012, 09:53 AM - Edit history (2)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- APRIL 2012


Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services,
retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons (12.5 million) and the unemployment
rate (8.1 percent) changed little in April. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men
(7.5 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites
(7.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change in
April, while the rate for blacks (13.0 percent) declined over the month.
The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in April (not seasonally
adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over)
was little changed at 5.1 million in April. These individuals made up 41.3
percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed
has fallen by 759,000. (See table A-12.)

Read more: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm



115,000 is a lot less than an estimate that I had heard on the radio this morning. The consensus among economists was that there would be 165,000 jobs added in April:

April's Jobs Report and the Youth Problem

What is important about these statistics is not so much any individual month’s number, but the trend. So let’s look at some earlier numbers. We’ll start with other estimates for employment in April, from ADP and Gallup.

There were four related threads about the ADP and Gallup April jobs estimate at DU. Three were in General Discussion, and they were based on the figures from ADP. The fourth, in LBN, painted a contrasting picture. It relied on the figures from Gallup.

Per CNBC - ADP Numbers bad, posted by Laura PourMeADrink

BAD: ADP JOBS REPORT MISSES EXPECTATIONS BY A MILE, posted by xchrom

ADP & TrimTabs Showing Much Weaker Payrolls Ahead of Unemployment Report, posted by marmar

U.S. Job Creation Nears Four-Year High, posted by brooklynite

There's a joke about economists in there somewhere.

March, BLS:

Payroll employment rises 120,000 in March; unemployment rate changes little (8.2%)

March, ADP:

Businesses Adding 209,000 New Jobs Last Month Fail To Ignite Market Rally

February, ADP:

ADP Estimates U.S. Companies Added 216,000 Jobs in February, posted by Gruntled Old Man.

Well, enough of that. On with the show.

-- -- -- --

Monthly Employment Reports

The large print giveth, and the fine print taketh away.

A DU'er pointed out several months ago that, if I'm going to post the link to the press release, I should include the link to all the tables that provide additional ways of examining the data. Specifically, I should post a link to "Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization." Table A-15 includes those who are not considered unemployed, on the grounds that they have become discouraged about the prospects of finding a job and have given up looking. Here are those links.

Employment Situation

Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

From the February 10, 2011, "DOL Newsletter":

Take Three

Secretary Solis answers three questions about how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment rates.

How does BLS determine the unemployment rate and the number of jobs that were added each month?

BLS uses two different surveys to get these numbers. The "household survey," or Current Population Survey (CPS), involves asking people, from about 60,000 households, a series of questions to assess each person in the household's activities including work and searching for work. Their responses give us the unemployment rate. The "establishment survey," or Current Employment Statistics (CES), surveys 140,000 employers about how many people they have on their payrolls. These results determine the number of jobs being added or lost.

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Payroll employment rises 115,000 in April; unemployment rate changes little (8.1%) (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves May 2012 OP
xchrom May 2012 #1
jschurchin May 2012 #2
mathematic May 2012 #6
sendero May 2012 #8
mathematic May 2012 #12
sendero May 2012 #16
Beacool May 2012 #20
jtuck004 May 2012 #22
mathematic May 2012 #23
jtuck004 May 2012 #27
Psephos May 2012 #11
dmallind May 2012 #13
jtuck004 May 2012 #21
jpak May 2012 #17
flpoljunkie May 2012 #3
BumRushDaShow May 2012 #4
dmallind May 2012 #10
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin May 2012 #5
JNelson6563 May 2012 #7
dmallind May 2012 #9
josey12 May 2012 #14
josey12 May 2012 #15
DallasNE May 2012 #18
Beacool May 2012 #19
Liberal_Stalwart71 May 2012 #24
totodeinhere May 2012 #25
Liberal_Stalwart71 May 2012 #26
dennis4868 May 2012 #29
progressivebydesign May 2012 #28

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 08:38 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 08:53 AM

2. whats up brother, and thanks for the report

Did you notice how the bullshit bureau got the rate down .1%?
544,000 Americans decided the job market is so shitty they gave up looking, that's how.
Recovery my ass.

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Response to jschurchin (Reply #2)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:26 AM

6. Every month you misinterpret this data

The total number of people that want jobs are the sum of unemployed plus persons not in the labor force who currently want a job.

Total people that want a job, regardless of labor force status:
March
12,673 + 6,299 = 18,972

April
12,500 + 6366 = 18,866

That's right. FEWER americans want jobs but don't have them than last month. It's all in Table A-1.


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Response to mathematic (Reply #6)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:32 AM

8. They "don't want" them.

... because they have given up all hope of finding one. It's you that is misrepresenting reality.

Labor force participation is now at 1981 levels. Congratulations, what a success.

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Response to sendero (Reply #8)

Fri May 4, 2012, 10:02 AM

12. Another unsupported interpretation

You know they ask people if they want a job. People that never had a job or never looked for a job or stopped looking for a job or are completely unavailable to work at a job are all included in the figures I quoted. The only people that are not included are the people that said they don't want to work. And now you're telling me that they really DO want to work they're just lying. Could you tell me which BLS table I can look up the "Really do want work even though they say they don't (trust us)" category?

When the spin has lost all basis in fact it's time to stop spinning. You're not promulgating an alternate interpretation, you're straight-up inventing a new reality. This month's numbers were good and undesirable joblessness is decreasing.

And yes, as I've said before, I consider a lower employment population ratio a SUCCESS as long as it comes from people with the means to not work deciding they want to live their lives without the soul-crushing drudgery of a job.

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Response to mathematic (Reply #12)

Fri May 4, 2012, 11:10 AM

16. You are quite..

... alone in your interpretation but you are welcome to it.

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Response to mathematic (Reply #6)

Fri May 4, 2012, 02:15 PM

20. It's not that they don't "want" to work.

They have given up because they have been looking for a very long time without much success. There's a BIG difference between not wanting to work and giving up all hope of finding a job.

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Response to mathematic (Reply #6)

Fri May 4, 2012, 06:50 PM

22. Woohoo - Fewer people want jobs that don't exist - we're on a roll


Right there in Table A-http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

3.5 million jobs for 18 1/2 million people, a goodly number of which people can't qualify for, or can't sell their homes to move to. 'Course, there's 6 million in some stage of foreclosure, so perhaps they will be free to look those up one of these days.

Even if you take out the seniors, a third of whom are destitute without Social Security, and the kids who might be in school, we still have over 50 million who just said fuck it.

The slope on that line looks like an inverted ski slope since 2009.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #22)

Fri May 4, 2012, 08:13 PM

23. I'm glad we're moving past the "more and more people are jobless and want to work" fiction

Though I must say your interjection and analysis of the job turnover data (february's numbers, btw) has me baffled.

Though this thread is aging, I figure I'll add this in for posterity.

The 3.5 million job openings are a point in time measurement. That's how many reported job openings there are on the last day of the month. Considering 4.4 million people were hired in the same month, that indicates there's quite a lot of day-to-day change of the actual jobs listed.

Of the 18.9 million people that say they want work, about 14.5 million are available to work and have looked for a job in the last year. I think being available to work and looking for a job at any time in the past year are a bare minimum to distinguish people that might actually one day have a job. Even in boom times if you're not available to work and you haven't looked for a job in over a year then you ain't getting a job.

I'm not sure why you think these numbers support your case for things not improving (your sarcastic "we're on a roll" implies that you do not think we're on a roll, that is, that things are not improving). It's not like everybody looking for work can find a job instantly. That's just not how human activity works. People are finding jobs. In fact, millions of people are finding jobs every month. Mean and median duration of unemployment has been declining all year.

Finally, you say a lot of other random things that make me think I walked into the middle of a conversation but I do want to point out that an inverted ski slope is still a ski slope. Draw one and flip it upside down if you don't believe me!

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Response to mathematic (Reply #23)

Sat May 5, 2012, 03:55 PM

27. Not we. There are over 50 million people who would move back into the workforce tomorrow

if there were jobs, competing for 3.5 million jobs.

Add that.

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Response to jschurchin (Reply #2)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:52 AM

11. +1

Lowest participation rate in the labor force in 30 years is nothing to smile about.

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Response to Psephos (Reply #11)

Fri May 4, 2012, 10:24 AM

13. When your bubble population generation is now hitting their mid 60s

Why would lower participation not be expected as a pure accident of demographics?

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Response to dmallind (Reply #13)

Fri May 4, 2012, 06:36 PM

21. That only accounts for about 33 million of the 86 million invisible unemployed


And it doesn't account for the roughly 1/3 of those who hit 65 with no income other than Social Security - and even senior discounts don't get rid of the need for money to live on. So that leaves about 50 million or so who need work - on top of the 18 million who still see some hope.

The 86 Million Invisible Unemployed

and, btw, there is nothing accidental about the fraud the banks and government perpetrated to bring on this crisis, a primary cause of the current lack of spending and growth. Dr. Bill Black details it fairly well in his papers and books, written after they sent many of the S&L fraudsters to prison.

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Response to jschurchin (Reply #2)

Fri May 4, 2012, 11:15 AM

17. Obama 2012.1

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:01 AM

3. The last two months numbers were revised upwards. 'Morning Joe' did not mention that, of course.

However, the last two months were revised upwards: “The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from +240,000 to +259,000, and the change for March was revised from 120,000 to +154,000.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line

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Response to flpoljunkie (Reply #3)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:10 AM

4. Thanks for that stat!

If the upward revisions hold when it comes reporting this month's actuals in next month's report, then that is definitely good news.

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Response to flpoljunkie (Reply #3)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:35 AM

10. No! Hiring figures are ALWAYS revised down. I read it on DU....

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:24 AM

5. I guess it's better than going the other direction. nt

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:29 AM

7. Easy to identify DU's fatalists.

And some of them are the epitome of fatalism.

Julie

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:33 AM

9. The only joke about the Gallup report is people who misinterpreted it

It is a survey on how many job openings are being created, not on how many people have already been added to payroll. It is forward not backward looking and not intended to measure the same thing or in any way correspond to ADP or BLS results.

Oh and it surveys employers, not economists.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 10:42 AM

14. GOPers have worked hard

to create a sluggish economy - voting "No" on basically ALL legislation to improve the economy - so they could campaign on a "bad economy."
GOPers are economic terrorists - simply for political gain!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 10:45 AM

15. Our returning Iraq & Afghanistan veterans

would love to BUILD AMERICA for a change - but Republicans say NOOOooooo - rebuilding dilapidated roads and bridges in America would create PRIVATE jobs and boost the economy and we NEED a bad economy to have something to campaign on.
Republicans are simply traitors to America - during the WORST recession and financial crisis since the Great Depression!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 01:29 PM

18. Not That Good

But March was revised from 120,000 to 154,000. These adjustments tend to be in the same direction as jobs. When the economy loses jobs the adjustments increase the jobs lost and when the economy adds jobs, as is currently happening, the adjustments increase the jobs added.

But these kind of weaker numbers are to be expected with high gas prices taking from demand for other goods and services that could drive businesses to hire additional workers and this trend could continue. Expectations also play a big role with employers and with the payroll tax cut extension looking doubtful for quite a while it could have been a drag.

I'm not sure how to read the productivity numbers. Normally when they are stagnant, like they are in just about everything but manufacturing where they are strong, it indicates employers may be about to shed jobs. A drag on productivity can also occurs when employers fail to modernize and they need to make new investments in plant and equipment. We know that investment has been lagging. Which is it? I don't have the data to venture a guess.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 02:11 PM

19. Discouraging news.

"Unemployment fell to 8.1 percent in April, the lowest since January 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. But the decline was mainly due to 342,000 people leaving the labor force, meaning the BLS had stopped counting them as unemployed. The number of employed people in the nation actually fell by 169,000.

Nonfarm employers added 115,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, according to a survey of businesses that is different than the household survey that generates the unemployment rate. That job growth was lower than the 170,000 or so economists had expected, though the BLS revised upward the number of jobs that were created in February and March, adding about 53,000 additional jobs to payrolls.

About 12.5 million people are still unemployed, and a record 88.4 million people are considered "not in the labor force," according to the BLS. The labor-force participation rate -- the percentage of the work-age population either working or looking for work -- dropped to 63.6 percent, the lowest since December 1981."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/unemployment-rate-april-jobs_n_1477014.html

I work for a Fortune 100 and this past Monday there were lay-offs (second time since 2010).
There's a state of incertitude in the workforce at large. Most people who do have jobs don't feel safe, they know that they can lose them at any minute.


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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 4, 2012, 08:26 PM

24. It's clear that some people in this thread are rooting for failure. So transparent and sad!

They are WORSE than the ReThugs in my book!

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #24)

Fri May 4, 2012, 09:18 PM

25. Is it really rooting for failure. Or is it merely telling the truth?

While the U.S. unemployment rate in April was the lowest it's been in more than three years, the unemployed may simply be falling off the government's radar as they give up looking for work.

Meanwhile, job growth has slowed sharply after a fast start to the year, suggesting another bump in what has been an agonizingly long road to recovery for the job market.

I don't see any way to put a positive spin on this news. Just because we happen to have a Democrat in the White House doesn't mean that we should hide from bad news. Does that mean that Romney could do any better? Of course not, but that's not the point.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/unemployment-rate-april-jobs_n_1477014.html

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #25)

Fri May 4, 2012, 10:50 PM

26. You made a good point. My post was not about EVERYONE! Just the attitudes of some who we all know

have never been big fans of this president, and who are trying to find anything to justify their dislike for him.

That's what I mean. And yes, we have a long way to go. There's no doubt, but just pay attention to the *tone* of some of the posters.

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #26)

Sat May 5, 2012, 10:21 PM

29. Of Course...

the Obama haters don't mention that the Feb and March job numbers were revised upward, and in March's case it was upgarded bif time.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat May 5, 2012, 04:20 PM

28. March saw one of the most massive tornado/storm/hail outbreaks in history.

Always amazed that this gets glossed over in these numbers. The new climate we have is going to impact employment numbers, insurance costs, and doing business, from now on.

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