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Fri Sep 4, 2015, 08:32 AM

Payroll employment rises by 173,000 in August; unemployment rate edges down to 5.1%

Last edited Sat Sep 12, 2015, 01:42 PM - Edit history (14)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll employment rises by 173,000 in August; unemployment rate edges down to 5.1%

Employment Situation Summary USDL-15-1697

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, September 4, 2015

Technical information:
Household data: (202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data: (202) 691-6555 • cesinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact: (202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov


THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- AUGUST 2015

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 173,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. Manufacturing and mining lost jobs.

Household Survey Data

In August, the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons edged down to 8.0 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.0 percentage point and 1.5 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)
....

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks decreased by 393,000 to 2.1 million in August. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) held at 2.2 million in August and accounted for 27.7 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 779,000. (See table A-12.)

In August, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent for the third consecutive month. The employment-population ratio, at 59.4 percent, was about unchanged in August and has shown little movement thus far this year. (See table A-1.)
....

In August, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 329,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
....

Establishment Survey Data
....

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $25.09, following a 6-cent gain in July. Hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.07 in August. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +231,000 to +245,000, and the change for July was revised from +215,000 to +245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 44,000 more than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.

_____________
The Employment Situation for September is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 2, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

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



Immediate thought: gee, that's a lot fewer jobs than had been expected. WSJ: "Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect a gain of 220,000 jobs in August...." From BLS: "Manufacturing and mining lost jobs." On the other hand, "The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +231,000 to +245,000, and the change for July was revised from +215,000 to +245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 44,000 more than previously reported."


[center]Facilities for Sensory Impaired[/center]

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.


[center]Introduction[/center]

Good morning, Freepers and DUers alike. I especially welcome our good friends from across the aisle. You're paying for this information too, so I am absolutely delighted to have you participate in this thread. Please, everyone, put aside your differences long enough to digest the information. After that, you can engage in your usual donnybrook.

If you don't have the time to study the report thoroughly, here is the news in a nutshell:

Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

It is easy to find one paragraph, or one sentence, or one datum in this report that will support the most outlandish of conclusions, from "the sky is falling" to "we'll have blue skies, nothing but blue skies, from now on." Easy, but disingenuous.

Every month, you can find something in the report that will cause you concern. Take the information in context. Consider not just this month’s data, but the trend.

Please take the time to look at progree's not-to-be-missed thread containing his thoughtful analysis, updated monthly. Here is the latest version:

Economy facts with links to official sources, rev 9/4/15.

Thank you so much for that, progree.

Let's begin with a couple of questions. Who is this Bureau of Labor Statistics, and why are they releasing all these numbers every month?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

The BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, and impartiality in both subject matter and presentation. To avoid the appearance of partiality, the dates of major data releases are scheduled more than a year in advance, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.

Note carefully those words: "accuracy," "quality," and "impartiality."

Full disclosure: I do not work for BLS, nor am I friends with anyone over there. I'm just someone who appreciates the work they do. My sole connection with the agency is that I've been in the building to pick up some publications.


[center]Household Survey vs. Establishment Survey[/center]

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.


[center]We Got the Beat.[/center]

August Jobs Report: Everything You Need to Know

7:32 am ET
Sep 4, 2015
Markets



-AP

Welcome to “Jobs Friday,” that ever-so-brief moment when the interests of Wall Street, Washington and Main Street are all aligned on one thing: jobs.

Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has taken on even more significance than usual. That’s because it’ll be the last one officials from the Federal Reserve will get before they meet later this month to debate a potential interest-rate hike. A rate increase, if and when it comes, would be the first for the U.S. since 2006.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect a gain of 220,000 jobs in August and a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.2% from 5.3%.

Here at MoneyBeat HQ, we’re crunching the numbers, tracking the markets and compiling the commentary in real time.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

You forgot to say "Enjoy the show" and "And while you’re here, why don’t you sign up to follow us on Twitter." After a brief foray in the "Politics & Policy" section, this blog has returned to the "Markets" section. I do not know what sort of internal intrigue this indicates.

Before we do anything else, let's give credit to the workers behind the MoneyBeat blog:

The MoneyBeat Team:

Stephen Grocer
Editor

Phillipa Leighton-Jones
European Editor

Erik Holm
Deputy Editor

Maureen Farrell
Reporter, New York

Paul Vigna
Reporter, New York

David Cottle
Reporter, London

[font color="red"]Just added:[/font] Kristen Scholer
Reporter, New York

[font color="red"]Just added:[/font] Giles Turner
Reporter, London

MoneyBeat Columnists

Ronald Barusch
Dealpolitik

Francesco Guerrera
Current Account

Alen Mattich

Jason Zweig
The Intelligent Investor

Michael J. Casey
Horizons

E. S. Browning

There were these comments:

8:21 am

Other Fed officials have weighed in too
by Ben Leubsdorf

Mr. Lacker is just the latest Fed official to weigh in ahead of the upcoming meeting. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley last week said raising rates in September had become “less compelling” amid worries about a slowdown in China and volatility in financial markets.

But Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said market volatility “hasn’t so far changed my basic outlook that the U.S. economy is solid and it could support an increase in interest rates.”

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said a rate increase in September remains a possibility.

8:16 am

Lacker dismisses August jobs report 'blip' - assuming it even happens
by Paul Vigna

Here are some more of the Lacker headlines:

Fed’s Lacker: Further Improvements In The Labor Market Have Materialized

Fed’s Lacker: Unlikely Any ‘One-Month Blip’ In August Jobs Report To ‘Materially Alter’ Labor Market Picture, Monetary Policy Outlook

Fed’s Lacker: ‘Significant Tightening In Labor Markets Has Taken Place Over The Last Year And A Half’

Fed’s Lacker: ‘Labor Market Conditions No Longer Warrant Continuation Of Exceptionally Low Interest Rates’

Fed’s Lacker: ‘Inflation Already Has Returned To Our 2% Objective’ Based On Last Half-Year Of Data

8:14 am

Lacker says case for raising has been met, apparently
by Paul Vigna

The Lacker heds just hite the Tape:

Fed’s Lacker: Case To Raise Rates Strong, But No Final Decision Until Sept. 16-17 Policy Meeting

Fed’s Lacker: FOMC’s Conditions For Raising Interest Rates ‘Appear To Have Been Met’

Fed’s Lacker: ‘I’Ve Been Willing To Wait So Far This Year’ Though Case To Raise Rates ‘True For Some Time’

Fed’s Lacker: Expect FOMC Will ‘Consider Fully Both The Arguments For And Against Further Delay’

Lacker: Fed Has History Of Overreacting To Financial Market Movements Unconnected To Economic Fundamentals

That last one should smart a bit for the bulls. Ouch.


[center]How Do You Define Unemployment?
The Large Print Giveth, and the Fine Print Taketh Away.
[/center]

Long ago, a DUer pointed out 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 is that link:

Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Also, hat tip, Recursion: How the Government Measures Unemployment

[font color="red"]New material: This link might not work for everyone. See progree's tips.[/font] From the July 20, 2015, issue of Barron's:

Refresher Course: Inside the Jobless Numbers

Are we undercounting the unemployment numbers—or overcounting? How the BLS gathers and calculates the numbers, and why it matters.

By Gene Epstein
July 18, 2015

The unemployment rate has never been the object of as much attention from the markets and the media as it is now, sparked by the keen interest taken in its monthly fluctuations by policy makers at the Federal Reserve.

Despite the heightened focus, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about how the rate is calculated. Some people assume the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the rate from the unemployment-insurance rolls. On that basis, they fault the BLS for undercounting the unemployed. But that’s just one myth among many about this cornerstone measure of economic pain and labor-market slack.

To estimate the unemployment rate, the BLS actually relies on the monthly Current Population Survey conducted for it by the Census Bureau. While the data are highly imperfect in their own way, we think the Federal Reserve is right to view the official unemployment rate as the best available information, while also keeping its eye on ancillary measures of “labor underutilization.”

In fact, a close look at BLS methods suggests that, if anything, the official unemployment rate may be overcounting rather than undercounting the unemployed.


[font color="red"]New material:[/font] In August 2015, DUers whatthehey and progree got into a 1995 report from Bregger and Haugen. The .pdf is unfortunately an image and thus challenging as a source of quotes. Trying to find it in a format that does make for easy copying, I was led to this:

Alternative Unemployment Rates: Their Meaning and Their Measure March 12, 2014


[center]Past Performance is Not a Guarantee of Future Results.[/center]

Nonetheless, what is important is not this month's results, but the trend. Let’s look at some earlier numbers:

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in August 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 190,000 Jobs in August

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in July 2015:

Payroll employment rises by 215,000 in July; unemployment rate unchanged at 5.3%

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in July 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 185,000 Jobs in July

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in June 2015:

Payroll employment rises by 223,000 in June; unemployment rate declines to 5.3%

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in June 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 237,000 Jobs in June

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in May 2015:

Payroll employment rises by 280,000 in May; unemployment rate essentially unchanged (5.5%)

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in May 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 201,000 Jobs in May

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in April 2015:

Payroll employment rises by 223,000 in April; jobless rate essentially unchanged (5.4%)

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in April 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 169,000 Jobs in April

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in March 2015:

Payroll employment increases by 126,000 in March; unemployment rate unchanged at 5.5%

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in March 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 189,000 Jobs in March

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in February 2015:

Payroll employment increases in February (+295,000); unemployment rate edges down to 5.5%

ADP® (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in February 2015:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 212,000 Jobs in February


[center]Why Won't You Talk About the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR)?[/center]

Every month at a certain site that will remain unnamed, someone will cite the labor force participation rate as a cause for concern. Let's look at that right now.

[font color="red"]New material:[/font] This July 2014 report from the Council of Economic Advisers addresses that:

THE LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE SINCE 2007: CAUSES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

(Hat tip, Adrahil: Look deeper.)

[font color="red"]Even newer material:[/font] Here's a Power Point (or equivalent) presentation given by Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, before the National Press Club on August 6, 2015. If you go to the next-to-the-last slide, you'll see that the long-term projected trend is down:

"Trends in Labor Force Participation", 8/6/15

(Hat tip, progree: Over the past month, over the past year, and since February 2010)


[center]Nattering Nabobs of Negativism[/center]

[font color="red"]Revised material:[/font] Here’s a grim thought:

Fed economists: America’s missing workers are not coming back

Wonkblog

By Max Ehrenfreund September 12 {2014}

A paper by Federal Reserve staff that will be discussed at the Brookings Institution on Friday {September 12, 2014} possibly hints at the central bank's thinking on interest rates and employment in advance of a consequential Fed meeting next week. The findings support [links:http://online.wsj.com/articles/fed-minutes-rate-hike-debate-heating-up-1408557628|hawks] on the Federal Open Market Committee, who feel that the Fed needs to prepare to raise rates sooner than expected, although the results are still being debated and might not persuade the committee's more dovish members.

The paper discusses the number of people who consider themselves part of the workforce -- including both people who have a job and those who are looking for work. It is a measure of the total manpower available in the U.S. economy. This number, the labor force participation rate, has been decreasing steadily since 2000. Americans who can't find work have been leaving the workforce, as have more and more retirees as the population ages.

Let’s follow that with another grim thought:

Why wage growth disparity tells the story of America's half-formed economic recovery

By Chico Harlan November 21, 2014
@chicoharlan
chico.harlan@washpost.com

....
With unemployment down to 5.8 percent, the country’s half-formed recovery is often described with a convenient shorthand: We have jobs but little wage growth. But stagnancy is just an average, and for many Americans, the years since the financial crisis have pushed them farther from the line, according to a detailed analysis of government labor statistics by The Washington Post.
....

Among the winners in this climate: Older workers, women and those with finance and technology jobs. ... Among the losers: Part-timers, the young, men, and those in the health, retail and food industries.
....

Chico Harlan covers personal economics as part of The Post's financial team.

Dissenters, take note:

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate

David Leonhardt
AUG. 26, 2014

The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report has been the subject of some wacky conspiracy theories. None was wackier than the suggestion from Jack Welch, the former General Electric chief executive, that government statisticians were exaggerating job growth during President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Both Republican and Democratic economists dismissed those charges as silly.

But to call the people who compile the jobs report honest, nonpartisan civil servants is not to say that the jobs report is perfect. The report tries to estimate employment in a big country – and to do so quickly, to give policy makers, business executives and everyone else a sense of how the economy is performing. It’s a tough task.

And it has become tougher, because Americans are less willing to respond to surveys than they used to be.

A new academic paper suggests that the unemployment rate appears to have become less accurate over the last two decades, in part because of this rise in nonresponse. In particular, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people who once would have qualified as officially unemployed and today are considered out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for work.


[center]On the Road Again[/center]

The DOL Newsletter - October 6, 2011

DOL Data: There's an App for That
Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone? Now you can access the latest labor data and news from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment and Training Administration in the palm of your hand. The latest free mobile app displays real-time updates to the unemployment rate, Unemployment Insurance initial claims, the Consumer Price Index, payroll employment, average hourly earnings, the Producer Price Index, the Employment Cost Index, productivity, the U.S. Import Price Index and the U.S. Export Price Index in real time, as they are published each week, month or quarter. News releases providing context for the data can also be accessed through the app and viewed within a mobile browser or as PDF documents.

US Labor Department launches economic and employment statistics app

Smartphone users gain mobile access to latest labor data and news

WASHINGTON — The most up-to-date employment data and economic news releases from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and its Employment and Training Administration now can be viewed using a new mobile application.
....

The new app is currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Android phones. The Labor Department is working to develop versions for BlackBerry and iPad devices. Visit http://m.dol.gov/apps/ to download this and other mobile apps.

Download the Data, Other Mobile Apps


[center]A Few More Things[/center]

Meet FRED, every wonk’s secret weapon

StorylineMeet the wonks

By Todd C. Frankel August 1, 2014

FRED stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data. It serves as an online clearinghouse for a wealth of numbers: unemployment rates, prices of goods, GDP and CPI, things common and obscure. Today, FRED is more than a little bit famous, thanks to the public’s fascination with economic data.

Federal Reserve Economic Data

So how many jobs must be created every month to have an effect on the unemployment rate? There's an app for that:

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Jobs Calculator™

(Note new link for Jobs Calculator™. Hat tip, progree.)

Monthly Employment Reports from BLS

The U.S. Census Bureau has its own releases:

U.S. Census Bureau Latest News

U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators

For people who need a daily fix:

BLS-Labor Statistics Twitter feed

Read tomorrow's news before it happens. The schedule for all economic reports:

MarketWatch Economic Calendar

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Payroll employment rises by 173,000 in August; unemployment rate edges down to 5.1% (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2015 OP
BumRushDaShow Sep 2015 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2015 #2
jtuck004 Sep 2015 #3
stevenleser Sep 2015 #4
whatthehey Sep 2015 #5
Fred Sanders Sep 2015 #7
jtuck004 Sep 2015 #8
progree Sep 2015 #9
jtuck004 Sep 2015 #10
progree Sep 2015 #11
stevenleser Sep 2015 #15
progree Sep 2015 #17
Fred Sanders Sep 2015 #6
CTyankee Sep 2015 #12
davidpdx Sep 2015 #13
SpankMe Sep 2015 #14
progree Sep 2015 #16
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2015 #18
progree Sep 2015 #19

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 08:37 AM

1. K&R

Thanks for posting, and hope you have a happy Labor Day coming up because many of appreciate your labor gathering these stats!

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 08:54 AM

2. Thank you for the thanks.

Last edited Fri Sep 4, 2015, 10:16 AM - Edit history (1)

I made sure not to miss the bus this morning. This is the one day each month that I absolutely have to be at my computer on time.

All I do is cut and paste. Labor? Tarring a roof in July is labor.

The jobs number is not so great this month.

Please enjoy the weekend.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:11 AM

3. The Real State of Unemployment - In 1994 the Clinton...

 


I like knowing when people are trying to train or re-frame my viewpoint.



The Real State of Unemployment
Submitted by Paul Craig Roberts on August 17, 2015 - 5:22am

Do you remember when real reporters existed? Those were the days before the Clinton regime concentrated the media into a few hands and turned the media into a Ministry of Propaganda, a tool of Big Brother. The false reality in which Americans live extends into economic life. This month's employment report was a continuation of a long string of bad news spun into good news. The media repeats two numbers as if they mean something—the monthly payroll jobs gains and the unemployment rate—and ignores the numbers that show the continuing multi-year decline in employment opportunities while the economy is allegedly recovering.

The so-called recovery is based on the U.3 measure of the unemployment rate. This measure does not include any unemployed person who has become discouraged from the inability to find a job and has not looked for a job in four weeks. The U.3 measure of unemployment only includes the still hopeful who think they will find a job.

The government has a second official measure of unemployment, U.6. This measure, seldom reported, includes among the unemployed those who have been discouraged for less than one year. This official measure is double the 5.3% U.3 measure. What does it mean that the unemployment rate is over 10% after six years of alleged economic recovery?

In 1994 the Clinton regime stopped counting long-term discouraged workers as unemployed. Clinton wanted his economy to look better than Reagan’s, so he ceased counting the long-term discouraged workers that were part of Reagan’s unemployment rate. John Williams (shadowstats.com) continues to measure the long-term discouraged with the official methodology of that time, and when these unemployed are included, the US rate of unemployment as of July 2015 is 23%, several times higher than during the recession with which Fed chairman Paul Volcker greeted the Reagan presidency.
...


http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/real-state-unemployment-5816

the wiki article about the '94 changes has some references, detail.





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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:18 AM

4. Paul Craig Roberts? LMAO

 

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:21 AM

5. For people who prefer facts....

http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1995/10/art3full.pdf

What direction is the U6 rate going in again?

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Response to whatthehey (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:29 AM

7. Meaning...we can exclude all your further posts as the usual Gloom and Doom bucket brigade on duty?

Economists compare oranges to oranges...and the historical UI rate is just that...historical and consistently measured...it IS the best indication of economic health.

5.1%!! Iran deal! Obama is beyond awesome this week....am I right?

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Response to whatthehey (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:43 AM

8. Facts are good, especially when one can limit them to those that serve their point of view. But

 

there are lots and lots of "facts" out there, as we are becoming more aware again these days.

Thank you for that, perhaps more later.

http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/lance-roberts/unemployment-u3-u6

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:52 AM

9. I'm sorry, that's all hogwash, but that's to be expected from Paul Craig Roberts

Last edited Sat Sep 5, 2015, 11:59 PM - Edit history (1)

# Myth: In 1994, during the Clinton administration, they stopped counting the long-term unemployed, or the "long term discouraged worker". If we calculated the unemployment rate now the way we did before 1994, the unemployment rate would be double, triple (or whatever. One claimed that the unemployment rate in January 2015 calculated by the old method would be 23% instead of the officially reported 5.7%). This official government document describes the changes made during the Clinton administration: http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1995/10/art3full.pdf

# Facts: First, the changes described in the above document actually increased the official unemployment rate (today's U-3) by about 0.2 percentage points (compared to the old official unemployment rate, then called U-5).

The big changes were in the more lenient alternative definitions of unemployment. The one that is most popular in the media both in the old days and the new days is the most lenient of the alternative ones -- U-7 in the old survey, and U-6 in the new one. (The other alternative measures barely seem to get any attention outside of academia).

Per that document, the definition change of discouraged workers cut the number of officially counted discouraged workers by about 50% in the new U-6 compared to the old U-7, and also decreased the number of part-time workers for economic reasons (part-time workers who want full time work) by about 20%.

I tried to emulate the old U-7 with today's data (I doubled the number of marginal workers and increased the part-time for economic reasons by 20%) and found it to be at most 13.4% (I made some simplifications that result in a high-side estimate), compared to the current U-6 at 11.3%. So it's not like there is a humongous dramatic difference between the old measure and the new on this most lenient of the measures.

(January's official unemployment rate (U-3) and alternatives (U-1 thru U-6) are in Table A-15 in http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf )

[font color = red]On Edit: [/font] The "today's data" are from the January 2015 jobs report, when all this was written. I'll work on an update.

( Definitions of alternative meausres of unemployment: http://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm )

Anyway, its worth emphasizing again that the official unemployment rate (now U-3) was barely altered, actually slightly increased, compared to the old U-5 official definition. And that the changes did not all that dramatically reduce U-6 compared to its old survey U-7 counterpart.

Even counting everyone who says they want a job, period (including part-time workers who want full-time work), the January unemployment rate is 13.5%, based on Paul-Solman's U-7 number (no relationship to the BLS's pre-1994 U-7 number), http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/higher-unemployment-rate-may-good-news-economy/

[font color = red]On Edit: [/font] The above 13.5% number is based on the January 2015 jobs report. In August 2015 it is 12.5% http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/will-fed-react-augusts-jobs-report/ . The BLS's U-6 number is 10.3%, or 2.2 percentage points less than Solman's "counting everyone who says they want a job, including part-timers who want full-time work" number. Anyone saying the "real unemployment rate" is 23% is clearly full of hooey.


More detail about the 1994 Clinton era changes: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141009906#post67

[font color = red]On Edit: changed above from 1995 to 1994. On Edit 9/5 1158p ET: Updated Paul Solman's U-7 number (12.5%)[/font]

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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:58 AM

10. Is that '95? Doesn't address 93-94 at all, so maybe the hog is still dirty. But the link

 

is there, you can argue with the author. You seem to have the same credibility problem he has.

bye.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 10:07 AM

11. Yes, it addresses 1993-1994. And before. Its a long tedious read, I suggest you read it.

http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1995/10/art3full.pdf

The "1995" was from some baloney someone was trying to feed me. Actually 1995 is the date of the above article. The changes were made in 1994, according to the above article.

[font color = red]9/9/15 Edited to Add:[/font]

"The BLS modified the definitions of its alternative unemployment rate measures several times between 1978 and 1994. Bregger and Haugen (1995) ((the art3full.pdf link above)) provided a comprehensive summary of these modifications. Since the 1994 redesign, the BLS has used its alternative unemployment rate measures without any additional changes."

Source: Alternative Unemployment Rates: Their Meaning and Their Measure March 12, 2014 https://www.philadelphiafed.org/-/media/research-and-data/regional-economy/releases/regional-economic-analysis/aur2014march.pdf?la=en


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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 11:29 AM

15. Wish I could rec your response. In general everything from PCR is nonsense.

 

Excellent post.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:54 PM

17. Thanks. That BLS article on the 1994 changes is a bear to read

http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1995/10/art3full.pdf

Some people throw out this link as supposedly documenting that the BLS quit counting all the long-term unemployed etc. etc., and hoping nobody would actually read it and find out that's not true. (In fairness those who haven't looked for work anytime in the past year -- but say they want a job -- were thrown out of what is today's U-6.).

Took hours and hours to digest. It didn't help either that the above is a graphic image of the paper, so one can't copy and paste excerpts from it (or at least this dummy can't. This dummy did a LOT of typing). Nor even do word and phrase searches on it.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:26 AM

6. Great news...ignore the doom and gloomers, they will forever be that! Media, you on this!

Nothing, bar nothing, is better for an incumbent party in the White House than a healthy economy.

Do not join the pathetic sailings of the RW perpetual End Times machine....the economic news is as good as it gets.....ever....and that is the fact the graphs tell the truth of!

7 Year Low!!! Obama did it..he saved the economy from the Bush and new-cons out to destroy it so a Strongman can rescue the nation.....how is that working out for ya?

The strongest anti-dope to creeping fascism is a good economy....not enough angry folks to stir up and demand to rescue them.....Politics 101.

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Response to Fred Sanders (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 10:10 AM

12. Joe and Mika were going to cover it at 8:30 this morning but I had decamped and gone

online to read DU. I figured the news was pretty good. Wonder how Joe took it...he's one of the doom and gloomers...

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 10:23 AM

13. K & R

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 10:32 AM

14. Lower unemployment? Once again, I blame Obama. n/t

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Sep 4, 2015, 03:36 PM

16. Over the past month, over the past year, and since February 2010

9/4/15 - Pretty good but mixed jobs report this month 173,000 net new payroll employment in August. June and July were revised up by a combined 44,000. So we have 217,000 more payroll employees than we did in last month's report (173 + 44 = 217).

Over the past 3 months, employment gains have averaged 221,000 per month. Over the past year, payroll employment has increased by 2,919,000 (an average of 243,000/month). And since the jobs recovery began in March 2010, payroll employment increased by 12,639,000.

The numbers in the below paragraphs come from the Household Survey, which is different from the Establishment Survey that produces the payroll employment number.

(Monthly change figures in the Household Survey are probably best ignored due to volatility caused by statistical noise. That's true in both "good" months and in "bad" months. However, over longer periods of time like a year or more, the monthly zigs and zags will have somewhat averaged out and a more statistically valid trend will emerge.

In particular, year-over-year (12 months) figures should be much better statistically because the current month is being compared to the same month last year, e.g. August vs. August of a year before, and therefore there should be much less error in the seasonal adjustment process -- as both will be adjusted by the same seasonal adjustment factor, and so will cancel out in the comparison. )

[font color = brown] ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Table A-1 and other tables can be found at the all-tables full jobs report at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf, or gotten one-at-a-time from the bottom section of http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. For example, Table A-9 alone is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm )
----------------------------------------------------------------------[/font]


Many Household Survey numbers were good or improved in August

The official unemployment rate (U-3) fell by 0.2% to 5.1%. (but see the "not-so-good or bad" section below where the labor force dropped 41,000 and the labor force participation rate remained flat at 62.6%)

BLS's broadest measure of unemployment -- U-6 -- decreased by 0.1% to 10.3%. It includes in its version of the "labor force" everyone who has looked for a job in the last 12 months (even if just once). And it includes part-timers wanting full-time work. So this is just plain good news. (Unlike the official unemployment rate -- which counts only those who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks as unemployed).

The Employed increased 196,000 in August. (LNS12000000) (Remember this is the Household Survey, a separate survey from the Establishment survey that produced the +173,000 payroll employment figure. The Household Survey is much more volatile and less reliable than the Establishment survey). Anyhoo, the Employed has increase by 2,585,000 over the last 12 months.

Full-time workers increased by 435,000 in August. This is a volatile data series. You will not see any threads extolling this great increase in full-time workers (nor in July's 536,000 gain). (But we sure saw a lot of posts 2 months ago by our good friends on the right and their DU allies making a big hoo-hah about the 349,000 drop in full-time workers in June).

Over the past 12 months, full-time workers increased by 3,266,000 (272,000/mo average). And since the jobs recovery began, it has increased by 11,246,000.


Some Household Survery numbers were not-so-good or bad in August


The labor force fell a modest 41,000 -- consisting of 196,000 more employed and 237,000 fewer unemployed. (Remember the official definition of unemployed is jobless people who have looked for work over the past 4 weeks; its not all jobless people who want a job). But over the past 12 months the labor force has grown by 1,047,000. (LNS11000000) .

The labor force participation rate remain unchanged at 62.6%, its lowest level since the mid-1970's. (The last official explanation I've seen is that half the drop in this rate from 2000 is due to boomer retirements, 1/4 of the drop is due to the still poor economy -- that analysis was written about a year ago -- and 1/4 of the drop is a puzzler).

Here's something brand new (August 6), I haven't looked at it yet: "Trends in Labor Force Participation", 8/6/15

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/20150806_labor_force_participation_retirement_research_consortium.pdf )


Part-time workers who want full-time work increased by 158,000. (This, like all the Household Survey statistics, is very volatile from month to month. Note also in August that full-time workers increased by 435,000. Go figure). Part-time workers who want full-time work has fallen by 740,000 over the past 12 months

===========================================

Some key numbers from the Household Survey (note the Household Survey is different from the Establishment Survey that produces the payroll employment of the first paragraph). See below, and see Table A-1 for the main Household Survey numbers - http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Exception: the payroll employment numbers and the inflation-adjusted weekly earnings come from the Establishment Survey. I don't include the over-the-last-month figure for inflation-adjusted weekly earnings, because the CPI data needed for the inflation adjustment is not available until later in the month; but I do include them for the longer periods (over the last year and since the payroll employment recovery began)

In the below tables, all "%" ones are percentage point changes, *not* percent increases or decreases. FOR EXAMPLE, when you see something like this:

+0.1% Unemployment rate

It means that the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points (this EXAMPLE is from May 2015 when the unemployment rate rose from 5.4% to 5.5%). This is an increase of 0.1 percentage points, *not* a 0.1% increase. The corresponding percent increase is (5.5-5.4)/5.4 X 100% = +1.9%, i.e. a 1.9% increase. So in summary, IN THIS EXAMPLE, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, and also increased 1.9%.


[font color=blue]OVER THE LAST MONTH[/font]:
== ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY ==
+173,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment ( CES0000000001 )
== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY (warning: this survey's monthly change figures are very statistically noisy) ==
-41,000 Labor Force (employed + jobless people who have looked for work sometime in the last 4 weeks)
+196,000 Employed
-237,000 Unemployed (jobless people who have looked for work sometime in the last 4 weeks)
+0.1% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate (it's at 59.4%)
+0.0% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) (still at 62.6%)
-0.2% Unemployment rate (at 5.1%). Is Unemployed (as defined above) / Labor Force [N864.HM].
-0.1% U-6 unemployment rate (to 10.3%) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709
+158,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
-349,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+435,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)

^--Monthly change figures in the Household Survey are probably best ignored due to volatility caused by statistical noise. That's true in both "bad" months and in "good" months

[font color=blue]OVER THE LAST YEAR (last 12 months)[/font]:
==== ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY ====
+2,919,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
+1.79% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 )
......... the weekly earnings percentage is 11 months thru July because no CPI data for August yet
==== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY ========
+1,047,000 Labor Force
+2,585,000 Employed
-1,539,000 Unemployed
+0.4% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate
-0.3% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate)
-1.0% Unemployment rate
-1.7% U-6 unemployment rate (fabulous. it includes anyone that looked for work even once in the past year)
-740,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
-765,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+3,266,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)

The reason there's no data for Aug yet for the Weekly Earnings is because the CPI inflation adjustment number for August is not yet available.

All the "over the last year" numbers are really good numbers except the Labor Force Participation Rate shows a 0.3% decrease. Interesting though that there was a 0.4% percentage point increase in the Employment To Population Ratio. The Population being talked about is the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over, yes, including all elderly people, even centenarians.

Seems to me that there is too much discussion in the media of the Labor Force Participation Rate (the employed plus the jobless people who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks, all divided by the population), and not enough attention to what seemingly matters more -- the Employment to Population Ratio. Why aren't we celebrating the increase in the percentage of the population that is employed (the employment to population ratio)-- a figure that has been slowly moving up since the job market bottom, despite the growing wave of baby boomer retirements?


[font color=blue]SINCE THE PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT RECOVERY BEGAN -- Last 66 months thru August 31, 2015: 8'15 - 2'10[/font]:
(This is the period from when continuous growth of payroll employment began, thru August 31, 2015)
==== ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY ====
+12,639,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
+3.47% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 )
......... the weekly earnings percentage is thru July 2015 because no CPI data for August yet
==== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY ====
+3,371,000 Labor Force
+10,455,000 Employed
-7,084,000 Unemployed
+0.9% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate (woo hoo!)
-2.3% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) (ughh)
-4.7% Unemployment rate
-6.7% U-6 unemployment rate
-2,453,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
-711,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+11,246,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)


[font color=blue]Part-Time Workers Who Want Full Time Jobs, as % of All Employed[/font]
[div style="display:inline; font-size:1.37em; font-family:monospace; white-space:pre;"]Aug'14 May'15 Jul'15 Aug'15

[div style="display:inline; font-size:1.37em; font-family:monospace; white-space:pre;"]4.9% 4.5% 4.2% 4.3%

A graph of part-time and full-time workers (this is through June 2015)

CLARIFICATION: in the above, these are part-time workers and full-time workers, not part-time jobs and full-time jobs.

This excellent post from early July show two perspectives of the trends in part-time workers and full-time workers (not part-time jobs and full-time jobs). Thanks mahatmakanejeeves
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141134306#post12


The links to the data above
# Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001
# INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031
# Labor Force http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11000000
# Employed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12000000
# Unemployed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13000000
# Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000
# LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000
# Unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
# U-6 unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709
# Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12032194
# Part-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12600000
# Full-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12500000

########################################################################
FFI on the most recent jobs report, straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age (household survey) http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Several graphs of the key economic stats -- http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps_charts.pdf

The whole enchilada -- including all 16 "A" tables (the household survey) and all 9 "B" tables (the establishment survey) http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

[font color = brown] ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Table A-1 and other tables can be found at the all-tables full jobs report at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf, or gotten one-at-a-time from the bottom section of http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm . For example, Table A-9 alone is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm )
----------------------------------------------------------------------[/font]

BLS Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jec.nr0.htm

The Council of Economic Advisors' Take on the Jobs Report
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/08/07/employment-situation-july
...^--Rats!. as of 9/4 2pm ET the above is the latest (1 month old)
(find this at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea and look for the last "The Employment Situation in" post)

Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner's Corner: http://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/ Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/BLS_gov

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Sep 5, 2015, 04:32 PM

18. Here you go: a whole bunch of charts:

Last edited Tue Sep 8, 2015, 09:17 AM - Edit history (2)

I forgot to post these yesterday. My "employer" expected me to perform "work."

Linked from the BLS twitter feed: Charting the labor market: Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) September 4, 2015

Another link from the BLS twitter feed: Current Employment Statistics Highlights August 2015

August Jobs Report: The Numbers

This is the article from The Wall Street Journal. that has charts that can be cut and pasted. I'll pick a few at random.

The August Jobs Report in 10 Charts

9:48 am ET
Sep 4, 2015
economics

By Jeffrey Sparshott
Jeffrey.Sparshott@wsj.com
@jeffsparshott

The U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, a bit of a slowdown from prior months but still a sign of steady expansion. Friday’s report from the Labor Department offered a few changes from the prior month on a range of measures, including the unemployment rate falling to 5.1% and an 8 cent rise in average hourly earnings.

The economy has added around 2.9 million jobs over the past 12 months. That’s down slightly from earlier this year, when the 12-month pace surpassed three million, but it is still well ahead of the 2.5 million jobs added for the year ended July 2014.

....
The economy is very different for college graduates, who face only a 2.5% unemployment rate, compared with 5.5% for those who have no education beyond high school and 7.7% for those who did not complete high school.



....
Jobless spells are lasting a little longer in August than through most of the spring and summer.



....
And the share of the unemployed who have been without work for more than half a year rose last month. Today’s share of the long-term jobless is higher than any of the previous three recessions.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 5, 2015, 07:12 PM

19. Today’s share of the long-term jobless is higher than in any of the 3 previous recessions

And the share of the unemployed who have been without work for more than half a year rose last month. Today’s share of the long-term jobless is higher than any of the previous three recessions. -- Jeffrey Sparshott, Wall Street Journal (from post #18 just above)


Yes, very interesting. I usually find myself arguing with those that diss the "Obummer Economy" (well they don't dare put it exactly that way on DU, but in essence that's their message). But the above excerpt, illustrated by the graph that follows it, is probably the best indicator that the economy still kind-of sucks. (Though much improved since the worst days).

One can argue that the multi-decade low labor force participation rate is because of vast waves of aging boomers, yada, but its hard to dismiss the long-term unemployed as defined by the BLS -- these are people who have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer, but who say they want a job AND who have looked for work in the past 4 weeks.

I see article after article saying that a 5.1% unemployment rate (where we are in August - speaking of the official unemployment rate) is what the Fed supposedly calls full employment, and some pundits say that too. But Fed chair Janet Yellen, among others, has always said the official unemployment rate this time around is not providing a good measure of labor market conditions, and that there is a lot more slack in the labor market than one usually has with a 5.1% unemployment rate. I agree.

I think the long-term unemployed share statistic / graph is the best indicator I've seen that all is not well. Along with anemic real (inflation-adjusted) wage growth 6+ years into a recovery. And that the Fed is still holding short-term interest rates at essentially zero.

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