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Economic Statistics with links to official sources, rev 12/2/16

[font color = magenta]This EF-0 page was updated December 2, 2016. All the other pages were updated October 8, 2016 (except EF-10).

The next update of this EF-0 page is Friday January 6(if not, check on Saturday). (Page EF-0 was updated December 2 and is always updated monthly. Page EF-0 includes a summary of the jobs report that came out on December 2. The summary follows the table of contents below.)

The next update of all the other pages (i.e. EF-1, EF-2, ... , EF-10) is February 3, 2017. This is an especially important update, because it closes the book on the Obama administration. (The administration changes hands on January 20 at noon, and the February 3 jobs report covers January. I think it is fair to assign all of January to Obama given that he was in office for 20 days of the month, and no administration can impact the economy in its first 10 1/2 days, though Trump might scare the bee-jez-us out of everyone, who knows).

Almost all sections have where to find the official numbers, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Treasury.gov, or widely trusted non-partisan sources.

There are some amazingly distorted presentations of what their numbers are and what they mean that you find on the web, and yes, DU too. Please see the "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there" section in the bottom half of this page for examples of what I mean by distorted presentations of BLS statistics.

I don't claim that the BLS and other government sources are inerrant, or even unbiased, e.g. whoever came up with some of the definitions like the official (U-3) unemployment rate being a count of jobless people who looked for work sometime in the past 4 weeks. And it is obvious that most of the Household Survey numbers have a lot of statistical error, considering how they wildly bounce around from month to month.

I'm just saying all of this is a presentation of the actual BLS numbers (for the most part) with links to the statistics being discussed, so that you can check it out for yourself.

{#} EF-1. Job Loss and Creation - Payroll Employment. At the bottom all post-WWII presidents with completed terms are compared

{#} EF-2. Unemployment Rate, Labor Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Insurance Claims

{#} EF-3. Recessions and Expansions - Official (NBER.org). Also GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

{#} EF-4. U.S. Stock Market as measured by the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Avg

{#} EF-5. National Debt. Budget Deficits and Surpluses

{#} EF-6. U.S. Dollar Index (DXY). Oil Prices

{#} EF-7. In Progress (mostly Dem presidencies v. Repub presidencies. Also Inequality)

{#} EF-8. In Progress - Some canned excerpts to use in the message board wars

{#} EF-9. Incomes and Inequality and Consumer Prices and Poverty (in progress)

{#) EF-10. Definitions, Links (In Progress)

I use facts from these in mixed message boards and in comments on news articles such as at news.yahoo.com. Be aware that I have included a few statistics that are not so pleasant as far as Obama's record, ones that anyone debating with others should be aware of because occasionally you will see these points or they will come back at you with these statistics (forewarned is forearmed).

Here's another major major economy resource: CabCurious' "Factual talking points on the economy" - lots of very interesting graphs - take a "scroll" through them. But it hasn't been updated since fall of 2012. http://www.democraticunderground.com/125170175


Here are some summary tables of the key November 2016 jobs reports statistics from the Establishment Survey and the Household Survey released on December 2, 2016.

A narrative "Detailed Discussion" section follows these tables.

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 March 2016 when the unemployment rate rose from 4.9% to 5.0%).

[div class="excerpt" style="background-color:#CEF6FE;"]Before each item, (F) indicates very bad, (D) indicates bad, (C) indicates neutral, (B) indicates good, (A) indicates very good

[font color=blue]OVER THE LAST MONTH[/font]:
(A ) +178,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment ( CES0000000001 )
` ` ` With the 2,000 downard revisions of the previous 2 months
` ` ` combined, it is +176,000 higher than in the previous job report

== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY (warning: this survey's monthly change figures are very statistically noisy) ==
(F ) -226,000 Labor Force (employed + jobless people who have looked for work sometime in the last 4 weeks)
` ` ` That's bad. And in October it went down by 195,000. But in September it went up by 444,000.
` ` ` (As always, household survey statistics are wildly volatile from month to month).
` ` ` Over the past year, the Labor Force has increased by 2.1 million, thanks to the 2.6 million
` ` ` increase in the Employed. I'd be more upset this month about the 226,000 drop in the Labor
` ` ` Force, were it not for the 36,000 drop in the Not In Labor Force, Wants Job Now statistic
` ` ` I am also heartened by the improvement in the broader measures of unemployment -- U6 and U7
` ` ` (below)

(A ) +160,000 Employed. For once it rougly matches the nonfarm payroll employment number above
` ` ` Note that it is up 471,000 in the past 3 months, and 2.6 million in the past 12 months

(A ) -387,000 Unemployed (jobless people who have looked for work sometime in the last 4 weeks)
` ` ` About half found jobs, and about half dropped out of the labor force. The latter is bad, but
` ` ` see below

(C ) -0.0% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate (it's at 59.7%)
` ` ` However, it's up 0.3% over the past 12 months, despite boomer retirements.

(D ) -0.1% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) (it's at 62.7%)
` ` ` It is only 0.3% above a multi-decade low of 62.4% reached in September 2015.
` ` ` OTOH, that 0.3% increase in this tough statistic in 14 months is really nice

(A ) -0.3% Unemployment rate (it's at 4.7%). Is Unemployed (as defined above) / Labor Force [N864.HM].
` ` ` About half found jobs, and about half dropped out of the labor force. The latter is bad, but
` ` ` see below where there was a 36,000 drop in the Not In Labor Force, Wants Job Now statistic
` ` ` So the drop in the labor force THIS MONTH is not beccause of increase in despairing job-needy
` ` ` and job-wanting people giving up on the job search. Also note below the big improvements
` ` ` in the broader U-6 and U-7 figures.

(A ) -0.2% U-6 unemployment rate (it's at 9.3%) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709
` ` ` This drop is nice! And on top of a 0.2% decline in October. U-6 is the BLS's broadest
` ` ` measure of unemployment -- it includes all who sought work sometime, even just once, in the
` ` ` past 12 months. And it includes part-timers who say they want full time work. It is
` ` ` down 0.6% in the past 12 months

(A+) -0.4% "U-7" unemployment rate: Counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job,
` ` ` no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want
` ` ` full time work. U-7 is the broadest meaure of unemployment imaginable. (U-7 is now
` ` ` at 11.5%). WOW, a 0.4% drop in this statistic.

(A ) -36,000 Not in Labor Force, Wants Job LNS15026639. Interesing given the 226,000
` ` ` drop in the Labor Force.

(A ) -220,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)

(C ) +118,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9). I gave this a "neutral" (C ) rating because
` ` ` I'm undecided whether this is good or bad. The key statistic on part-time workers
` ` ` is the one above -- part-time workers who want full-time work, and this month that
` ` ` went down 220,000, which is double plus good fantastic

(F ) +9,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9), awful. The righties and their DU allies will
` ` ` undoubtedly make an enormous hoo-hah out of this -- 178,000 net new payroll jobs
` ` ` but only 9,000 were full-time workers. And they will try to make it sound like
` ` ` this is the story of the Obama administration (i.e. that
` ` ` most new jobs are part-time). But that's not true.
` ` ` In the last 12 months, full-time workers increased by an average of 175,000/month
` ` ` Since the job market bottom in February 2010, there has been a 218,000 increase
` ` ` in part-time workers and a 13,424,000 increase in full-time workers

^--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

The "U-7" unemployment rate is a creation of Paul Solman of the PBS Newshour, not a BLS number. The above number is one I calculated, because he doesn't update his number every month, and when he does, it is about a day after the jobs report comes out. My number has consistently matched his within 0.1 percentage points (and mine has always been a bit higher). The "U-7" unemployment rate counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job, no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want full time work

For more background on the U-7 number, see: "If you count everyone who says they want a job, even if they have made no effort to find one in many years" at http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post2

[font color = magenta]See "Detailed Discussion" section below for a narrative discussion of the above statistics over the past month, the past year, and since the jobs recovery began in March 2010[/font]

[font color=blue]OVER THE LAST YEAR (last 12 months)[/font]:
+2,253,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
+0.65% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 )
......... the weekly earnings percentage is 11 months thru October because no CPI data for November yet
==== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY ========
+2,119,000 Labor Force = Employed + jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks
+2,641,000 Employed
-524,000 Unemployed (jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks)
+0.3% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate
+0.2% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate)
-0.4% Unemployment rate
-0.6% U-6 unemployment rate (fabulous. it includes anyone that looked for work even once in the past year)
-0.6% "U-7" unemployment rate: Counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job,
` ` ` no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want
` ` ` full time work
+239,000 Not in Labor Force, Wants Job LNS15026639
-416,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
+513,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+2,103,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)

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

Most of the "over the last year" numbers are really good numbers. Exceptions:

The Labor Force Participation Rate, although ticking up a notch this past 12 months (good direction, though tiny) is at 62.7%, which is only 0.3 percentage points above a multi-decade low. (Though I'm happy that this tough statistic has improved by 0.3 percentage points in just 14 months).

Interesting though that there was a 0.3 percentage point increase in the Employment To Population Ratio in the past 12 months, and a 1.5 percentage point increase from its multi-decade low point of 58.2% in November 2010. So we have the labor force participation rate increasing by only 0.3% from its multi-decade low, while the employment to population ratio has a much more substantial 1.5% increase from its multi-decade low. 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 -- aka the Labor Force to Population Ratio -- (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?

(As always, the population being talked about is the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over, including the elderly, even centenarians).

Another "bad" number is the 239,000 increase in "not in labor force, wants job" statistic. These are jobless people who have not looked for work in the past 4 weeks, thus they are classified as "not in the labor force". And additionally they tell the survey-taker that they want a job (even if they haven't looked for one in years). Given the other good employment statistics over the past year (particularly the "U-7" unemployment rate -- see above), I'm guessing that this increase is largely because of an increase in the number of people who are considering working who previously just thought it was too far-fetched to even aspire to getting a job.

[font color=blue]SINCE THE PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT RECOVERY BEGAN -- Last 81 months thru November 30, 2016: 11'16 - 2'10[/font]:
(This is the period from when continuous growth of payroll employment began, thru November 30, 2016)
+15,479,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
+5.29% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 )
......... the weekly earnings percentage is thru October 2016 because no CPI data for November yet
+5,792,000 Labor Force
+13,504,000 Employed
-7,713,000 Unemployed (jobless people who have looked for work in the past 4 weeks)
+1.2% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate (woo hoo!)
-2.2% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) (ughh)
-5.2% Unemployment rate
-7.7% U-6 unemployment rate
-7.4% "U-7" unemployment rate: Counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job,
` ` ` no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want
` ` ` full time work
-222,000 Not in Labor Force, Wants Job LNS15026639
-3,267,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
+218,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+13,424,000 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;"]Nov'15 Aug'16 Oct'16 Nov'16

[div style="display:inline; font-size:1.37em; font-family:monospace; white-space:pre;"] 4.1% 4.0% 3.9% 3.7%
[closes the light blue highlight tag begun b4 the 1st table]

Umm, but aren't most of the new jobs part-time? (umm, no)

A graph of part-time and full-time workers (from June 2009 through November 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 2015 show two perspectives of the trends in part-time workers and full-time workers (not part-time jobs and full-time jobs). Thanks mahatmakanejeeves

What kind of Wages?

INFLATION-ADJUSTED Average Weekly Earnings Of Production And Nonsupervisory Employees, Total Private, 1982-84 Dollars

Again, the above are INFLATION-ADJUSTED earnings

Here is the nominal, i.e. not-inflation-adjusted version of the above:
Weekly: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000030
Hourly: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000008

[div class="excerpt" style="background-color:#CEF6FE;"]See "Detailed Discussion" section below for a narrative discussion of the above statistics over the past month, the past year, and since the jobs recovery began in March 2010

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
# NILF-WJ -- Not in Labor Force, Wants Job http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15026639
# 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 )

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/2016/12/02/employment-situation-november (find this at
https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/blog or http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea
and look for the last "The Employment Situation in" post). Or Google what's in between the {}'s: {site:whitehouse.gov employment situation in November}

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

mahatmakanejeeves thread - very comprehensive OP each month when the jobs report comes out, as well as additional material he posts to the thread in the following hours. Watch the OP for edits too. And the thread for more material http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141629568

[div class="excerpt" style="background-color: #ffa !important;"][font size=4 color=blue]Detailed Discussion[/font]

12/2/16 -

I'm going to make the narrative short this month. Most of what's worth noting is in the commentary that is with the tables above.

The 178,000 increase in payroll jobs is quite good.

Very nice was the big 0.3 percentage point drop in the official unemployment rate, to 4.6%.

But disheartening was that about half the improvement in the unemployment rate was due to 226,000 fewer people in the labor force. (Though this is a volatile statistic from month to month. For the past year, the labor force has increased by 2.1 million).

The "OVER THE LAST MONTH" tables above also have the good numbers for the month -- besides the payroll jobs numbers and the 0.3% drop in the official unemployment rate -- another good number was the 0.2 percentage point drop in the broadest BLS measure of the unemployment rate -- U-6. And an especially good number was the even larger 0.4% drop in Solman's "U-7" unemployment rate (which counts EVERYONE who SAYS they want a job, no matter how long its been since they looked for work).

See also the Council of Economic Advisors' Take on the Jobs Report at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/12/02/employment-situation-november , particularly the positive remarks on how new state minimum wage increases have contributed to wage increases with no discernible impact on employment. Also, the number of unemployed per job opening has reached about the same level as it was in the peak of the 2000s job expansion.


[font color = blue]Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there, such as right-wingers slamming any gains the economy is making under Obama (that said, I don't deny the economy is wobbling s-l-o-w-l-y forward -- thanks in large part to Republican obstructionism in Congress, and Republican policies in the many states they control). Such tricks of the polemicists include: [/font]

(1). Highlighting adverse one-month or other short-term changes in some highly volatile component, and making it seem like it's the story of the whole Obama administration's job record such as, for example, the monthly changes in the civilian labor force, age 16+, seasonally adjusted. Here for example are the monthly changes for 2012 in thousands: (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11000000?output_view=net_1mth ):
[font face = "courier new"]
Jan Feb Mar. Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct. Nov Dec
401 498 -15 -246 381 188 -164 -301 349 489 -228 206 (labor force, thousands) [/font]

Needless to say, our good friends on the right highlight the drops in the labor force in the months when it drops, and make no mention of the rises when it rises. This is also known as cherry-picking the bad statistic of the month.

As you may know, the righties and the media love to pooh pooh any drop in the unemployment rate when the labor force drops, explaining that the unemployment rate dropped mostly because people gave up looking for work and left the labor force, and so are not counted. But how often have you heard them bring up a rise in the labor force in a month when it rose?

Another example: full-time jobs: [du/10026642259]

Awk! 252,000 full-time jobs were LOST in April! (April 2015, a month where the media was touting the 223,000 gain in payroll employment)

But note this statistic, coming from the Household Survey, is highly volatile from month to month:

Monthly changes in full-time workers (in thousands): http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12500000
[font face = "courier new"]
` ` ` Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014) 410 209 203 396 332 -538 196 310 552 371 -174 427
2015) 777 123 190 -252 (full time workers, thousands) [/font]

One could just as well have said 1,265,000 full-time employees were gained over the last 5 months (253,000/month average). Or 2,314,000 were gained in the last 12 months (193,000/month average). And note that nobody wrote OP's about full-time employment gains when the September report came out (+552,000), or December (+427,000) or January (+777,000)

(2). Cleverly mixing seasonally adjusted data with unadjusted data (without making that clear of course) Or using exclusively seasonally unadjusted data if that paints the picture they want to paint

(2a). Implying that a number is not seasonally adjusted -- for example disparaging a November or December payroll employment report of a good 250,000 increase in payroll employment by saying that's a paltry gain since there should be a lot of Christmas shopping season hiring going on. (Uh, no, like almost all BLS statistics reported in the media, the payroll employment numbers are seasonally adjusted)

Another example - saying a big increase of 0.5% in consumer spending in December is not a big deal, and ought to be way higher since December is after all the big Christmas spending month. (Uh, no, again, the numbers are seasonally adjusted)

(2b). Related -- using NOT seasonally adjusted numbers when that better makes their case, and saying that the unadjusted numbers are "the real numbers" untarnished by bureaucratic "adjustments" and "manipulations"

A great example is comparing not-seasonally-adjusted numbers for December and January, and making an enormous hoo-hah about the decline of the job count in January (when of course much of the extra Christmas season help is laid off, but the polemicists don't mention that explanation).

The below compares the monthly changes of the NOT-seasonally adjusted numbers ( http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CEU0000000001 ) to the seasonally adjusted numbers ( http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001 ) for the 19 months from January 2014 through July 2015:

Payroll Jobs, Thousands:
[font face = "courier new"]the NOT-seasonally adjusted numbers
` ` ` Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: -2811 741 957 1163 920 594 -1050 391 687 1081 478 6
2015: -2813 848 779 1139 928 474 -1045

the Seasonally adjusted numbers
` ` ` Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: 166 188 225 330 236 286 249 213 250 221 423 329
2015: 201 266 119 187 260 231 215 [/font]

Of course, most people would see through such an obvious stunt like comparing raw job counts in December and January, so a RW polemicist would rarely try this particular stunt. But I've seen it done for July (a fall off after the hiring of June graduates that most people don't think about). Later: someone at DU actually tried to play this trick in January 2016, sigh.

And they certainly do similarly with other data series where seasonal changes are less understood.

(3). Cleverly mixing statistics from the household survey (CPS) and the establishment survey (CES) (without making that clear of course). The CPS survey of households ( http://www.bls.gov/cps/ ) produces the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, the number employed, and innumerable other statistics. The CES ( http://www.bls.gov/ces/ ), a completely separate survey of businesses, produces a number of statistics, most notably the headline payroll employment numbers (widely regarded as a better indicator of job changes than the CPS's Employed number because of the larger sample size among other reasons). Because of statistical noise and volatility, these 2 surveys often come up with seemingly incompatible results. Needless to say, right-wing polemicists mix and match statistics from both surveys to produce nonsense.

(4).Cherry-picking the start and end points of some data series
This is a generalization of item (1.) except that instead of highlighting the latest month of an adverse statistic, they may pick another starting point that is an outlier. For example in October 2013, someone mentioned that the latest U-6 unemployment measure is no better than it was in March 2013, 7 months ealier. True, but March was at a noisy zag low; its clear to see from the graph that there is a downward trend, not a 7-month plateau. U-6: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709

Here are the 2013 values (the 2012 values are all above 14.4% BTW, it was 15.1% in January 2012)
[font face = "courier new"]
Jan Feb. March Apr. May. June July Aug. Sept Oct.
14.4 14.3 13.8 13.9 13.8 14.2 13.9 13.6 13.6 13.7 (2013, U-6 in percent)
. . . . . . ^-the cherry-picked low starting point the RW'er chose[/font]

(The U-6 unemployment rate (sometimes dubbed the underemployment rate) is now (September 2016) 9.7% by the way, unchanged over the last 4 months and down 0.3 percentage points in the last 12 months. It is the broadest measure of unemployment that the BLS produces -- it includes part-time workers wanting full-time positions. It also counts as unemployed any jobless person who wants a job and has looked for work at any time in the past 12 months (whereas the headline U-3 unemployment rate counts those who have looked any time in just the last 4 weeks).

It's like global warming when the righties always pick 1998 -- an anomalously hot year because of a strong El Nino -- as their starting point to argue that there has been very little warming since.

That is why seeing the whole data series is so important, and not just accepting the time period and the statistic that a right-wing polemicist dishes out. However, finding the data series number is often quite a challenge, and something that in my experience involves a large bag of tricks. It is my intent to write more about how to find the data series you need. But for now, if there is one trick to mention, this one is the most helpful: http://data.bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=ln

(5). Comparing the current statistics to 2007's statistics, as if 2007 was a normal economy we should get back to - I see this all the time. Yes, today's economic statistics just about across the board suck compared to 2007's. But keep in mind that 2007 was not a normal economy. It was a very sick bubble economy with a very high fever -- people using their houses as ATMs to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Anybody could get a mortgage, virtually no questions asked. The belief that housing prices never go down, at least not on a national average scale (thus the theory that a geographically diversified bundle of mortgages was always a safe bet).

The same for comparisons to 2000 -- that too was a very sick economy -- astronomical price/earnings ratios in the stock market, day trading and momentum investing. The belief that Alan Greenspan had mastered the "Goldilocks" economy (not too cool, not too warm) and that, now that we understood how to use the Fed's powers to control the economy, we will never have a recession again. That tech companies with huge negative earnings and no business plan were great investments. That we were all going to the moon, and we were all going to the stars (speaking of the economy and the stock market).

Well, I'm extremely very sorry to have to tell you -- we don't want to get back to the very sick high-fever bubble economies of 2000 or 2007. So quit the whining about how things now are so much worse than back then -- no they aren't when you consider the sickness and unsustainability of those economies back then.

(6). Talking about inflation-adjusted numbers as if they were not, e.g. "wages have been flat (or dropped) for the last 20 (or whatever) years while we all know that prices just keep going up" -- leaving off the word "real" or "inflation-adjusted" qualifier on wages (which takes into account rising prices).

Nominal wages, i.e. raw wage numbers unadjusted for inflation have definitely been rising for years and decades, whereas real wages (meaning adjusted for inflation) have indeed been roughly flat. For example:

(nominal, i.e not inflation adjusted) Average Hourly Earnings Of Production And Nonsupervisory Employees, total private, seasonally adjusted: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000008

(real, i.e. inflation adjusted) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000032 -- to get the long view, set the time period's beginning point from the default value a decade ago to 1964 - the earliest one can set it. The pull-down boxes for setting the time period is near the top, where it sets "Change Output Options". Be sure to check the "include graphs" checkbox, and then click the little dark blue "go" button

(7). Using government statistics and trickery (see above techniques) to make some point, and when you call them on the trickery, and give them the correct information, they tell you they don't trust government statistics! In other words, they are fine with government statistics (or studies that are derived from government statistics, which they all are) if they can twist them to fit their viewpoint, otherwise, they don't trust them!

As for postings by DU members, always check the source of the article they posted, for example one perhaps unintentionally posted a bunch of crap from a right-wing polemicist (Peter Morici) http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251259885#post3 (that's post #3 -- interestingly the poster was PPR'd about 4 months later). Note that sometimes the publication might be an OK mainstream source, but you should still check out the author.

[div class="excerpt" style="background-color:#CEF6FE;"]
[font color = blue]SEE ALSO THE "MYTH:" SECTIONS IN THE PAGES BELOW[/font]. For example, the EF-2 page has a lot of myths about the job numbers, such as the myth that they don't count the jobless people that have exhausted their jobless insurance benefits in the unemployment numbers. Just search on the following and include the colon:

[font color = blue]MYTH:[/font]

[font color = blue]END of "Beware the tricks" lecture[/font]

[font color = blue]General notes from previous deleted job summaries - to be reorganized and refiled[/font]

I'm working on the wages things brought up in earlier DU posts -- for now, See: Real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) average weekly earnings, all employees (total private), 1982-1984 dollars, Seas Adj: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000012
And of production and non-supervisory workers: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031

Note on statistical noise: As an example: payroll employment increased by 113,000 in January 2014 in the establishment survey. But according to the household survey, employment that month increased by 638,000. Just goes to show how wild the statistical noise is, and not to get excited one way or another with any one month's particular numbers.

On statistical noise, I found this BLS technical note on sampling error -- http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.tn.htm . Based on what it says, there is a 90% probability that the payroll employment increase is within +/- 90,000 of the stated number. And a 10% chance that it is off by more than 90,000.

And in the Household Survey, there is a 90% chance that the monthly unemployment change is +/- 300,000 of the stated number (note this is 3.3 times the payroll employment's sampling error). Also, that there is a 90% chance that the unemployment rate is about +/- 0.2% of the stated number.

The above only covers sampling error. There are also many other sources of error (search the above link for "non-sampling error"

The individual components that go into these numbers have an even larger sampling error. As explained above, right-wingers love to find the aberrant statistic or two of the month and make it out to be the story of the Obama administration, rather than what it really is -- just one month's number in a very statistically volatile data series.

[font color = blue]Recent topic updates[/font]

4/6/13: There has been a recent decline in the federal workforce. This has brought the total federal workforce to below where it was when Obama took office. So if some rightie is telling you that Obama has been expanding the federal workforce, point them to EF-1 below.

4/6/13: Note much new material has been added on the national debt, such as which percentage is foreign owned, the increase in the national debt / GDP ratio since 2000, the interest on the national debt, and the average maturity of the interest on the marketable portion of the national debt (only 4.5 years in Dec 2011). See EF-5 below.

8/3/13: Added section to EF-5: Deficit Projections - FY 2013 deficit projected to be less than half what Obama inherited

1/11/14 - I've added some discussion of the impact of the boomer retirements on the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in EF-2. Yes, lately, older Americans have a higher LFPR than in the recent past (its been on a general rising trend since 1985), but still their LFPR is much lower than that of the age 16+ population overall. Since the elderly share of the 16+ population is rapidly rising, this exerts downward pressure on the overall 16+ population LFPR. The net effect is that the latter effect (the very-low-LFPR elderly as rising share of the 16+ population) overwhelms the effect of the rising elderly LFPR, with the net result that the overall LFPR goes down.

10/4/14 - The Council of Economic Advisers' study of the decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate.

11/8/14 - Added a new page: EF-9. Incomes and Inequality (in progress)

6/3/16 - EF-2 --added: The Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI). Added Multiple Jobholders section
. . . . EF-3 -- added: Doug Short at Advisor Perspective produces several interesting GDP graphs

7/8/16 - EF-9 -- added Average Household Size and made some remarks under median household income pointing to it and its significance.
. . . . EF-10 -- added Net Worth of Households and Nonprofit Organizations (Federal Reserve survey)

8/6/16 - EF-5 -- added: CBO projects debt held by the public to be 141% of GDP by 2046 (vs. 75% now), for interest payments on the national debt to soar from 1.4% of GDP to 5.8% of GDP, For annual deficits to jump from 2.9% of GDP to 8.0% of GDP) - 7/12/16 article
. . . added: White House projects a fiscal year 2016 deficit of $600 billion, a $161 Billion increase over FY 2015's 439 B$ deficit, AP, 7/15/16)

9/2/16 - EF-5 - Added "National debt burden could increase by almost $10 trillion in the coming decade" - CBO 3/24/2016.

9/2/16 - EF-9 - Added "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014" released 9/16/15.

Romney justifies virtually no job growth at his 3 1/2 year point in Mass.

Probably your crazy uncle is telling you that he's tired of hearing "Oblamer" blame Bush for the poor state of the economy and essentially zero job growth since he took office (since January 31, 2009 thru August 31, 2012, under Obama 261,000 jobs have been lost, although he is in positive territory in private sector jobs).

Your crazy uncle also pooh poohs you when you tell him that in the last 30 months, under Obama 4.6 million private sector jobs and 4.1 million total jobs (actually civilian non-farm payroll jobs), have been created, telling you that you are cherry-picking Obama's best months blah dee blah.

# Payroll Jobs: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001
# Private Sector Payroll Employment: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001

Well, Romney in his June 24, 2006 press conference (nearly 3 1/2 years into his governorship of Massachusetts), blamed the economy he inherited for his woeful job record over his entire term, and touted the 50,000 jobs created since the turnaround. Exactly the sort of argument that the righties are criticizing us for making regarding Obama.

Transcript and press-conference video (1:50): http://www.youtube{DOT}com/watch?v=ArRj-dQXX3Y
(replace the {DOT} with . in the above URL. I don't know why it is fighting with me)

TRANSCRIPT:[font color = blue]"You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And then we turned around and we're coming back and that's progress. And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month. We've turned around and since the turnaround we've added 50,000 jobs. That's progress. And there will be some people who try and say, 'well Governor, net-net, you've only added a few thousand jobs since you've been in.' Yeah but I helped stop, I didn't do it alone, the economy is a big part of that, the private sector's what drives that -- up and down -- But we were in free fall for three years. And the last year that I happened to be here, and then we turned it around, as a state, private sector, government sector, turned it around. And now we're adding jobs. We wanna keep that going, to the extent we can. We're the, you know, we're one part of that equation, but not the whole equation. A lot of it is outside of our control, it's federal, it's international, it's private sector. But I'm very pleased that over the last a 2, 2 and a half, years we've seen pretty consistent job growth. 50,000 new jobs created, some great companies, we just had, last week, Samsonite announced their headquarters moving here. Companies outside Massachusetts moving in to Massachusetts. That kind of commitment, that kind of decision, says something about what they feel about the future of our state."[/font]

Well, then I wondered, is 50,000 jobs so great for a state the size of Massachusetts? Using July 2011 data, Massachusett's share of the USA population is 6.587 Million / 311.6 Million = 2.1139%. (It would have been better to dig up population numbers more around the 2003-2006 time frame but I doubt that the percentage would be more than slightly different). So on a per-capita basis, 50,000 jobs in Massachusetts is equivalent to 50,000 / 2.1139% = 2.366 Million nationwide jobs.

I'm assuming since the press conference was held in June 24, 2006, that the 50,000 jobs is through the end of May 2006 since they wouldn't have end-of-June numbers in yet.

Well, Obama in a similar point of his presidency -- the end of May 2012, had presided over the creation of 3.744 Million jobs.

So on a per-capita basis since their respective job turnaround points, Obama's job creation record is 3.744 / 2.366 = 1.58 X better (58% better) than Romney's.

And since Romney is "very pleased" with his job creation record in Massachusetts since the turnaround, he should be 1.58 times "very pleased" with Obama's record.

(Note that since Obama took office January 20 (2009) and Romney took office January 2 (2003), I could have moved Obama forward by a month to the end of June. If so, Obama's job creation record through the end of June 2012 is 3.819 Million jobs, and his per-capita record is 3.819 / 2.366 = 1.61 X better (61% better). But I'll settle for the end of May figures. )
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