Unemployment rate flirts with 10 percent

unemployed programmer

unemployed programmer

“In 2008 and 2009, we lost 8.36 million jobs,” he said. “We’ve gained back 951,000, which is 11.4 percent of what we lost, so it’s taken us a year to take back 11 percent of what we lost in two years. That’s showing you how much trouble the economy is having in recovering.” — John Husing

Indeed, according to the Atlantic, November’s unemployment report comes as a pretty big disappointment. After one of the strongest months of the year for jobs in October, employers slowed their hiring and increased their firing for some reason last month. To make matters worse, the wide disparity between the two surveys conducted by BLS further clouds the jobs picture. Yet even the better of the two estimates shows anemic job growth, at best. Despite stronger consumer sentiment and relatively brisk spending in October, businesses just aren’t adding enough workers to reduce the unemployment rate, which is again approaching double-digits. source

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What really went from 9.6% to 9.8%? Not real unemployment, but the US Bureau of Labour Statistics’ “U3” category of unemployment, which is defined as being without a job, wanting a job and having looked for one in the past four weeks. Been without a job so long that you’ve given up looking for one? Congratulations, you’ve just lowered the official unemployment stats!

Like the job creation stats (in the US and in Canada) these one-number stats are less than useless in showing the real state of employment, leaving out aspects of job quality that escape simple counting measures.

All jobs aren’t equal, and these skimpy stats hide all kinds of benefits losses, job insecurity, hour reductions and wage cuts. If you want a more informative US jobs picture, look at U6 unemployment which runs around 1.6 times the “standard” U3 rate and includes all the people who are long-term unemployed and underemployed; don’t forget median wages and weekly hours worked. Leave those out and you could claim to create millions of jobs by paying people 1 dollar a head to dig a hole for an hour a week.

Apparently the media’s task is to lessen the impact of the universally glum reality surrounding the latest figures, which essentially means gilding a ‘you know what’ which is something very smelly. A two decimal point increase in the unemployment rate is simply relayed to us as an economy that didn’t hire as many people as the wizards anticipated.

The 39,000 jobs added in November is front and center in this piece, as it is across most of the mainstream media (MSM) reporting, however one has to dig in order to find information regarding the number of jobs actually lost. A cursory search indicates that the US government shed 11,000 jobs in November, the US retail sector cashiered 28,000 jobs, US manufacturing delivered 13,000 people to the sidewalk, while 5000 people in the construction industry got hammered.

This alone indicates an essentially unchanged landscape of misery. The November uptick in the unemployment rate wasn’t even balanced out by the waves of individuals who have run out of benefits entirely, and are subsequently classified by the MSM as having ‘given up looking for work.’ This unfortunate demographic is not even afforded the dignity of being counted among the unemployed.

Overall, the real unemployment figure is upwards of 16% of the total US workforce. It’s estimated that the US economy requires 150,000 additional jobs per month just to keep pace with their expanding population, and at least 250,000 a month to even contemplate drawing down the unemployment rate.

The good news of course is that the bankster elites continue to generate plenty-o-wealth for themselves by bellying up at the offshore casinos to speculate and bid, using a combination of taxpayer cash and a new round of US Fed funny money recently created out of thin air.

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