Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Friday, September 05, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Here Comes The Spin

DOL released unemployment numbers at 8:30AM, but hasn't posted them on the website yet, so I'm relying on a Reuters report:

The number of workers on U.S. payrolls outside the farm sector slid 93,000 in August, the seventh consecutive month of declines, after dropping 49,000 in July. The number was far worse than the increase of 12,000 expected by economists.
The unemployment rate fell, but only to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent in the previous month. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.2 percent.

One, I'm glad to see that Reuters has mathematicians on staff to tell me that a large negative number is far worse than a small positive number. Two, I predict BushCo will trumpet the drop in the unemployment rate, which is just smoke and mirrors--the real important figure is how many jobs have been lost, and the fact that we need to add 150k a month just to take up new entrants into the workforce. We continue to bleed jobs, and it's getting worse.


PS--I note that the original figure for job losses in July was 44k, which has been revised to 49k. I believe that brings total losses for the year to 584,000.

[Update, 8:51AM: DOL published the latest figs on their front page, but I can't get to the full data yet--BLS site isn't responding. Every freaking blogger in the universe must be downloading the employment situation report. I'll try later.]

[Update, 8:56AM: Got the report. Interesting to note it says "the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 6.1 percent." But who reads such things besides nerds like me? I stand by my prediction that Bush will say unemployment is dropping--probably will link that to his tax cuts. Some other sobering info:

In August, nearly 1.7 million persons...were marginally attached to the labor force, 209,000 higher than a year earlier. These individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed, however, because they did not actively search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Of the 1.7 million, 503,000 were discouraged workers--persons who were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them. The number of discouraged workers has risen by 125,000 over the year.

It's worse than it looks. Now, I've read some stuff that explains this as part of a structural shift in our economy. That makes sense, but I don't find that comforting. People need work--what are we going to do about that?

[Update, 3:21PM: Well, I haven't heard BushCo do it yet, but...CNN/Money: Unemployment rate falls. If you actually click through to the story, it paints a grimmer picture, but headlining with the unemployment rate is just so bogus.] 

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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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