U.S. Labor Force Declines by 720K
October Unemployment Manipulation
- By: Larry Walker II -
The big story out of the October household survey was the decline by 720,000 in the headline labor force, which largely reflected the loss of longer-term unemployed into the broader U-6 unemployment measure.
In fact, since January 2009, the U.S. Labor Force has only grown by 607,000. Yet, over the same period, 11,034,000 persons have been removed from the labor force (see chart above). Once removed, such are neither counted as employed nor unemployed, each amounting to the equivalent of zero-fifths of a person in terms of modern governmental accounting.
In Manipulation 101: The Real Unemployment Rate, we learned that as the size of the labor force erodes, the unemployment rate artificially declines. So let’s recall how the unemployment rate is calculated. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the size of the labor force:
[ (A) Total Unemployed / (B) Labor Force = (C) Unemployment Rate ]
Thus, the official unemployment rate of 7.3%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on its November 8, 2013, Employment Situation Report, was calculated as follows:
However, when the 720,000 longer-term unemployed which were removed from the labor force in October are added back, the real unemployment rate actually rose to 7.7% (shown above). And, if we were to add back all long-term unemployed workers, removed from the labor force since February 2009, the real unemployment rate would be 13.4% (also shown above).
As I reported earlier this year, in Black Unemployment Rate Closer to 37.9%, there is an alternative to the federal government’s phony reporting. Shadow Government Statistics publishes a more accurate measure of unemployment based on pre-1994 BLS methodology. The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994.
In other words, the SGS Alternate Rate adds millions of long-term discouraged workers back to the BLS estimate, which only includes short-term discouraged workers. In case you didn’t catch that, this means the BLS has eliminated long-term discouraged workers (i.e. those who have been without a job for so long that they haven't bothered to look for work in more than 12 months) from official unemployment statistics since 1994, thus distorting the true employment situation.
Accordingly, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics boasts of an official U-3 unemployment rate of 7.3%, and an official U-6 rate of 13.8%, the real unemployment rate, based on pre-1994 BLS methodology, has actually increased from 18.3% in January 2009 to 23.5% as of October 2013 (shown above).
Of course the Chief of the White House will simply continue to repeat something like, ‘Now that we’ve fixed (i.e. effed up) the nation’s health care system, it’s time to finish fixing (i.e. effing up) the economy.’