Friday, August 7, 2009

Unemployment Rate Falls as Employment-Population Ratio Declines

BLS reports even more job losses in July:

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in July (-247,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4 percent

But the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in June. Had the Administration been Republican, Lawrence Kudlow would be hailing this report as good news. Paul Krugman offers a different tone:

Some readers have asked how it’s possible for unemployment to fall when the economy is still losing jobs, albeit at a slower rate. The answer is a bit annoying. First, the jobs number and the unemployment number are based on different surveys — a survey of establishments in the first case, a survey of households in the second. Sometimes employment rises by one measure while falling by the other, although it happens that this month there isn’t much difference in the jobs number.

The household survey also showed job losses – with its figure being 155,000, which drove the employment-population ratio down from 59.5% to 59.4%. The labor force participation rate, however, also fell from 65.7% to 65.5%. The employment picture got a little worse last month or as Paul concludes:

the employment situation is drifting down, but not plunging — occasional mixed signals are likely. No big deal. The basic story is that things are sort of stabilizing — but they’re definitely not improving yet.

1 comment:

Daro said...

The issue with these job losses is (I feel) everyone is avoiding the qualitative argument over the quantitative. Two Million of these jobs were lost in manufacturing. Now if you have to throw someone from the train, it should be Momma, not the train driver.