Friday, December 2, 2011

Not the Best News on the Employment Situation

Before we get too giddy over the news that the unemployment rate fell from 9.0% to 8.6%, we should note that the employment to population ratio barely increased from 58.4% to 58.5%. The big news really is that the labor force participation rate fell from 64.2% to 64.0%. Only hacks like Lawrence Kudlow get giddy when the unemployment rate falls because folks are no longer officially in the labor force. Most of us consider the discouraged worker effect bad news.

Also mind you that the rise in the employment to population ratio is due to the reported rise in employment per the household survey which claimed employment rose by 278,000. The payroll survey claimed an increase of only 120,000, which was really disappointing given that ADP said private employment rose by 206,000. Private employment per the payroll survey did rise by 140,000 by government employment fell by 20,000 (4000 drop in Federal employment, 5000 drop in state employment, and 11,000 drop in local government employment). As noted in my previous post the Senate Republicans wants even less government employment. Go figure.

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