Patterico's Pontifications


Fudging Unemployment

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 6:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Tyler Durden explains how the BLS is fudging the unemployment rate:

“The only reason for the decline in the unemployment rate to 9.5% was yet another decline in the labor force participation rate, which according to the BLS dropped another 652k people in the month of June. This resulted in a labor force to the civilian non-institutional population ratio of 64.7%: the second lowest number in decades of data, and only better than December 2009, when this number was 64.6%.
if there was a mean reversion to the last 10 year labor force participation average rate of 66.2%, there should be another 3.5 million jobless added to the 14.6 million tally. And as this differential is the easiest thing in the world for the BLS to fudge, adding the two and dividing by the labor force of 153,74, we get an unemployment rate of 11.8% …”

Americans need jobs but we can’t afford Obama’s choices for jobs: Not the $160K per job explained in Ed Morrissey’s Hot Air post on broadband technology, nor the $266K per job for Colorado solar projects.



  1. We’re on the right track – the stimulus worked. We need to do it again, only larger!!!!!!11ty!!!!

    Comment by daleyrocks (1d0d98) — 7/4/2010 @ 6:55 pm

  2. We still have plenty of work to do, but if I hear anybody say that the Stimulus didn’t work, I’m going to have Joe Biden kick their ass.

    Comment by B. Obama (1d0d98) — 7/4/2010 @ 6:58 pm

  3. $266K…
    For one-third of that, they could subsidize home-owners for a complete system for their homes – tied into the grid – and with enough money left over to allow them to “stimulate” the economy in fine fashion.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (ed07ac) — 7/4/2010 @ 7:09 pm

  4. “if I hear anybody say that the Stimulus didn’t work, I’m going to have Joe Biden kick their ass.”

    The Stimulus didn’t work.

    Now, bring on “plugs” Biden. This will be a big f’ing deal.

    Comment by Travis Monitor (6dd9c5) — 7/4/2010 @ 8:16 pm

  5. Joe Bite-Me couldn’t kick his own a$$ if someone handed his leg to him, and pulled his head out so he could see what he was supposed to be doing.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (ed07ac) — 7/4/2010 @ 8:59 pm

  6. Greetings:

    If I may add one further bit, there’s a concept in statistics that I know as a “statistically significant change”. There are any number of mathematical tests that can be used to see if variances in the data have real significance. A change of one-tenth of a percent or so, (out of a 10% datum) may very well not have any significance other than it being different. The BLS, and most media reporters/commentators rarely mention this aspect.

    Comment by 11B40 (63f4ad) — 7/5/2010 @ 9:56 am

  7. Most media, like almost all pols, are economically illiterate. They will avoid bringing up what they do not understand, so as to avoid having to say “I don’t know!”

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (6e3949) — 7/5/2010 @ 10:00 am

  8. Unemployment represents the people without jobs who are looking for work. “True” unemployment adds those people who have given up looking and are not employed – hence the term “discouraged”.

    The number of discouraged workers is at its highest level since the category began being tracked in 1994.

    Comment by Chuck Simmins (ec5e5d) — 7/5/2010 @ 11:20 am

  9. #8 Chuck, I do recall when the updated calculation for Unemployment was instituted in January 1994. It immediately made a difference by removing those pesky malingerers who had been looking for work longer than 52 weeks.

    That was one solution. Another was to institute Social Security, and remove those over 65 from the work force.

    My proposed solution is to lower the S.S. age to 49, and watch the UR rate fall to 5%. /sarc off

    Comment by TimesDisliker (e19fb4) — 7/5/2010 @ 3:20 pm

  10. “Not the $160K per job explained in Ed Morrissey’s Hot Air post on broadband technology, nor the $266K per job for Colorado solar projects.”

    Let’s not be pikers. One study calculated that Spain has spent of 571,000 Euros per green job since 2000. We have a long way to go, but with Obama and Pelosi at the helm, I’m sure we can make it!

    Comment by daleyrocks (1d0d98) — 7/6/2010 @ 12:48 pm

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