Patterico's Pontifications


Unemployment Unexpectedly Mediocre. Yay! (Update: Possible S&P Downgrade today)

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

Unexpectedly, Reuters gets a not-terrible use of “unexpectedly” today:

U.S. payrolls increased 117,000, the Labor Department said on Friday, above market expectations for an 85,000 gain. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June, but this was mostly the result of people leaving the labor force.

Note the last part; according to Bloomberg, the share of the eligible population holding a job declined to 58.1 percent, the lowest since July 1983.  As NRO’s Jim Geraghty put it, “Since January 2009, Obama’s policies have successfully lowered unemployment by driving 3,566,000 Americans from the work force.”  In the household survey over the last three months alone, the labor force is down 500K, the number of employed is down 500K, and the number unemployed is unchanged.  If the active labor force was as big as it was when Pres. Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.7 percent.  Also, average weekly hours worked for all employees were flat at 34.3 hours, essentially the same as year ago.  Plus, temporary help, usually a precursor of future hiring, added 0 jobs in July. 

Today’s report may help avert a meltdown in the markets, which is something.   However, by every standard Obama listed in his megalomaniacal speech about slowing the rise of the oceans, the United States is either stagnant or worse off than in 2008.  Indeed, according to White House press flack Jay Carney: “The White House doesn’t create jobs.”

Update: Markets are headed down again today.  There’s a rumor going around trading desks that I won’t recirculate. It concerns the possibility of bad news after the close of trading. We”ll see.

Update 2: Markets are back up marginally at midday. I hope that means the rumor has been discarded.

Update 3: Markets closed pretty flat… but the rumor has made it into the media: CNBC is reporting that the government is preparing for a possible downgrade from S&P.  There are reasons to be skeptical.

Update 4: “A government official tells ABC News that the federal government is expecting and preparing for bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the rating of US debt from its current AAA value…”  And according to the source (caution there), the S&P will blame the GOP position on tax increases, as opposed to Democratic intransigence on entitlements. Of course.

Update 5: The effect of a downgrade — if it occurs — may be minor at this point.

Update 6: Jake Tapper’s story now adds: “Another government official confirms the Obama administration is preparing for the downgrade but is not 100% positive it’s going to happen, and if it does happen officials are not sure when it will happen…”


43 Responses to “Unemployment Unexpectedly Mediocre. Yay! (Update: Possible S&P Downgrade today)”

  1. Carney spoke truthfully. The White House has created scores of new bureaucrats, not jobs. Government bureaucrats suck the lifeblood out of our economy, they inhibit the flow of goods and services, and they’re a drain on working families.

    Obama is pushing the wrong tax and spend policies, the proof is there for anyone willing to put aside their political bias long enough to see beyond the end of their nose.

    ropelight (5e00d7)

  2. 34.3 Hrs per week…
    We have attained EU level employment!
    But, where’s my paid, seven-week, Holiday?

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  3. Not really good news at all. According to BloomBerg.

    The jobless rate declined as 193,000 people left the labor force and the number of unemployed dropped by 156,000. The share of the eligible population holding a job declined to 58.1 percent, the lowest since July 1983.

    So we have 193,000 people who no longer work and unemployment went down less than 0.1%? I’m not impressed.

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  4. I just re-read the Bloomberg quote and this shouted out at me.

    The share of the eligible population holding a job declined to 58.1 percent, the lowest since July 1983

    Less than 60% of the population who can work aren’t working? What is normal? Would someone help me understand this number? Does this mean that 32.8% of the population who could work aren’t considered unemployed, yet aren’t working? Does this mean actual unemployment is at 41.9%? What is the story here?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  5. Dead Meat is giving another speech on Jobs.

    Gonna bust those nasty capitalists and consumers for sittin on their piles of cash.

    Yesterday IRS said personal income was down more than 15%…in 2009.

    Resign and crawl back under your rock.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  6. Ah yes, hope and change in 2012. Count the days.

    Summit, N.J. (75c9eb)

  7. Tanny,

    The first part of understanding this is that the govt defines an unemployed person as a person not employed but actively seeking work. “Discouraged” people who drop out of the workforce are not counted. Moreover, people not actively seeking employment, e.g., housewives/husbands are not reflected in the typically reported unemplyment rate. Here’s a historical chart of labor force participation:

    Karl (f07e38)

  8. Putin was right. And the biggest one is Obama.

    Sponge Bob (786e37)

  9. #4, Tanny our Government provides horrid data when calculating unemployment. It calls unemployment the those looking for work in relation to tall those with jobs.

    The real number is the labor force participation rate which 58% says —– 4 out of 10 people who can work, do.

    But even this numbers is not good b/c it excludes children and elderly who do consume resources.

    Best number to look at is Total Workers / Total Population …. that is the true measure of wealth creation in an economy where there is innovation.

    Sponge Bob (786e37)

  10. Tanny, if so many people had not given up looking for work since Obama became President unemployment would be 12 percent.

    SPQR (9d548a)

  11. How can unemployed people give up looking for work? Do they think that that will be a resume enhancement? It’s a weird time that we line in.

    Summit, N.J. (75c9eb)

  12. Once you have been out of work past a certain period, you might as well chuck it, since your “skills” have deteriorated in the view of most HR depts.
    Plus, a careful reading of a lot of job listings will show that if you don’t already have a job, they don’t want to talk to you:
    IOW, they only want to steal a currently employed worker, not take in one who has been unemployed no matter the reason.

    Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE (928bec)

  13. Is The Carney’s timing impeccable or what?

    Yesterday: “Well, actually the White House does not create jobs.”

    Today: “Oh these jobs? Yes we created those puppies for sure – it was those millions of other jobs that didn’t get created that we didn’t create!”

    sherlock (9a0f2b)

  14. Damn, I hate Sockpuppit Fridays…Sir PAH, CBE; is me.

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  15. Only eight-days to the Ames Straw Poll…
    get those bets in folks (Palin and Perry are pre-race scratches).

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  16. Rush just let out a real howler (as kmart would describe it):
    New IRS data shows that the RICH (their definition is an INCOME of $10MM/yr or more) had a total income of $240B spread over 8,274 people.
    If we confiscated all of their income, it would only cover approx 1/6 of the deficit this year.

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  17. #14 – Yeah, I guessed that already. :-)

    Summit, NJ (75c9eb)

  18. Everything is unexpectedly.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  19. 18.Everything is unexpectedly

    Shouldn’t you be on the sock puppets’ thread?

    A Casual Observer (75c9eb)

  20. Are we crediting Obama’s policies with these numbers? Because they show an increase in private sector jobs, and decrease in government jobs. Not quite the narrative.

    cclass (6b1818)

  21. 9.1% funemployment rocks, cclass.

    ronbryn (6e25b4)

  22. Comment by Summit, NJ — 8/5/2011 @ 9:49 am

    You one pretty smart fellah!

    Short Round (928bec)

  23. Summit, they do. And when they do, they don’t count in basic unemployment number.

    SPQR (9d548a)

  24. I already posted there.


    DohBiden (d54602)

  25. The problem with indemic deceit at the Ministry of Truth is govmint out-smarts theyselves.

    CPI since ’90s has included a 40% contribution from residential Real Estate values. Reason was primarily to stiff SS and Medicare payees by undercompensating for true rates of inflation.

    Now the Bernank has no excuse not to print mo money to stop market cratering.

    About the instant he starts QE3 buying our own debt–2 year notes mostly–US Dollar will resume march from funny money to kindling.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  26. Pretty soon, Monopoly Money will be the only stuff with real value.

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  27. #22 – Nah, since there were only two people and four sock puppets posting here this morning at that time, and I was three of them, I thought, hmmmmm, and then I said to myself, hey, that must be AD!!! :-)

    Summit, NJ (75c9eb)

  28. Comment by Summit, NJ — 8/5/2011 @ 12:29 pm

    For your superb analysis, you will be appointed to the National Security Council, and given the Iran Desk.

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  29. And, the Democrat created disasters continue to mount…

    “Nearly 15% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps in May, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.”

    “The number of Americans using the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — more commonly referred to as food stamps — shot to an all-time high of 45.8 million in May, the USDA reported. That’s up 12% from a year ago, and 34% higher than two years ago.”

    Via Pajamas Media

    Dave Surls (28f866)

  30. Democratic policies == increased poverty

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. I don’t know how this impacts the downgrade rumor but President Obama left for Camp David at 3:40 PM Friday. I guess he’s had a tough week.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  32. 30.Democratic policies == increased poverty

    That just shows that the Democrats love poor people: they make so many of them.

    Chuck Bartowski (4c6c0c)

  33. Give it until 2012 than it will cost $750,000 to buy a loaf of bread.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  34. 40.4 weeks average unemployment length in the Obama economy. A record.

    SPQR (9d548a)

  35. I met a fairy today that said she would grant me one wish.

    “I want to live forever,” I said.

    “Sorry,” said the fairy “I’m not allowed to grant wishes like that!

    “Fine,” I said, “then I want to die after Congress gets their heads out of their asses!”

    “You crafty bastard,” said the fairy.

    Or Spartacvs …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  36. “I don’t know how this impacts the downgrade rumor but President Obama left for Camp David at 3:40 PM Friday.”

    If only there was a way to keep him there, while jmaming all communications with the outside world.

    America might have a fighting chance at avoiding total fiscal catatrophe.

    Dave Surls (28f866)

  37. B-but Pat Robertson and conflict diamonds

    /I’m not condoning Pat Robertsons unsavory buisness schemes.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  38. S&P did just downgrade – Concern over deficits.

    Thanks Barcky!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  39. Damn you, Barack Obama;
    Damn You!

    AD-RtR/OS! (928bec)

  40. Aaron has started a new downgrade thread.

    Karl (37b303)

  41. Evidently, the deficit numbers used S&P were off by “trillions” in the draft sent to the Treasury.

    Wonder why?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  42. Spartacvs is the same bunghole who accused Sarah Palin of stealing her act.

    DohBiden (d54602)

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