Patterico's Pontifications


Horrible Unemployment Numbers Masked By Phony Method of Accounting As Record Numbers Leave the Work Force

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

Big Media won’t tell you this, but today’s jobs numbers are bad.

Here’s what Big Media is telling you about today’s numbers, according to our old mainstay the Los Angeles Times:

Economy adds 288,000 jobs in April; unemployment rate down to 6.3%

Hiring surprisingly surged last month as the economy added 288,000 net new jobs — the best performance in more than two years — and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%, its lowest level since September 2008, the Labor Department said Friday.

Job-creation figures for February and March were also revised upward by a combined 36,000, meaning the economy has added a monthly average of about 214,000 positions this year. The revised figure for March was 203,000.

Economists had expected a more modest pickup, with the economy adding 215,000 net new jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropping just a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6%.

Great news, comrades! Just one little problem: the number that actually matters, the labor force participation rate, went down. This quote is from the Labor Department’s announcement, which I actually went and looked up because I no longer trust what Big Media tells me:

The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October.

806,000 people left the work force! 806,000!

Money Morning says it’s “a record monthly decline since the Labor Department began keeping records.”

I’m going to say that again.

Money Morning says it’s “a record monthly decline since the Labor Department began keeping records.”

CNBC says:

The headline rate tumbled as 806,000 people left the civilian labor force, a development one market strategist called “shocking.” The labor force participation rate slumped to 62.8 percent, its worst of the year and near 35-year lows.

Yes, these jobs numbers should be good. But the net result is that they’re not. And it’s because government is strangling the recovery that is attempting to occur.

We enjoy a standard of living that would have been the envy of most kings in world history, due to the division of labor, which allows people to specialize in their area of expertise, contributing to better conditions for all. This president inherited a political system that already discouraged work, and made the situation multiple times worse, to the point where record numbers of people are choosing to simply say: “I’m outta here” — meaning that they will henceforth be a net drain on society’s resources, rather than a net positive. This means a lower standard of living for everybody — but the negatives are masked because the causality is hard to trace, at least for those not steeped in principles of economics, human action, incentives, and interference with the unhampered market economy.

Obama has failed. That’s what we were supposed to “hope” for, right? Well, congratulations. Your hope is now reality. And the “new normal” wipes out any gains that might otherwise accrue from what would normally be good news, because ObamaCare and other oppressive regulations create disincentives for work and productivity.

When that happens, it’s not just the fat cats who suffer. It’s everybody. Good luck trying to explain it to the voters, though.

This country is screwed. Today’s news doesn’t change that fact. It just makes it more clear.

52 Responses to “Horrible Unemployment Numbers Masked By Phony Method of Accounting As Record Numbers Leave the Work Force”

  1. What a nice start to our Friday, huh?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. But what about Donald Sterling? Is he still employed?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. I was looking at unemployment figures for the period during the Great Depression of the 1930s, 1940s, and there were certain years when the unemployment rate dropped quite dramatically. So much so, it would have been difficult to assume that economic torpor would actually continue well into the period when WWII began.

    So if I had been an acolyte of FDR’s New Deal back then, or even a neutral third-party observer, I’d have sworn the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel was in sight.

    Mark (59e5be)

  4. It wasn’t hope that made it happen though. It was bound to. Except for the part where Obama succeeded, in keeping the long con going. He had help with that.

    SarahW (267b14)

  5. Winter probably caused people to leave the work force, unexpectedly or something.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. CNBC – not big media?

    carlitos (e7c734)

  7. No one has a job to lose anymore.

    Huge turnover at my place of employ was made feasible by the disenchanted making their second job their first.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  8. In our topsy turvy dystopia ‘good’ economic news is a call to sell:

    If you like chart-fu, you may keep your chart-fu:

    Fully-employed males earn less than 40 years ago. Just ask one, if you meet him.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  9. Note to the low-information consumers among us, the complete BLS report nominally consists of a business survey and a home canvassed survey.

    The former is compiled well ahead of the latter. The two are routinely incompatible and never reconciled.

    So if one is actually interested in hope versus hype wait a few for the household survey.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  10. The Empty Chair’s minions squeak, and then move on, not knowing what they say.

    htom (412a17)

  11. Just saying. If you don’t have anything, and never expect to have anything, all this is a lot easier to take.

    Steve57 (525198)

  12. Another number within the numbers:

    Namely, in the one most important age group for jobs, those workers aged 25-54 which represent the bulk of the US labor force and are also the best and most productive group, the total number of jobs tumbled from 95,360K to 95,151K, a drop of 209K!

    If you just happen to be one of those blessed to be enjoying your peak earning years, well, it certainly sucks to be you.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  13. The other good news is that without the Obamacare rise in health care costs the GDP would have dropped in the first quarter.

    The good news about health-care expenditures is that they’re propping up gross domestic product: Without soaring expenditure on health care, yesterday’s lackluster GDP estimates would have been negative, instead of a paltry 0.1 percent.

    It’s like calling Dunkirk an invasion.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  14. One systemic source of error the BLS cannot easily avoid in its business survey is the tendency during collapse to glean only survivor data.

    They are sampling from a comparatively rapidly changing population. Lost jobs due to business failures which could amount to hundreds per week are not captured.

    Calculations of job hiring expectations, business expansion plans over represent those survivors taking up new market margin.

    The reverse would, of course, prevail in a rapidly expanding economy, not that we’ll have that problem again.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  15. So, wait, do you mean to imply that the economy is NOT improving? Racist! /sarcasm

    Mark Johnson (751494)

  16. I just heard the local classical music radio station cheerfully report on the great job numbers, factory orders, etc. Not a mention of the 800,000 people who gave up looking for work. This isn’t bad journalism, it’s 1950s Communist propaganda.

    CrustyB (69f730)

  17. just in time for summer, the blockbuster hit “Where the J*bs Are!”

    (hint: not in any class that pays well)

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  18. I blame the weather.

    Ed McCabe (320c74)

  19. What is the monthly rate of people leaving the work force?

    It seems like nearly a million leaving sounds large. What happened in April? Bad weather?

    AZ Bob (c949f7)

  20. It’s Bush’s fault!

    htom (412a17)

  21. Yes, Obama has failed. He failed some time back. It was supposed to be the thing that got Romney (or whoever) elected in 2012. That failed, too.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  22. I remember the campaign of 08, how Obama constantly said taht the Republican solution wasn’t working. How we needed change.

    Amphipolis (d3e04f)

  23. I think a big factor is the expiration of unemployment insurance benefits.

    If someone is collecting unemployment insurance benefits, they practically have to claim they are looking for work, even if no one will cross-check their answers to a confidential survey with what they are telling the unemployment insurance office.

    After it expires, they can be more candid.

    The result is that the unemployment rate goes down.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  24. applying Occam’s Razor to Sam the Sham’s “theory”, it is much more likely that Bam-Bam & company, with the explicit support of the MFM and useful idiots everywhere, are lying to us via statistics.


    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  25. The unemployment rate is an artificial construct of the global white male infrastructure. Women and minorities hardest hit, as usual.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  26. 6.5 unemployment rate is a work of attrition…

    mg (31009b)

  27. Obama has failed. That’s what we were supposed to “hope” for, right? Well, congratulations. Your hope is now reality.

    No, the sad fact is Obama is succeeding. You think this is an accident?

    Steve57 (525198)

  28. If Obama were failing, the economy would be booming. Sadly, he’s delivering on that communist Nobel Peace Prize.

    Steve57 (525198)

  29. Isn’t it about time for Michael Hiltzik to reveal the joyous news our economy is on the verge of a recovery this Spring only because Obama lied about Benghazi and just had to send Susan Rice out to lie or we’d suffer 7 more bad years.

    ropelight (031e3e)

  30. GDP increased only one-tenth of one percent during the first quarter of the year, yet three billion new jobs were created !
    Or something.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  31. Democrat Presidents are good with adding to our Economic vocabulary. Carter brought us ‘stagflation’ and now Obama has given us ‘new normal’.

    East Bay Jay (a5dac7)

  32. I keep saying if Republicans take over they MUST MUST drain the swamp of every Liberal in the Fed Govt and the NGOs.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ca9e04)

  33. #34 Cut off funding, prosecute for anything, drive them out or drive them out of business.

    Add non-profits to that too. Starve them of Govt money.

    Rodney King's Spirit (ca9e04)

  34. #34: and yet, we know they won’t…Boner and the rest of them LOVE the swamp, because it makes them important AND rich.

    i mean really… can you see Orange-boi having to drive himself around town, or go through TSA screenings like us serfs?

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  35. Dem pollsters are warning Democrats NOT to mention the word “recovery”, as Americans don’t believe it. Don’t say what Obama says, they caution.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. “The moving hand cooks the books…and having cooked moves on”

    Mike S. (f5d617)

  37. This just in… Jay Carney’s remake of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” is number 69 with a mullet on Billboards Top 100 chart.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  38. why does your food stamp whore president keep yammering about putting people to work on “infrastructure” instead of putting people to work inventing new antibiotics?

    y’all are SO screwed and you’re all going to end up with pustulent sores

    and maybe a new bridge in a very safe pelosi-type whore district

    and you know what?

    good for you

    shine on lil diamonds

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  39. I resent the implication I’m screwed. I’ve got a canoe, a tent, and a crossbow.

    Well, actually, a couple of tents. And I’m thinking about picking up one of these.

    The same ultra-light, ultra-warm full protection shelter that professionals rely on. The Survive Outdoors Longer Emergency Bivvy is made from the same heat-reflective polyethylene as Adventure Medical Kit’s world-famous emergency blankets (reflecting 90% of your body heat back to you), with the added benefit of being fully sealed so that no wind, rain, or snow can get inside. If you’re forced to spend the unexpected…

    Plus I learned how to make Pruno from this guy I knew who spent time in Corcoran.

    I am so far from screwed, Mr. feets. I’m readier than you are.

    Steve57 (525198)

  40. R.I.P. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

    Icy (164206)

  41. “And I’m thinking about picking up one of these.”

    Steve57 – Mebbe for short term emergency use. That sucker will also trap all moisture that evaporates from your body in there with you leaving you soaking wet in teh morning if you use it overnight.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. that’s stephanie’s daddy

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  43. Steve57, I think you are missing a paddle in that list. Oh, and a blow-up doll – purely for ballast, of course.

    felipe (098e97)

  44. Mr. 57 I have like 8-10 canned goods already bought and stored in a cool dark place

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  45. felipe, thanks, but I’ve got the paddle. Actually, a few of them.

    Steve57 (525198)

  46. daley @43, yes, if you sweat you freeze.

    I was just thinking it’s better than a space blanket.

    Steve57 (525198)

  47. Space blankets suck, too.

    Steve57 (525198)

  48. I was contemplating recently on an incident that happened to a Green Beret friend of mine.

    They were practicing knife fighting and his training partner stabbed him by accident. My friend said it felt like somebody hit him with a baseball bat. So he falls down, lookinh at the knife sticking out of his leg. And a LT. Col. walks by and says, “What are you going to do son, just lay down and die.” He thought, “This guy is right.” And got up and finished the training.

    And I would have done the same thing.

    Not because I’m anywhere near as tough as him.

    But because now I have his knife.

    Steve57 (525198)

  49. I won’t say the first few minutes of this were wasted. Because, Able Dog.

    I will say this. I would have warmed it up longer than this, if I were about any serious business.

    Steve57 (525198)

  50. Three times the number of new jobs drop out of the labor force, and this is supposed to be good news.
    What alternate universe do these a$$hole$ live in?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

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