Friday, October 08, 2004


The hidden story behind today's Employment Situation Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morining:

While the economy added 96,000 jobs in September (via the payroll survey), another 221,000 gave up looking altogether.

(Note: by the household survey, employment fell by 201,000 jobs, so the shrinking labor force cannot be explained by self-employed entrepreneurs. Anyone who wants to know just what the difference is between the two surveys can read a PDF here).

Oh those 96k, 37,000 of the jobs were created by government, meaning the private sector created only 59,000 jobs. Even the retail sector--the back bone of our consumer debt driven economy--shed jobs in the last month.

Note 2: The hurricanes plagueing the American Southeast had no effect on this month's jobs data collection: "Establishment survey response rates in September were within the normal range for these areas as well as for the U.S. as a whole." This doesn't allow us to determine the jobs impact of the storms, only that the numbers reported today reflect ann accurate survey of te picture on the ground.

Prediction: In tonights debate, President pro tem Bush will tout a low 5.4% unemployment rate as a sign of a strong economic recovery.

In reality, if we assumed that labor force participation had kept pace with population growth, unemployment would be well over 7% by now.

Some friendly advice: if you are unemployed and want to get a job, Bush is not your man.


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