Proposed new Unemployment Rate number- U7

The BLS reports today that January lost 598,000 jobs in the United States, pushing U3 to 7.6%.  This isn't a very scary figure, which is why they report it in the news.  U6 is much scarier- 13.9%.  But I contend that neither of these tell the real story from a "the economy should provide first level Maslow needs to the people" point of view.

Instead, I propose that the real story is answered by the question, what is the ratio of dependents (non-labor people) to workers (people with jobs).  This includes, of course, sole-income investors (those who rely on dividends from investment as their sole source of income), stay-at-home parents, the disabled and sick, and children all as dependents.  It also includes all the unemployed as dependents, if you don't have income from a job then you're living off of the income of other people in one form or another for the most part.

Thus, U7 is:

U7=100-((Employed/Population)*100)

Based on the link above, employment is 142,099,000. Last Census estimate puts our total estimated population at 303,824,640.  This gives us a U7 of53.23%.

53% of our population, give or take a percentage point due to all the estimates and seasonally-adjusted numbers in the source data, is living off of the labor of 47% of our population, give or take a percentage point.  That's the budget- the wages of that 47%, there isn't a dime more of non-debt funds in the country, and given the way some employers have been acting in the last century or so, a good amount of those wages are also really debt.

Kind of shows how we got ourselves into this insolvency trap, doesn't it?

 

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Comments

Wasn't January's U6 reported

Wasn't January's U6 reported at 13.9% today?

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Thanks for the update

I'll edit and change the U6 immediately. I must have mistyped this.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Time series?

I hope you are working on doing this as a time series, as far back as possible. At the very least, compared to the 1960s, and then the 1970s, which kicks off the plunge into "post-industrial" insanity.

Also, how are you treating members of armed services, prisoners, and parolees? Lots of issues there, which have been discussed every now and then on EuroTrib.com.

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no reason

we cannot have more than one blog post on the incredible unemployment numbers in order.

I like the last line of seebert's post, "we're in an insolvency trap".

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Eventually

When I get time. I suspect the numbers I'm using (which, BTW, are only the Census Estimate vs BLS's own seasonally adjusted monthly report) are available back to 1913 or so. I don't have time this weekend, but soon I will.

Except for exceptional wartime numbers (Census lists WWI and WWII), armed services are not usually included. The Census lists WWI numbers because otherwise due to the war and the 1918 influenza oubreak, that's the year the United States actually had NEGATIVE population growth.

If anybody knows of a good source for automatic entry in a reasonable (tab delimited or comma delimited) format, let me know. I think it would be interesting to see the near-100-year monthly chart of this.l

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

A problem I'm running into posting these numbers

I've found employment estimates, monthly, going back to 1939.

But I'm not sure I trust the BLS's population estimates for the same period (the July numbers don't seem to match the Cenus yearly estimates), and I can only seem to find yearly estimates for the Census figures going back more than a decade.

Does anybody reading this have a pointer for me to find monthly population estimate data going back to 1939?

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

pop. vs. labor force #s

I'd start with the Census statistics, here. but be careful, the workforce participation rate is not the same as population rate. In the 1920's, 1930's you had discrimination and women did not participate in the workforce, also people did not live as long.

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A few other numbers

The headline unemployment number is 7.6%.
However, that's the seasonal adjusted number. The non seasonal adjusted unemployment number is 8.5%. That's up from 5.4% last January.

Also, the monthly job creation numbers for all of 2008 were revised. These are the results:

Unemployed +550,000
Employed -832,000
Civilian labor force - 282,000

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Interesting perspective

Would have never thought about looking at numbers in this way. This puts that whole full employment myth in an entirely new light.

Have you ever looked at John Williams Shadow Stats
He calculates the numbers based on the way it used to be before Clinton. He has U6 running at 18% now.

It has always been about class warfare.

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I've got one additional

The BLS counts temporary foreign guest workers into the employment stats which deflates dramatically the unemployment rate for Americans in some occupational areas as well as distorts the under employment rate.

Comparing apples to apples on employment figures when the calculation methodology is changed...another nice post might be the history of those changes.

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I understand the focus on

I understand the focus on U6--Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers--which stands at 13.9%

However, wouldn't the real percentage be higher if the discouraged workers from U5--Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers--were included in the U6 number?

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Yes it would

but it would still sidestep the real problem from my point of view- the bigger picture of number of people supported by each laborer.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.