Monday, December 10, 2012

More On Real Unemployment

Just walk into any Starbucks in any urban area after 11 a.m. and see who's using the free wifi -  a thoughtful, long-time friend of mine on the credibility of the Government's employment report
Although it gets mentioned in non-mainstream media sources of analysis, the ever-shrinking size of the U.S. labor force has become serial in nature, to the point at which this economic defect has become endemic to our system.  Huh?

Every month embedded in the Government employment report is a statistic called "civilian labor force participation rate."  This number is basically the number of people who are employed PLUS the number of people looking for a job divided by the population.  The result is the "labor force."  So the headline unemployment rate would be the number of people looking for a job divided by the size of the labor force. This number was reported to be 63.6% last Friday.  This is lowest it's been since 1981.

The headline unemployment rate every month is highly anticipated, scrutinized and discussed by everyone.  Part of the Fed's latest QE program is tied to this number.  It is a highly politically-charged number. But the headline unemployment rate is also as fictitious as Santa Clause. The reason for this is the insidious and misleading manipulation of the how "looking for work" is defined by the Government.

As it turns out, there is a huge pool of a potential job-seekers who have simply given up looking for a a job for one of several reasons.  For this reason the actual labor force is likely much larger, and thus the real unemployment rate is much larger.  John Williams in his Shadow Statistics report covers this topic exhaustively.  You can source it here:  His alternative unemployment rate is over 20%.

I found a short article which does a good job of describing the demographics of the "invisible" unemployed:
While it's true that the unemployment rate is falling, that doesn't include the millions of nonworking adults who aren't even looking for a job anymore. And hiring isn't strong enough to keep up with population growth.
Here's the LINK

One more data observation completely invalidates the Government's unemployment numbers:  over 607,000 Americans applied for food stamps in September, bringing the number of Americans using foodstamps to a record 47.7 million.   This number increased by over 1 million in August and September combined.  You can read more about this HERE

IF unemployment were truly falling - meaning that more people are really working every month as implied by the reported recent decline in the unemployment rate - then the use food stamps should be declining.  But more "invisible unemployed" become eligible for food stamps every month,  completely invalidating the Government's monthly employment report.  I find it to be exceedingly absurd that educated people in the form of market analysts actually discuss and analyze the employment report as if it is real...

I really hate to be right about something as much as I'm right that the economy is a significantly weaker than is being represented by manipulated Government economic reports, Wall Street analysts and the mainstream financial reporters.  It's tragic but it's the truth.  Our system is going to hit the wall sooner than many understand.  Until that happens expect a lot more "spin" from our political/business leaders and a lot more printed paper currency from the Fed.  The latter will translate directly into much higher prices for the precious metals and mining stocks.


  1. Funny you mention the word "truth". I recall a couple of years ago when I was battling the local tax authorities concerning the assessed value of my house. When I was sworn in, I was asked if I would tell "the truth". I quickly replied "no". Everyone in the court looked at me like I was a lunatic, especially the judge. I then explained in more detail that there is no such thing as "the truth", that truth is subjective and is in the eye of the beholder. I said that to take a vow to tell the truth, when no such thing truly exists outside of the realm of basic mathematics, would be tantamount to perjury, and would weigh against me, so I promised that I would render "my truth", or version of events, not "the truth".

    The outcome was that I didn't get everything I wanted with my little tirade, but nether did the assessment officer representing the city, prick that he was.

    Truth? What's that?

  2. Great post as usual Dave. Like Orwell said " When there is universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" Sadly I think we crossed that threshold some time ago

    BTW congrats go out to the Broncos for locking up the division, they look to be a tough out in the playoffs. It may prove to be interesting if they have to play the Colts in the first round

  3. Dave,
    I would add the question, "what exactly is 'work'". During the RE bubble when everyone and their mother quit their stinkin' day job to pursue the richs of real estate, many abandoned their health insurance or at least saw it decline in quality. How many of them today can truly be called "working". Some of them have taken part time jobs, and many of us work 2 or 3 jobs with NO health insurance (like me).
    So the definitin of "work" is further eroded in terms of what work used to be in this country.

    As for the Fed ... it is merely buying us time. Don't squander it.