Blog Archives

15 Difficult Truths About U.S. Unemployment.

  • Sadly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.
  • According to Gallup, the unemployment rate was at 8.3% in mid-January but rose to 9.0% in mid-February.
  • The percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is not increasing.  The employment to population ratio  has stayed very steady (hovering between 58% and 59%) since the beginning of 2010.
  • If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States into one nation, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the entire world.
  • In January of 2009, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.
  • The average duration of unemployment in the United States is hovering close to an all-time record high.
  • According to Reuters, approximately 24 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.
  • There are about 88 million working age Americans that are not employed and that are not looking for employment.  That is an all-time record high.
  •  According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.
  • In the year 2000, about 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.
  • The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
  • Amazingly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.
  • According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
  • Since January 2009, worker health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent.
  • An all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all at this point, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.


Our True U.S. Unemployment Numbers.

Really?  The BLS just dropped 1.2 million US workers out of the work force!  Not so fast.  January is the month for annual revisions so the number in the workforce did not actually drop.  The BLS, using the 2010 census data incorporated the data from the Census Survey which measured data over the ten years prior to 2010, and then reconciled and reported these changes into January, 2012. Spread out over 10 years, 1.2 million people is not significant on a per-month basis.  However to believe that true unemployment is 8.3% is unrealistic.

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate (blue line) reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. The fact is these people exist. I know a few, and they certainly believe that they exist, as do their creditors. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 Unemployment Rate (grey line), which includes short-term discouraged workers.  True unemployment in America today is 23%.

The U-3 Unemployment Rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

The BLS’ participation rate for December, 2011 was 64% versus 63.7% in January 2012. This means that 138,000 fewer U.S workers were working in spite of a larger labor force and 243,000 net jobs allegedly being created.  Add those 138,000 workers back into the U-3 and the published unemployment rate of 8.3% is really 9.1%.  Extrapolate the real U-6, and subsequent and SGS from a true baseline of 9.1% on the U-3, and true unemployment in America is in excess of 24%.

Also, there were 42,000 temporary delivery jobs created by UPS, FedEx, etc., in the 243,000 number, and that number will be revised downward.

Remember, we need 125,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth each month.  The US economy has created almost 3 million jobs in the last two years.  Great, but we’re still down 7 million jobs and if we create 250,000 new jobs a month, it will be 2016 before we get back to where we were in 2007.

Watch Latest US Chamber Ad Slam The NLRB.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing a television ad today that attacks the National Labor Relations Board for its complaint against the Boeing Co.  The ad, called Step Forward, is playing in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It will run for a week, then the chamber will re-evaluate its effects and decide whether to expand the advertisement, said Justin Hakes, a spokesman for the chamber.

The ad opens with a shot of workers on a rooftop and moves inside a plant to show someone working on an airplane. Then the picture darkens, showing shadowy figures and an empty warehouse while a narrator says government regulators may close the North Charleston plant.

The NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing in April, arguing the aerospace giant’s decision to open a plant in North Charleston was retaliation against the Machinists union for past strikes. The case proceeded to an administrative law court in June, and the hearing is ongoing.

The NLRB argues the expansion to North Charleston committed unfair labor practices because the move was an illegal transfer of work to a non-union facility, and the move was meant to punish workers in Puget Sound for past strikes. The complaint quotes Boeing executives saying the Lowcountry plant is a way to avoid union strikes in Washington state.

The complaint asks a court to order Boeing to open a 787 assembly line in Puget Sound.


%d bloggers like this: