The Bureau of Labor Statistics re-organized their website, and it took me an extra four minutes to find out what the unemployment rate was for July.
Why would a re-organization slow down finding that info? Because I do not look for the “headline” or U3 measure of unemployment. I look for the “broad” or U6 measure, which takes into account those “marginally attached” to the labor force as well as those working part time who would rather be working full time.
You might not have ever seen these figures, so I’m going to try to copy the whole table, if it works … lessee, View/PageSource … uh … search for <table … copy, paste … come back to Docudharma … OK, here goes nothing …
Series Id: LNS13327709
Yoopie! It Worked!
Now, this is seasonally adjusted … unadjusted given below (the figures are worse in summer and better at Christmas) …
Yup, even though GDP was up by a “healthy 1.9%” last quarter … broad unemployment rose from 9.1% before the start of 08Q2 to 9.9% at the end of 08Q2 … and July is up to 10.3%.
And, no, you won’t read these figures in the newspaper … newspapers go by the press release, they do not go looking for the alternate measures (maybe if they did, the alternate measures would be even harder to find).
So, what do the newspapers get?
They get the press release based on the official figures, where someone in the survey must be counted as actively seeking work, anyone in school but looking for work is excluded, and anyone working an hour a week or more is ticked off as “employed”:
Series Id: LNS14000000
This is not to say that the BLS spins bad news … they give is straight in an expert drone … and the headlines will still tell a story of rising unemployment … but the official headline unemployment rate numbers will obscure the magnitude of the problem:
The unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent, and nonfarm payroll employment
continued to trend down in July (-51,000), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of
the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment continued to fall in
construction, manufacturing, and several service-providing industries, while
health care and mining continued to add jobs. Average hourly earnings rose by
6 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.
Unemployment (Household Survey Data)
Both the number of unemployed persons (8.8 million) and the unemployment rate
(5.7 percent) rose in July. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed
persons has increased by 1.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1.0
percentage point. (See table A-1.)
Over the month, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.3 percent) and whites
(5.1 percent) edged up while the rates for adult women (4.6 percent), blacks (9.7
percent), and Hispanics (7.4 percent) were little changed. The jobless rate for
teenagers increased to 20.3 percent in July. The unemployment rate for Asians was
4.0 percent in July, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to the labor force in July
rose by 207,000 to 2.7 million. The number has increased by 623,000 over the
past 12 months. The number of unemployed persons who had lost their last job
was about unchanged over the month at 4.4 million, but has risen by 778,000
over the year. (See table A-8.)