Economics Speed Round: January 2016

A new feature on LibertyIsFTW, a no nonsense digest of the highlights of the Monthly Jobs Report for December 2015 jobs numbers. The headlines are full of the fluffing up of a lot of too little and too late.  Here’s the facts and the dots that those facts imply. This is how 2015 really ended: not with a bang, but with a whimper, and an egregious amount of spinning.

  • 292,000 jobs were created in December 2015 (again short of the 312,500 jobs necessary to fully recover jobs lost from 2008).
  • Total 2015 Q4 jobs created was 801,000, compared to a 2014 Q4 jobs of 973,000, for a decrease of 172,000 jobs, basically an entire month of jobs fewer!
  • The number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, was essentially unchanged in December…” This is a low ball estimate. Even the wild eyed socialist, Bernie Sanders, acknowledged this number is larger.
  • (T)he unemployment rate for blacks declined to 8.3 percent in December, while the rates for adult men, adult women, teenagers, whites, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or no change.” After redacting the useless U-3 number, only black unemployment showed any improvement, but their labor force participation rate remains lower than whites, despite being an average of 7 years younger than whites.
  • The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, was little changed in December and has shown little movement in recent months.” The percentage of people working is growing with population, but long term unemployment is not significantly reduced.
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (…”involuntary part-time workers”) was little changed…” People still cannot find full time employment.
  • Among the marginally attached, there were 663,000 discouraged workers in December, little changed from a year earlier…” This is another low ball estimate. People who have not looked for work in the prior 12 month period are not counted, which would include individuals who have given up on their prior careers and have returned to school hoping to acquire new skills for a different career. The percentage of students enrolling in college courses over the age of 25 has increased more than 35%.

There’s a lot of “little change”, “no change”, and “unchanged” in this report (as there was for most of 2015). Notice that “hope” is also remarkably in short supply in any of the recent job reports.

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