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What's the deal with the job statistics?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
How can unemployment be getting lower but job growth be slowing? A little bit of googling didn't do it for me. It has something to do with different ways of measuring employment, but I couldn't find any good explanations.

Some smart person explain it to me.
post #2 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
How can unemployment be getting lower but job growth be slowing? A little bit of googling didn't do it for me. It has something to do with different ways of measuring employment, but I couldn't find any good explanations.

Some smart person explain it to me.

GOP Doublespeak, that's how.

Enron Econ 101
post #3 of 39
People stop filing for unemployment essentially dropping out of the job market. They then cannot be tracked by gov't statistics anymore. The statistics will see this as a reduction in job seekers and therefore the unemployment rate drops.
post #4 of 39
Wow. Is the unemployment rate really based on unemployment claims? That's freaking scary. If that's the case I bet it's four times what they claim.

Have any of you been unemployed for a long period of time? Thought so.
Have any of you filed for unemployment? Probably not.
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
Wow. Is the unemployment rate really based on unemployment claims? That's freaking scary. If that's the case I bet it's four times what they claim.

Have any of you been unemployed for a long period of time? Thought so.
Have any of you filed for unemployment? Probably not.

The unemployment rate is based on a weekly survey. People are asked if they are looking for a job, if they have a job, if they're satisfied with their job, and a couple of other questions. If a person admits to working one hour and getting paid for that week then they are counted as employed. If the person is of working age are not employed but actively looking then they are counted as unemployed. If a person is of working age but not actively looking they are not considered unemployed.

The figure that comes from unemployment agencies is called a weekly jobless claim.
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post #6 of 39
Tough week for Bush. Kerry will work this for a month easy if not longer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/07/po...07jobs.html?hp
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post #7 of 39
I believe the unemployment rate does include some (if not most) people that do fall off of unemployment, but there are still scores of people that don't get added to the list. This is ALWAYS true though. So while the 'true' unemployment rate right now might be double what the figure is, the numbers are relative. 5.5% for Bush is really 11%, but 4% for Clinton was really 8%. It would be unfair to compare the 11% to the 4% since they represent different numbers.

Anyway, when someone stops looking for a job they're no longer counted in unemployment.
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post #8 of 39
The number of job added and the unemployment rate come from two different surveys.

It isn't evil Bush control, doublespeak or any other such nonsense. They use two different measures.

If Bush really could control such things do you think he would have had the unemployment rate remain the same even while the economy added about 400k jobs during the two months before this one?


Nick

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post #9 of 39
As far as I know, the government does track discouraged workers but does not include them in the unemployment number.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
The number of job added and the unemployment rate come from two different surveys.

It isn't evil Bush control, doublespeak or any other such nonsense. They use two different measures.

If Bush really could control such things do you think he would have had the unemployment rate remain the same even while the economy added about 400k jobs during the two months before this one?


Nick

Actually trumpt, you need to check your stats again ....
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post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
How can unemployment be getting lower but job growth be slowing? ...


Should I use a car analogy? Lets say the distance your car is from a red light is unemployment. The closer you are to the light the lower unemployment is. The speed of your car is job growth. You slow down, job growth slows down. So when you get closer to the red light (unemployment goes down) you also slow the car down (job growth slows) and yet you still make it to the light?


It's basic math.
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
Should I use a car analogy? Lets say the distance your car is from a red light is unemployment. The closer you are to the light the lower unemployment is. The speed of your car is job growth. You slow down, job growth slows down. So when you get closer to the red light (unemployment goes down) you also slow the car down (job growth slows) and yet you still make it to the light?


It's basic math.

Except that the latest job growth figures are less than population growth. So to use your analogy, the light is moving faster than the car, so the distance should be increasing.
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Actually trumpt, you need to check your stats again ....

Actually I don't.

Example 1

Quote:
The figure for payrolls and the data for unemployment rate are derived from separate statistical surveys and sometimes indicate contrasting trends.

Here is another one, Washington Post via Seattle Times..

Example 2

Quote:
The unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent in July from 5.6 percent the previous month, as more people did find work. The jobs report and unemployment rate sometimes move in opposite directions, usually temporarily, because they are based on different Labor Department surveys. The payroll report is based on data from businesses; the unemployment rate is derived from surveys of a smaller number of households.

Get a clue...

Nick

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post #14 of 39
I was more contesting your cited stats, and not your claims (and if you had any sort of literacy you would understand that). Thanks for making my point for me though...
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post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
I was more contesting your cited stats, and not your claims (and if you had any sort of literacy you would understand that). Thanks for making my point for me though...

Only if your point is how to use a perceived witty one liner in place of any actual discussion or links.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.6 in April, May and June.

In April we added approximately 325k jobs. In May we added about 210k and in June about 75k.

That is 610k jobs with no change in unemployment rate. You can find all this information in the second article I posted.

Nick

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post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Only if your point is how to use a perceived witty one liner in place of any actual discussion or links.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.6 in April, May and June.

In April we added approximately 325k jobs. In May we added about 210k and in June about 75k.

That is 610k jobs with no change in unemployment rate. You can find all this information in the second article I posted.

Nick

Who are you going to believe Trumptman or CNN?

http://money.cnn.com/2004/08/06/news...july/index.htm

Yeah, yeah, " We've turned the corner ". Well if that were true things like this wouldn't keep showing up.


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post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
That is 610k jobs with no change in unemployment rate.

Realistically, how many people enter the job market every month? What's our annual population growth? And what's the difference between the population growth and retiring attrition? Then ultimately what is the difference between the (growth - attrition) - new jobs?
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post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Only if your point is how to use a perceived witty one liner in place of any actual discussion or links.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.6 in April, May and June.

In April we added approximately 325k jobs. In May we added about 210k and in June about 75k.

That is 610k jobs with no change in unemployment rate. You can find all this information in the second article I posted.

Nick

So basically your claim of 400k jobs added in the two months prior to july (those being May and June) was wrong. I was simply pointing this out.
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post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
So basically your claim of 400k jobs added in the two months prior to july (those being May and June) was wrong. I was simply pointing this out.

Actually I was speaking generally which means I was just taking the average. The question was not what is the exact number, but why do the two numbers seem to sometimes go in different directions. There was an insinuation that the unemployment rate was being manipulated down since their were only 32k jobs added, yet it fell a tenth of a point.

However the reality of the situation is that there are two different surveys. If it were indeed being manipulated it would have fallen a lot more than a tenth of a point when adding 600+ thousand jobs. Instead it stood still because again the numbers are independent.

Nick

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post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
Realistically, how many people enter the job market every month? What's our annual population growth? And what's the difference between the population growth and retiring attrition? Then ultimately what is the difference between the (growth - attrition) - new jobs?

Actually all that is taken into account. It even takes into account seasonal employment and adjusts to show that. That is why you have people claiming Bush has not lost any jobs. SDW has mentioned several dozen times that the total number of jobs has not gone down, but rather we have not grown as many jobs as we need to in order to keep with the factors you mentioned above.

Nick

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post #21 of 39


Well, all I can say is thank god for those massive tax cuts that our children's children will be paying for.

Looks like they bought us 2, maybe 3 months of relatively robust job growth.

I for one think crippling the federal government's capacity to respond to a changing world for generations to come is a small price to pay for briefly reducing the rate of unemployment by a small amount.

Bully for trickle down! Bully for supply side! What do the tax and spend liberals say now?
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post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Actually I was speaking generally which means I was just taking the average. The question was not what is the exact number, but why do the two numbers seem to sometimes go in different directions. There was an insinuation that the unemployment rate was being manipulated down since their were only 32k jobs added, yet it fell a tenth of a point.

However the reality of the situation is that there are two different surveys. If it were indeed being manipulated it would have fallen a lot more than a tenth of a point when adding 600+ thousand jobs. Instead it stood still because again the numbers are independent.

Nick

Actually you explicitly stated that the us economy increased by 400k in the two months prior to that -- that is not only wrong in the literal sense but also in the generalization (or average as you claim -- so perhaps you are verbally literate but not mathematically because in no time has the us economy in the recent past or even as an average produced that many jobs in a month)

Other than that fair enough.

I think you have to weigh the two stats considering all of their problems to figure out how this small fraction of the economy is doing. A decrease of a 0.1% when so few jobs were added is meaningless.
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post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
That is why you have people claiming Bush has not lost any jobs.

This is kind of a silly argument though. If we're going to attribute job growth to the president, then it's his job not only to not create a net loss of jobs, but to also create more than we lose. That is, it's the president's job to at least break even. If Bush isn't, then whatever words you want to use to describe it are fine, but claiming he hasn't lost any jobs would be disingenuous. Bush isn't breaking even, and that's the problem most people are trying to discuss.
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post #24 of 39
Thread Starter 
Here's an article about the issue.
Quote:
What gives? It turns out the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month takes snapshots of the labor market using two different cameras. Each ends up photographing slightly different phenomena, and each has its own flaws and quirks.

To compile the Establishment Survey, BLS gathers data from some 400,000 businesses around the country and then estimates the total number of jobs. This survey explicitly does not include people who work in agriculture. The payroll data don't capture the self-employed, newly formed businesses, or domestic employees. For that reason, the survey might be expected routinely to undercount the number of adults who are actually working. In September, it found that there were 129.9 million Americans with "jobs."

By contrast, the Household Survey is based on surveys of individuals in 60,000 households. It includes farm workers, the self-employed, and people who may work off the books, such as nannies. And it has a rather liberal interpretation of what constitutes a job. "If you did any work for pay or profit in their own business, even as much as one hour of work during the survey reference," that counts as a job, says BLS economist Karen Kosanovich. (For a full explanation of how the government calculates unemployment, see here.) In September, the Household Survey found there were 137.6 million Americans with jobs.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
This is kind of a silly argument though. If we're going to attribute job growth to the president, then it's his job not only to not create a net loss of jobs, but to also create more than we lose. That is, it's the president's job to at least break even. If Bush isn't, then whatever words you want to use to describe it are fine, but claiming he hasn't lost any jobs would be disingenuous. Bush isn't breaking even, and that's the problem most people are trying to discuss.

Some of us would argue that it is silly to suggest that the president, no matter what party he or she may be in, generates or is responsible for any jobs at all. Unless of course we are talking about patronage.

It would also be equally silly to take the smallest lack of growth, and project it out to huge job losses do to a lack of projected jobs. Both arguments, be they for or against Bush have been applied to him.

Nick

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post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Actually you explicitly stated that the us economy increased by 400k in the two months prior to that -- that is not only wrong in the literal sense but also in the generalization (or average as you claim -- so perhaps you are verbally literate but not mathematically because in no time has the us economy in the recent past or even as an average produced that many jobs in a month)

Other than that fair enough.

Actually I said the word "about" which implies it is an estimate.

You take the three months prior to this one. You get 625k divided by three and that is an average of 200k. If you take the prior four you get a bit under a million which averages about 250k a month. So the average has been going down and I did my best. Considering all the economists cited in these articles were estimating 200-300k, I didn't do too badly considering I don't do this for a living.

Any more issues you have with my posts, you can work out with your therapist.

Nick

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post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Some of us would argue that it is silly to suggest that the president, no matter what party he or she may be in, generates or is responsible for any jobs at all. Unless of course we are talking about patronage.

It would also be equally silly to take the smallest lack of growth, and project it out to huge job losses do to a lack of projected jobs. Both arguments, be they for or against Bush have been applied to him.

Nick

Then it's just as silly for a president, from any party, to take credit for the jobs situation. This President did just that. This president has said "his" tax cuts are improving the jobs situation. This president has said "his" plans are helping to put Americans back to work. If Bush want to take credit for the good then he's gonna wear the egg for the bad. Quite bitching about the bum deal Bush is getting over this because he's brought it upon himself by boasting about the great expansion prematurely.
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post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Some of us would argue that it is silly to suggest that the president, no matter what party he or she may be in, generates or is responsible for any jobs at all. Unless of course we are talking about patronage.

It would also be equally silly to take the smallest lack of growth, and project it out to huge job losses do to a lack of projected jobs. Both arguments, be they for or against Bush have been applied to him.

Nick

That's dodging the bullet if I ever saw it.Then why does Bush even mention the economy in his campaign material?

I see. When it's going good it's because of his tax cuts. When it's bad he has nothing to do with it.

Face it. The actions of the president affect the economy in a big way. If he makes moves that drag the economy down the jobs go with it.

By the way this abnormal, anemic, recovery has been going on for some time now.
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post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Some of us would argue that it is silly to suggest that the president, no matter what party he or she may be in, generates or is responsible for any jobs at all. Unless of course we are talking about patronage.

It would also be equally silly to take the smallest lack of growth, and project it out to huge job losses do to a lack of projected jobs. Both arguments, be they for or against Bush have been applied to him.

Nick

Still, I don't think he's breaking even.
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post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 
While I agree that the president doesn't have much impact on the short-term economy or jobs, Bush sold his tax cuts on helping the economy in the short-term. Those tax cuts started over 3 years ago, and have been increased twice since then. They clearly haven't caused the economy to start creating jobs - this recovery has had the slowest job growth of any recession in history I believe. If the tax cuts had turned the economy around, he might have an argument for racking up debt. If it didn't work, there's just no excuse at all.
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Actually I said the word "about" which implies it is an estimate.

You take the three months prior to this one. You get 625k divided by three and that is an average of 200k. If you take the prior four you get a bit under a million which averages about 250k a month. So the average has been going down and I did my best. Considering all the economists cited in these articles were estimating 200-300k, I didn't do too badly considering I don't do this for a living.

Any more issues you have with my posts, you can work out with your therapist.

Nick

In an argument like this the numbers matter. One could be of the wrong mind to suggest that the economy under bush is creating enough jobs for the growing population. And as you support the president for economic reasons, it must be made perfectly clear that his not so hands-off manhandling of the economy is not producing the results people (republicans) had wished that they would produced.

It is further evidence that the president is inept at bringing to bear the full glory of a republican dominated political scene about which so many republicans were foaming about the mouth. Yeah, republicans get things done -- like driving the us into the ground.
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post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by faust9
Then it's just as silly for a president, from any party, to take credit for the jobs situation. This President did just that. This president has said "his" tax cuts are improving the jobs situation. This president has said "his" plans are helping to put Americans back to work. If Bush want to take credit for the good then he's gonna wear the egg for the bad. Quite bitching about the bum deal Bush is getting over this because he's brought it upon himself by boasting about the great expansion prematurely.

Sure it's silly. But since job creation occurs pretty much all the time, they all take credit for it. Secondly, I don't believe I have "bitched" about the bum deal as you say. This thread started off asking about how the numbers were arrived at since they don't seem to follow each other. I added my two cents to that.

However I will tell you this about jobs. No one, be they Republican or Democrat is going to sound credible about exporting products instead of jobs while we have record levels of legal and illegal immigration (which keeps wages low and discourages unionization) and also both candidates supporting free trade instead of fair trade.

Those all contribute to American job losses and both candidates do nothing to address this matter. Even Nader won't address it properly.

With regard to income tax, I've definately supported lowering it because that will help lead back to the abolishment of it, which is what needs to be done. I've stated before and will again that we should charge admission to the world's greatest economy via tariffs and use that to pay for our needs. If an income tax is necessary, it should be a flat tax. Finally we need to get the goverment out of a lot of areas that they currently have to spend money on and do a sucktacular job.

Nick

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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
While I agree that the president doesn't have much impact on the short-term economy or jobs, Bush sold his tax cuts on helping the economy in the short-term. Those tax cuts started over 3 years ago, and have been increased twice since then. They clearly haven't caused the economy to start creating jobs - this recovery has had the slowest job growth of any recession in history I believe. If the tax cuts had turned the economy around, he might have an argument for racking up debt. If it didn't work, there's just no excuse at all.

Many of these tax cuts phase in, and in true political fashion, loads of them don't even start until the Bush second term or even until after he is out of office. Do a little reading in this area and you will see that all the cuts do not phase in until about 2010.

Also most reasonable looks at the debt have concluded that about 30% of it is related to tax cuts. The rest of it is related to out of control spending, which you know I have condemned both Republicans and Democrats about.

Nick

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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
Still, I don't think he's breaking even.

If you mean by breaking even that the economy during his watch did not generate as many jobs as it needed in order to deal with all the variables you mentioned above, you are probably right. Obviously it will be spun that the total number of jobs did increase, etc. Will the electorate hold Bush responsible for having say a 5.3-5.4% unemployment rate instead of the record low during Clinton? (what was it at the lowest about 4.1%?) That is much harder to tell. I've not heard 5.5% (or possibly lower by November) described as a painful recession or even as painful in any regard. You can call it spin if you want, but the reality is that by historical measures low 5's is considered pretty great. Sure it isn't record low, but will that be enough to cause people not to re-elect him? I doubt it.

I think if it were enough, the Democrats would be talking about it a lot more. Instead they are using a lot of resources to discredit Bush on his strongest issue. (terrorism)

Nick

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post #35 of 39
Here's just one way in many that the Bush administration is massaging job statistics:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...UGMJ5F97N1.DTL

A friend said the other day that there's definitely more jobs around...she's got 4 of them.
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post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by sammi jo
Here's just one way in many that the Bush administration is massaging job statistics:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...UGMJ5F97N1.DTL

A friend said the other day that there's definitely more jobs around...she's got 4 of them.

Talk about your urban legends. Why do I never encounter these "friends?" Why do even none of my renters who are all definately lower middle class not appear to be any of these "friends" either?

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Talk about your urban legends. Why do I never encounter these "friends?" Why do even none of my renters who are all definately lower middle class not appear to be any of these "friends" either?

Nick

You don't know any people who are working several part time jobs? C'mon now....
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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally posted by sammi jo
You don't know any people who are working several part time jobs? C'mon now....

Ummm...what would be the motivation for lying? I know the current work situation for not just my family and friends, but also for everyone who rents one of my houses or units. Both members of a family might work, but not a single one of them hold down multiple part time, or even part and full time jobs.

When I was in college I held down two part time jobs at various times. Mostly because one of the jobs was as a teaching assistant and intentionally limited me to 15-18 hours a week. I would take a second job at times, especially during holiday breaks to grab a few more hours.

But I'm not in college anymore, nor have I been full time for several years now. Even then my own situation was created by an artificial limitation with the one job. (teaching assistant) Most of my college friends worked one part time job or one full time job.

You are welcome to mention anything you have encountered to the contrary. I don't even care if it is just personal experiences of yourself and friends.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #39 of 39
Thread Starter 
I know a lot of college students with multiple jobs. I don't know how they do it.

Actually, come to think of it, I did have three jobs in college:
1. Get high.
2. Get laid.
3. Get Bs.
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AppleInsider › Forums › Other Discussion › AppleOutsider › PoliticalOutsider › What's the deal with the job statistics?