Bad news on the BLS front.

Lost in the news this morning was the Bureau of Labor Statistics report: 142K jobs, 5.1% unemployment, labor participation rate down to 62.4%. And the previous two months’ reports were adjusted downwards.  This is all rather bad news. In fact, as Bloomberg Business put it:

“When you look through all the details of the data, there just isn’t anything good to hang your hat on,” said Thomas Simons, a money-market economist at Jefferies LLC in New York. “It’s been years since we’ve seen such an unambiguously bad report.”

I had a bunch of half-understood stuff about interest rates written here, but it was indeed only half-understood and if you fully understand it you don’t need me nattering at you. Suffice it to say that the economy’s in neutral and it’s staying there for a while. Happy happy, joy joy…


BLS jobs report: 7.5% / 165K / 63.3%.

Remember how I was hoping for good news this morning?  Yeah, well, we didn’t get it.  From the National Journal:

The federal government’s latest snapshot of the unemployment rate offered few bright spots on Friday. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April—slightly better than March’s revised number of 138,000 jobs. Unemployment went down one percentage point to 7.5 percent, and health care, retail trade, and the food services industry added positions.

The glaring caveat to this jobs report is the huge number of Americans who remain out of the workforce. Called the labor force participation rate in wonk speak, that number held steady in April at 63.3 percent: the lowest level since 1979.

Continue reading BLS jobs report: 7.5% / 165K / 63.3%.

BLS: 88K jobs in March (gulp), 63.3% labor force participation rate (GULP!).

Oh, dear.

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March (+88,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined in retail trade.


The civilian labor force declined by 496,000 over the month, and the labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.3 percent.

…That’s not good. And, in case you were wondering: Continue reading BLS: 88K jobs in March (gulp), 63.3% labor force participation rate (GULP!).

Hey! Good news in this month’s job report! (For an esoteric value of ‘good.’)

No, despite ‘break even’ as the new definition of ‘good,’ and the overall stagnation of the economy, this is a good report

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, construction, and health care.

…if you’re a white guy.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (6.8 percent) declined in February while the rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (25.1 percent), blacks (13.8 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

If you’re not, well.  I’d offer my sympathies, but I’m a white guy: you’d probably throw something at me, just in case I was being smug.  Or ‘privileged,’ which is a term of art that can apparently change its definition without warning, and at random.

Moe Lane

PS: Labor participation rate at 63.5% percent; in layman’s terms, that translates as “the labor participation rate SUCKS.”

Tweet of the Day, I’m Sure Obama MEANS Well On The Economy edition.

Iowahawk noticed the exact same thing that I did.

George W. Bush’s highest unemployment rate was 7.8%. Barack Obama’s lowest rate, to date, is 7.9%.  Unlike many people out there, I think that Barack Obama tried very hard to get that rate down and did the best job that he was capable of, but it was apparently just too hard for him to personally manage.  I think that it’s time that somebody else got a shot at it.

Moe Lane

PS: Getting 171K jobs was  a good thing, of course.  We should always thank people for their efforts.

#rsrh And now (well, soon), this month’s BLS jobs report.

Sort of a starting pistol this year for the 2012 Presidential campaign; it’ll certainly be anticipated all across the land, as many media reports about last night are going to need to know whether it’s going to be… well.  It’ll either be slightly more cruddy than normal, slightly less cruddy than normal, or about as cruddy as normal – but that will have an effect on various front pages this morning.

I think that it was the Zero Hedge blog that noted that the President certainly knew last night what the BLS report was going to be this morning; it’ll be interesting to see whether he ended up telegraphing that and we didn’t see it at the time.
Continue reading #rsrh And now (well, soon), this month’s BLS jobs report.

#rsrh Hey, the BLS report is out!

Just now:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

Well, that’s… not great, but not too bad…

The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

OK, that’s bad.  That number represents half a million people leaving the working force (H/T: @cayankee).  And here’s the thing: those half million aren’t going to go live in a box by themselves for the next six months.  They’re going to be continuing on with their lives… and reminding other people that no, we’re not actually in a recovering economy.  Quite the contrary.

So I invite the administration to tout that 8.1% unemployment; because this isn’t sympathetic magic.  Over a third of the civilian workforce isn’t in fact, well, working: and while many of them can’t work, many of them can.  If there were jobs, which there are not.

#rsrh Good news on the job front: we’re all the way down to 8.3%!

Down .2 percent, 243K jobs added.  Looks like actual job growth, and not people giving up as usual.  Good news for the administration, although not that good:

…they’re still woefully underperforming their promises with regard to the economy.  Still, baby steps and all that, right?

#rsrh The single most alarming thing about the BLS report…

…is the possibility that this White House will read no further than the reduction of the U-3 rate down to 8.6%, and conclude that they’ve done something right.  When what instead happened here, based on general observations of people on my Twitter feed who know more about unemployment statistics than I do*, is that we’re seeing a combination of reduction in workforce, seasonal hiring, and revision of past numbers finally catching up with us.  If none of that sounds particularly great, well, it’s not.  The AP ‘s college-try spin to the contrary.

But enough negativity: if the White House would like to give the economy a real shot in the arm, there’s actually an easy way to do that.  TURN THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE PROJECT BACK ON.  And energy production generally.

Moe Lane

*There are quite a few people out there who qualify.