While the headline numbers from today’s October employment report paint a picture of an economy gaining steam – especially the 204,000 jump in jobs, as reported by the establishment survey, the household survey portion of the report is exactly the opposite, with a steep plunge in employment level and what would have been a steep rise in unemployment, were it not for – you guessed it – another 720,000 workers mysteriously vanishing from the labor force. There has probably never been a monthly employment report in which the establishment survey and household survey have been so completely out-of-sync.
If the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) is to be believed, the civilian labor force hasn’t grown by one worker since October of 2008, when the labor force was 154.876 million workers. Five years later, in spite of the U.S. population growing by 11.5 million people (largely through the importation of foreign workers), the labor force still stands at 154.839 million. Not a single person added to the population in five years has need of a source of income. That’s just simply impossible. It’s an outright lie, something we’re learning that the Obama administration is comfortable with doing. The following chart is an update of what I call the “detachment from reality index” – the difference between the BLS calculation of unemployment, and a more realistic calculation in which the labor force grows in proportion to growth in the general population: Detachment from Reality Index.
In October, the employment level plunged by 735,000 workers to its lowest level since April. If the BLS hadn’t played games with the size of the labor force and kept it at a fixed percentage of the population, unemployment would have soared by 0.5% to 10.8%, the highest level since August of 2012 and the biggest jump since the depths of the recession in March, 2009. Here’s a spreadsheet of the data, taken directly from the BLS’s tables: Unemployment Calculation.
As a result of growth in the population coupled with the drop in employment level, the employment-to-population ratio (or per capita employment), fell by 0.3% to its worst level since August, 2012 and is only 0.5% higher than its worst level of the recession. Here’s the chart: Per Capita Employment.
The number of unemployed Americans jumped by 836,000 in October, only half of which can be explained by the government shutdown. At 17.4 million, the number of unemployed is the worst since August, 2012. Here’s the chart: Unemployed Americans.
Just add this picture of “an economy gaining steam” to the long list of other lies emanating from this administration – “if you like your insurance you can keep it,” “Benghazi wasn’t a terrorist attack,” “we’ll double exports in five years,” “I’ll renegotiate NAFTA,” “the trade agreement with South Korea is a big win for American workers,” – and on it goes. Is it any wonder that Obama’s handling of domestic issues has earned him disapproval ratings that are as bad as those earned by Bush through his bungling of the Iraq war?