Unemployment Falls Below 6%, Thanks to Vanishing Workers


This morning’s September employment report (link provided above) claims that the economy added 248,000 jobs in September and that unemployment fell to 5.9% (from 6.1% a month earlier).  Yet, per capita employment remained unchanged in September.  Here’s the chart:  Per Capita Employment.

So how does that happen?  Once again, another 100,000 workers vanished from the labor force at the same time that the population grew by over 200,000.  Thus, the reality is that unemployment didn’t change at all.  And the unemployment “detachment from reality index” – the difference between the government’s official unemployment level and a realistic reading that grows the labor force along with the population – rose to a near record level.  (Here’s the chart:  Detachment from Reality Index.)

It’s also interesting to note that, once again, manufacturing employment was flat (where is the “manufacturing renaissance” we keep hearing about?) and hourly earnings actually fell by one cent in September.


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