Friday, February 4, 2011


Finally, some good news on the jobless front...sort of, as the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 9.0%.

U.S. employment rose far less than expected in January, partly the result of severe snow storms that slammed large parts of the nation, but the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since April 2009.

Nonfarm payrolls grew just 36,000, the Labor Department said on Friday, far less than the 145,000 increase that economists had expected.

The government noted that severe weather could have affected construction payrolls, which dropped 32,000 last month. There were also large declines in the employment of couriers and messengers.

What this means of course is a crapload of Americans dropped out of the job market.  If you take out these "seasonal adjustments" the jobless rate jumped in January from December with both the U-3 and U-6 up a whopping seven-tenths of a percent, the U-6 literally erased half the gains made in the year since January of 2010 in just one month.

In other words, yeah, the job report is actually full of crap.  If the unadjusted rate is +0.7% and the adjusted rate is -0.4%, the adjustment itself is suspect.

[UPDATE] As is suspected, yeah, the non-labor force numbers bear that out.  Some 2.3 million people left the workforce pool in the last 12 months, and I'm betting quite a bit of it happened last month.  More and more Americans have given up on finding work again.  If we count the long-term discouraged numbers, the U-6 is close to 23-25%.

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