Archive for the ‘Strictly economics’ Category

Non-farm Payrolls

Friday, November 6th, 2009

yongestreetmissionThis week’s biggest report was released a few minutes ago.  Here are the summaries from ABC News and the Wall Street Journal.


190K Jobs Lost as Unemployment Rate Rises to 10.2 Percent, Highest Since April 1983 [8:35 a.m. ET]
The U.S. unemployment rate rose by more than expected in October to 10.2%, its highest level in more than 26 years, and employers cut more jobs than forecast. Nonfarm payrolls fell by 190,000 last month, with the largest job losses in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade. Economists had expected a 175,000 decrease.
 Immediate result:  S & P 500 futures are down by 0.60%.

Not surprisingly, the newsies did miss a few bits of critical information in their soundbytes, including at least one good bit.  (more…)


Unemployment and Revisionist Past and Future

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Take a look at the chart below.  It shows three unemployment measures going back to 1994.  The red line is the “Official” (quotations much called for here) rate, the one that the talking heads mention.  The gray line is the broadest measure of unemployment.  I referenced it in last week’s WR&O.  The blue line represents an estimate of the unemployment rate, as measured (and dispensed with) during the Clinton administration.  That measure included “discouraged” workers, those who had given up looking for work.  They weren’t only discouraged, they were discouraging, to the populace, so they were removed from the unemployment rolls until their attitudes shaped up.

Kindly note the current level of unemployment using that measure:  20+%, or 1 in 5.  If I’m not mistaken, reported unemployment, at one time in the ’30s reached 3 in 10, while the most commonly reported Great Depression unemployment rate was–envelope, please–20%.

This data came from John Williams’ excellent Shadow Government Statistics–thus, the “SGS” in the legend–website.  Available here or from the Blogroll on the home page.  Fantastic, if not depressing, stuff.

Chart of U.S. Unemployment

Chart courtesy of