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Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:30 AM

Payroll employment increases by 157,000 in July; unemployment rate edges down to 3.9%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Economic News Release USDL-18-1240

Employment Situation Summary
Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, August 3, 2018

Technical information:
Household data: (202) 691-6378 * cpsinfo@bls.gov * www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data: (202) 691-6555 * cesinfo@bls.gov * www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact: (202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov


THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JULY 2018


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 157,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in health care and social assistance.

Household Survey Data

In July, the unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.9 percent, following an increase in June. The number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6.3 million in July. Both measures were down over the year, by 0.4 percentage point and 676,000, respectively. (See table A-1.)
....

The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent in July, was unchanged over the month and over the year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.5 percent, was little changed in July but has increased by 0.3 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)
....

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in July, compared with an average monthly gain of 203,000 over the prior 12 months. In July, job gains occurred in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in health care and social assistance. (See table B-1.)

Employment in professional and business services increased by 51,000 in July and has risen by 518,000 over the year. Over the month, employment edged up in temporary help services (+28,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs in July, with most of the gain in the durable goods component. Employment rose in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000), and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs.

In July, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 34,000. Health care employment continued to trend up over the month (+17,000) and has increased by 286,000 over the year. Hospitals added 7,000 jobs over the month. Within social assistance, individual and family services added 16,000 jobs in July and 77,000 jobs over the year.
....

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.65 in July. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised up from +244,000 to+268,000, and the change for June was revised up from +213,000 to +248,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 59,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 224,000 per month over the last 3 months.

_____________
The Employment Situation for August is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 7, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Read more: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm



* * * * *

[center]Facilities for Sensory Impaired[/center]

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

* * * * *

This is much lower than expected. I heard on the radio this morning estimates in the range of 190,000 to 200,000. May and June numbers were both revised up.

* * * * *

U.S. Expected to Add 190,000 Jobs in July

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/july-2018-jobs-report-analysis

Last Updated Aug 3, 2018 at 7:57 am ET

The U.S. is expected to add 190,000 jobs in July, a modest slowdown from June's rate of hiring. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 3.9% from 4%. Follow along as we dig into the numbers.

From the running comments:

4m
Is it the 1960s All Over Again in the Economy?
The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to multi-decade lows and there's little slack in the labor market, yet wage growth has barely begun to pick up pace and inflation has remained subdued. It's starting to look a little like the 1960s.
READ FULL ARTICLE
https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/july-2018-jobs-report-analysis

18m
What to Watch #5: No Degree, No Problem
Unemployment rates have been trending downward for workers of all education levels, but the jobless rate for workers 25 years and older with less than a high-school degree has fallen especially sharply over the past couple of years. In June, this rate ticked up to 5.5%, but was still down from a recent peak of 8.5% in September 2016. Will the unemployment rate for those without a high-school degree continue its sharp descent?
-- Sarah Chaney, Eric Morath

20m
What to Watch #4: Where Will Wages Rise?
Hourly wages were up 2.7% in June from a year earlier, in line with growth rates posted in recent months. Modest gains in pay have posed a puzzle to many economists, who expect a low unemployment rate to translate into faster pay growth. It's worth watching the breakdown of wages according to industry. In June, some industries with reported labor shortages, such as construction and leisure and hospitality, saw stronger wage growth, while others, like the transportation industry, experienced muted growth.
-- Sarah Chaney, Eric Morath

20m
What to Watch #3: Parsing the Participation Rate
The share of American adults ages 16 and over working or seeking work, known as the labor-force participation rate, ticked up by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9% in June. This rise in participation runs counter to the longer-running trend of an aging population that is less likely to work. Rising participation among underrepresented groups, such as African-Americans, suggest the economic expansion is spreading to pull more workers in from the sidelines. Watch in July's report for another rise in participation and what demographic groups are helping drive these gains.
-- Sarah Chaney, Eric Morath

22m
What to Watch #2: Hiring Hits a Sweet Spot
Through the first half of the year, employers added an average of 215,000 a jobs a month, an unexpected acceleration from last year's first-half average of 184,000 a month. Economists generally expect hiring to ease as it enters the later stages of an expansion when workers are in short supply, which a 4.0% unemployment rate would suggest. What might be even more unexpected is the industries that are leading the charge. According to an Indeed.com analysis, manufacturers are adding jobs at double last year's pace. And retailers are hiring an average of 12,000 workers a month this year, rather than cutting 7,000 jobs.
-- Sarah Chaney, Eric Morath

22m
What to Watch #1: Lower Jobless Rate
Watch for the unemployment rate to tick down after a jump to 4.0% in June. Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, have remained at historically low levels, supportive of strong labor market conditions. Further, concerns that tariffs willcause companies to hold back hiringhave yet to materialize in a widespread way. The question is, how low can unemployment fall without sparking overheating?
-- Sarah Chaney, Eric Morath

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Reply Payroll employment increases by 157,000 in July; unemployment rate edges down to 3.9% (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 OP
BumRushDaShow Aug 2018 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #2
Snellius Aug 2018 #3
djacq Aug 2018 #4
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #5
heaven05 Aug 2018 #13
yallerdawg Aug 2018 #6
progree Aug 2018 #15
yallerdawg Aug 2018 #17
progree Aug 2018 #18
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #7
NewJeffCT Aug 2018 #8
Sunlei Aug 2018 #11
Bengus81 Aug 2018 #9
Sunlei Aug 2018 #10
DemocratSinceBirth Aug 2018 #12
progree Aug 2018 #16
DemocratSinceBirth Aug 2018 #19
progree Aug 2018 #20
DemocratSinceBirth Aug 2018 #21
progree Aug 2018 #22
DemocratSinceBirth Aug 2018 #25
progree Aug 2018 #26
DemocratSinceBirth Aug 2018 #27
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #14
videohead5 Aug 2018 #23
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #24
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 2018 #28

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:34 AM

1. Right on time.



WaPo just sent the alert. This is below estimates if I recall correctly about some reports I saw yesterday.

TGIF!

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:40 AM

2. Thanks. Good morning.

The number is lower this month than expected. May and June numbers were revised up.

I couldn't sleep. Can't imagine why. Hint: it starts with a "t."

Thanks again. More to add......

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:41 AM

3. Odd irony: employment strong in part cuz of increased jobs in "social assistance."

More jobs at less pay and more costs only buys your way into the poor house.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:43 AM

4. Standby for the Orange Clown tweet!

He can’t resist bragging.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:44 AM

5. Links to earlier reports

[center]Past Performance is Not a Guarantee of Future Results.[/center]

Nonetheless, what is important is not this month's results, but the trend. Let’s look at some earlier numbers:

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in July 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 219,000 Jobs in July

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in June 2018:

U.S. Added 213,000 Jobs in June; Unemployment Ticks Up to 4%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in June 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 177,000 Jobs in June

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in May 2018:

U.S. economy extends its hiring spree, with a better than expected 223,000 new jobs in May

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in April 2018:

U.S. adds 204,000 private-sector jobs in April, ADP report shows

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in March 2018:

Payroll employment edges up by 103,000 in March; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in March 2018:

Manufacturing Industry Has Strongest Jobs Increase in Three Years

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in February 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 313,000 in February; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in February 2018:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 235,000 Jobs in February

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in January 2018:

Payroll employment increases by 200,000 in January; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in January 2018:

U.S. Private Sector Added 234,000 Jobs in January

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in December 2017:

Payroll employment increases by 148,000 in December; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in December 2017:

U.S. private sector adds 250,000 jobs in December, biggest rise since March

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in November 2017:

Payroll employment increases by 228,000 in November; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in November 2017:

I didn't get around to it.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in October 2017:

Payroll employment rises by 261,000 in October; unemployment rate edges down to 4.1%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in October 2017:

ADP says 235,000 private-sector jobs added in October

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in September 2017:

Unemployment rate falls to 4.2% in September; payroll employment changes little (-33,000)

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in September 2017:

Companies Add Fewest U.S. Workers in Nearly a Year, ADP Says

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in August 2017:

Payroll employment increases by 156,000 in August; unemployment rate changes little (4.4%)

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in August 2017:

Private-sector job growth surges in August with a little Amazon assist, ADP says

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in July 2017:

Payroll employment increases by 209,000 in July; unemployment rate changes little at 4.3%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in July 2017:

U.S. private sector adds 178,000 jobs in July: ADP

Bureau of Labor Statistics, for employment in June 2017:

Payroll employment rises by 222,000 in June; unemployment rate changes little at 4.4%

ADP[sup]®[/sup] (Automatic Data Processing), for employment in June 2017:

ADP Data on Private Hiring Suggest U.S. Job Market Is Moderating

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:16 AM

13. thank you

 

I needed this....

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:44 AM

6. Fewer new hires and lower unemployment rate?

The only way that works is if people are dropping out of the workforce.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:53 AM

15. Different surveys (why the unemployment rate fell 0.1% when payroll jobs increased by only +157,000)

The +157,000 jobs is from the Establishment Survey.

The unemployment rate, the number of employed and unemployed, labor participation rate and civilian labor force and civilian non-institutional population and more is from the Household Survey.

The number of employed (Household Survey) went up by a fantastical 389,000 -- yes, way different than the 157,000 in the Establishment Survey. Monthly changes in the Household Survey are extremely volatile. It is common for the two surveys to be radically different in month-to-month changes, although over time they average out to be about the same (well, currently the Employed is 155,965,000 which is 4.6% higher than the 149,128,000 establishment survey number of employees)

The number of unemployed went down by 284,000 in July.

The civilian labor force = employed + unemployed. It went up by 389,000-284,000 = 105,000 in July.
The unemployment rate = unemployed / civilian labor force.

Table A has some of the key numbers in the Household Survey. Table B has some of the key numbers in the Establishment Survey.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

============================================
This one from December talks about incredible volatility of the Household Survey numbers and compares to the somewhat larger and less volatile Establishment Survey.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=1935196

=============================================
On EDIT - i almost forgot: May and June were revised up by 59,000 jobs. Counting that, the total number of payroll jobs in July was 157,000 + 59,000 = 216,000 more than reported in the jobs report of a month ago.

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Response to progree (Reply #15)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 09:47 AM

17. I'm gonna stick with the BLS report (same every month, same surveys every month).

Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to the labor force decreased by 287,000 in July
to 1.8 million, following an increase in June. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked
but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search.)

Looks like the correct answer is right there in the BLS comments.

And after the numbers were added to the May and June totals, how do you get to add them to July? Nice try!

I'm sure if there were better results, the American government would be publishing them for all to see, not leaving it to "bloggers" to correct the record.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #17)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 10:27 AM

18. Yes - same survey as the decline in the number of reentrants is the 389,000 increase in the employed

Last edited Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:37 AM - Edit history (2)

I'm gonna stick with the BLS report (same every month, same surveys every month).


First, both the Establishment Survey and the Household Survey reports are produced by the BLS. There isn't one that is a "BLS report" and one that is not.

OK, let's discuss the Household Survey which produces the reentrants figure that you are highlighting, as well as the labor force numbers, the employed, the unemployed, the unemployment rate, and many other numbers.

The decrease in the number of reentrants to the labor force affect the number of unemployed. Reentrants are just a small part of the unemployed -- those that began a job search in the previous month after having not been in the labor force for awhile. As I said in #15, according to the Household Survey, in July compared to June:

+389,000 Employed
-284,000 Unemployed
-------------------------
+105,000 Labor Force = Employed + Unemployed.

Can you explain why you believe the "reentrants" number from the Household Survey but not the number of Employed in the same survey? (Actually they aren't in conflict -- those that started looking for work in the prior month and found jobs are counted as Employed, not as reentrants) Or do you believe the number of Employed increased by 389,000? Really?

And after the numbers were added to the May and June totals, how do you get to add them to July? Nice try!


Sigh, according to Establishment Survey figures of non-farm payroll employment.

In last month's report (for June) that came out July 6
148,912,000

In the report that came out today
149,128,000

Difference: 216,000.

That was the point I was making -- that there are 216,000 more non-farm payroll jobs being reported today then there were during last month's report on July 6. This difference is the result of the 157,000 added in July plus the upward revisions to the two prior months. I'm sorry if you think I was playing a trick -- I think I explained it clearly in #15, but, oh, well.

LATE EDIT: 1236p ET - By the way, the reason I brought up the +216,000 jobs number (including prior month revisions) was as an attempt to partially explain why the unemployment rate dropped even though the headline jobs number, +157,000, was kind of anemic -- namely that job growth in prior 2 months was under-reported by 59,000. I wasn't trying to boost Caligula's job creation numbers, just trying to come up with one other explanation for peculiar results (besides that the Household Survey is so volatile and statistically noisy that the month-to-month changes are more noise than signal).

I was also trying to explain that there are two jobs reports that came out today -- The Establishment Survey and The Household Survey, both by the BLS. And that they are separate surveys. And frequently give much different pictures of changes in employment, e.g. +157,000 vs. +389,000 as they did today. The former is considered much more reliable than the latter -- not just by me, but by the BLS and all economists that I have ever read that compare the two --

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=1935196

If you want to believe the 389,000 number, that's fine

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:47 AM

7. Additional links:

Sometimes you can read articles in The Wall Street Journal. without a subscription, and sometimes you can't. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

U.S. Expected to Add 190,000 Jobs in July

* * * * *

People often wonder how in the world the BLS comes up with all this information. This article from January 2018 will help explain things:

Monthly Labor Review

JANUARY 2018

The Current Population Survey—tracking unemployment in the United States for over 75 years

For more than three-quarters of a century, the Current Population Survey has been a vital tool for providing information on U.S. unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article highlights major developments in the survey’s history.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) has been conducted for more than three-quarters of a century.1 From the outset, the main purpose of the survey has been to gather information on the employment status of the U.S. population, with an emphasis on the measurement of unemployment. CPS data have been used by policymakers and others to gauge both the degree of labor market weakness during recessions and the strength of the job market in economic expansions. More than 900 monthly reports on national employment and unemployment have been issued since the survey began in March 1940.

The survey also has been used to provide a wealth of information on a wide range of other subjects—some related to the labor market and some unrelated—through supplemental questions to the basic survey instrument. Over the years, supplements to the CPS have been used to collect data on topics ranging from income and worker displacement to tobacco use and participation in the arts.

The main objective of the CPS, however, has always been to measure unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article summarizes some of the major developments in achieving this goal over the past three-quarters of a century.
....

* * * * *

Other useful links:

From the BLS Twitter account:

Payroll employment increases by 157,000 in July; unemployment rate edges down to 3.9% https://go.usa.gov/vrK #JobsReport #BLSdata



See our interactive graphics on today’s #JobsReport http://go.usa.gov/cn5B4 #BLSdata #DataViz



More charts and analysis on the July nonfarm payroll employment numbers http://go.usa.gov/4UqY #JobsReport #BLSdata



* * * * *

We still don't have a BLS commissioner. The acting commissioner has been in that position for, gee, at least 16 months. Here's his statement, which is the fast and dirty thing that the TV news anchors can recite:

Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

Statement of

William J. Wiatrowski
Acting Commissioner
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Friday, August 3, 2018

....
Incorporating revisions for May and June, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 59,000, monthly job gains have averaged 224,000 over the past 3 months.
....


* * * * *

It used to be that you could get free access to articles in The Wall Street Journal. by going in through TWSJ.'s Twitter account or the Twitter accounts of the authors:

How to get around the paywall to read articles in The Wall Street Journal.:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10141767325#post6

For free access to articles in The Wall Street Journal., trying going in through the authors' Twitter feeds:

This trick doesn't seem to work anymore, but you might be able to get in if they've slipped up. Here are those accounts:

* * * * *

The Wall Street Journal.: @WSJ
https://twitter.com/wsj

Wall Street Journal

Breaking news and features from the WSJ.

* * * * *

Ben Leubsdorf: @BenLeubsdorf
https://twitter.com/BenLeubsdorf

I cover the economy at @WSJ. @ConMonitorNews, @AP, @the_herald alum. DC native. Hyperactive news omnivore. Also I like burritos. ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com

* * * * *

Josh Zumbrun: ‎@JoshZumbrun
https://twitter.com/JoshZumbrun

National economics correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Covering the world's usual state of greed and disorder, confusion and apathy. josh.zumbrun@wsj.com

* * * * *

Nick Timiraos: @NickTimiraos
https://twitter.com/NickTimiraos

National economics correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

Please look at the tweets, as Nick Timiraos likes to slice and dice the data every which way. Also, link to the "11 charts " article from his Twitter feed to get past TWSJ.'s paywall.

* * * * *

Jeffrey Sparshott: @jeffsparshott
https://twitter.com/jeffsparshott

Jeffrey.Sparshott@wsj.com

* * * * *

Paul Vigna: @paulvigna
https://twitter.com/paulvigna
Markets, bitcoin, and the zombie apocalypse.

* * * * *

Eric Morath: @EricMorath
https://twitter.com/EricMorath

Eric.Morath@wsj.com
I'm a Wall Street Journal economy reporter, dad, husband and Spartan for life. eric.morath@wsj.com

Washington DC

blogs.wsj.com/economics/

* * * * *

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:49 AM

8. 157,000 jobs kind of sucks

the economy needs to create around 150,000 to 175,000 jobs per month just to break even with a growing population. This is at the bottom of the break even level.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:02 AM

11. 3,140 'jobs' per state does kind of suck doesn't it.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 07:57 AM

9. 157,000 jobs is ALL with this BOOMING economy??

Last edited Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:42 AM - Edit history (1)

When they were that low under Obama the Republicans peed their pants wanting to get on talk shows to tell all about a economy that was at a standstill.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:00 AM

10. curious if 20 cent an hour prison workers & million yr CEO are included in average hourly.

when will Congress raise the $7.25 an hour Federal minimum wage? it's been many, many years. A states employers have to base pay on the Federal minimum wage.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:06 AM

12. The Labor Force Participation Rate is actually lower now than Obama's last full month in office

!

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 09:16 AM

16. LFPR: Dec 2016: 62.7%, Jan 2017: 62.9%, July 2018: 62.9%

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

So it's actually up 0.2 percentage points from the last full Obama month (December 2016) and stagnant since the inaugural month of January 2017.

But a lot of the LFPR decline is due to boomer retirements.

Yallerdawg and I had a big roundy-round about that a few days ago, where I also looked at the so-called "prime age" workforce age 25-54 (which is unaffected by boomer retirements) :

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1116&pid=83215

2016: December: 81.4

` ` ` Jan ` Feb `Mar `Apr May Jun ` Jul `Aug `Sep Oct Nov Dec
2017 81.5 81.7 81.7 81.7 81.6 81.6 81.7 81.6 81.8 81.6 81.7 81.9
2018 81.8 82.2 82.1 82.0 81.8 82.0 82.1

As the post explains (and includes a graph thru June 2018), it's an upturn that began in the Obama administration, and perhaps is slowing down a bit in the Caligula admin.

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Response to progree (Reply #16)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 10:40 AM

19. I think we are describing it differently

Less people are working today, as per the LFPR, than in Obama's last full month in office.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 10:43 AM

20. The LFPR is higher in July (62.9%) than in Obama's last full month of office, Dec 2016 (62.7%)

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Less people are working today, as per the LFPR, than in Obama's last full mopnth in office.


That would be true if 62.9% was less than 62.7%. If.

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Response to progree (Reply #20)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 10:55 AM

21. I looked at it too fast. 62.7 62.9.

The same amount of people are working today, as per the LFPR, as when Donald Trump was inaugurated:

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Republicans instructed us that was the most important measure of employment. It hasn't budged. Even if we go with the 12/17 figure of 62.7%, an increase of two tenth of one percent is unimpressive. A lot of people in their fifties and sixties left the labor force during The Great Recession and they're never coming back.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #21)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:04 AM

22. Yup on the LFPR stagnation:

Even if we go with the 12/17 figure of 62.7%, an increase of two tenth of one percent is unimpressive. A lot of people in their fifties and sixties left the labor force during The Great Recession and they're never coming back.

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Response to progree (Reply #22)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:29 AM

25. That's where they got the bogus 40% unemployment claim.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #25)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:46 AM

26. And the "94 million jobless Americans" that Trump talked about in his campaign

but haven't heard a word about since ...

Not in Labor Force (NILF): http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15000000

By month, in thousands:

2016: 94010 93766 93515 94049 94662 94421 94413 94340 94357 94621 94996 95006
2017: 94364 94248 94179 94407 95038 94743 94684 94759 94480 95395 95416 95512
2018: 95665 95012 95335 95745 95915 95502 95598

Interestingly, it's now "95 million jobless Americans", not 94 million like during the campaign.

Not in Labor Force, Wants Job: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15026639

5,163,000 in July 2018, 5.4% of the NILF

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Response to progree (Reply #26)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:58 AM

27. What can you do ?

Some people will believe anything.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 08:46 AM

14. Analysis and charts at The Wall Street Journal.

Usually requires a subscription. Maybe you can see them.

July Jobs Report by the Numbers

9:02 AM EST AUG 3, 2018 By Eric Morath

https://twitter.com/EricMorath
Eric.Morath@wsj.com

U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9%. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 190,000 new jobs and a 3.9% unemployment rate. Here are some key figures from Friday’s Labor Department report.

Jobs Data in 8 Charts

By Josh Zumbrun and Jeffrey Sparshott

https://twitter.com/JoshZumbrun
josh.zumbrun@wsj.com

https://twitter.com/jeffsparshott
Jeffrey.Sparshott@wsj.com

Aug 3, 2018 9:17 am ET

U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell back to 3.9% in July. Over the past year, the number of jobs increased by 1.6%. That’s down slightly from last month, and the rate has gradually been trending downward since 2015. Hourly wages rose 2.7%, while weekly wages rose 3%. Both figures are down somewhat since last month. {…}

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:05 AM

23. This is no better than

Obama's economy in fact it's worse.

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Response to videohead5 (Reply #23)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 11:10 AM

24. I do this just about every month. There have been a few exceptions.

I link to the monthly threads going back for years. Here's this month's link.

What you see this month is the continuation of a trend that has been in place since about 2011. We hit rock bottom in March of 2009, and it took a while to dig out of that. Once we hit 2011, things hit a steady state. Sometimes the numbers are high, and sometimes the number are low, but the trend is, for the most part, consistent.

Here is the chart from the ADP report for July showing the BLS numbers vs. the ADP numbers:

Historical Trend
Change in Total Nonfarm Private Employment



{CHART} Historical Trend - Change in Total Nonfarm Private Employment

Where's the "worse" part?

Thanks for writing.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2018, 12:15 PM

28. The mind-numbing rant, based on a version posted on the first Friday in September 2016:

I used to run this every month in the commentary in the zeroeth post. It explains just about every aspect of the monthly report.

[center]Facilities for Sensory Impaired[/center]

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.


[center]Introduction[/center]

Good morning, Freepers and DUers alike. I especially welcome our good friends from across the aisle. You're paying for this information too, so I am absolutely delighted to have you participate in this thread. Please, everyone, put aside your differences long enough to digest the information. After that, you can engage in your usual donnybrook.

Full disclosure: I do not work for BLS, nor am I friends with anyone over there. I'm just someone who appreciates the work they do. My sole connection with the agency is that I've been in the building to pick up some publications.

Thank you for being a part of this thread.

If you don't have the time to study the report thoroughly, here is the news in a nutshell:

Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

It is easy to find one paragraph, or one sentence, or one datum in this report that will support the most outlandish of conclusions, from "the sky is falling" to "we'll have blue skies, nothing but blue skies, from now on." Easy, but disingenuous.

Every month, you can find something in the report that will cause you concern. Take the information in context. Consider not just this month’s data, but the trend.

Please take the time to look at progree's not-to-be-missed thread containing his thoughtful analysis, updated monthly. Here is the latest version:

Economic Statistics with links to official sources, data rev 12/2/16, notes added 10/28/17

Thank you so much for that, progree.

Let's begin with a couple of questions:


[center]What Is the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
Why Does It Release All These Numbers Every Month?
[/center]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

The BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, and impartiality in both subject matter and presentation. To avoid the appearance of partiality, the dates of major data releases are scheduled more than a year in advance, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.

[font color="red"]New material, added August 29, 2016:[/font] Print title, Washington Post, Saturday, March 10, 2012, front page, above the fold: "Watching the clock: Monthly data release is an economic, political obsession timed to the nanosecond"

‘Jobs Day’: Monthly release of employment data an economic, political obsession

By Eli Saslow
http://twitter.com/elisaslow

March 9, 2012

The release of employment numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has long been a ritual in Washington, but lately it has turned into an obsession during an election year defined by economic instability. Once each month, a nondescript government agency compiles and releases 24 tables of economic data that have come to define the 2012 election and so much else. Republican presidential candidates turn the numbers into speeches. The president’s staff monitors how they affect his approval rating. The Federal Reserve reevaluates interest rates. Investors prepare for the stock market to rise or fall, sometimes swinging in value by $150 billion in the minutes after the report is released.
....

The raw data had arrived at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), like always, on Wednesday the week before the report’s release: millions of characters representing survey information from 55,000 households; and then, a few days later, monthly payroll data from 486,000 businesses. Kosanovich’s boss posted a two-page schedule on the office wall, detailing the tasks ahead for a team of more than 20 economists. They would be required to make a series of six deadlines. Their work would undergo 15 fact checks and then 15 clearance reviews. They would sit together in a windowless conference room and read aloud from their eventual creation, a three-page news release and 24 data tables, debating commas and verbs for hours on end.

They would do it all with absolute discretion during an eight-day security lockdown, signing confidentiality agreements each morning, encrypting their computers and locking data into a safe every time they walked 10 yards away to use a bathroom. “Is your workstation secure?” asked a sign in the hallway. They all remembered the last security miscue, in November 2008 — the accidental transmission of some data to one wire service a full 25 seconds before the report’s scheduled release, an incident that had necessitated a series of internal investigations and revisions.

“We always tape paper over the windows of the conference room or draw the shades,” Kosanovich said about her typical routine during a lockdown. She made a habit of refraining from answering phone calls or e-mails from unknown numbers and never discussing data outside her office. For eight days, nobody visited her team’s floor at BLS without a security clearance. The custodial staff did not empty their trash until the report was released.
....


[center]Household Survey vs. Establishment Survey[/center]

From the February 10, 2011, DOL Newsletter:

Take Three

Secretary Solis answers three questions about how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment rates.

How does BLS determine the unemployment rate and the number of jobs that were added each month?

BLS uses two different surveys to get these numbers. The household survey, or Current Population Survey (CPS), involves asking people, from about 60,000 households, a series of questions to assess each person in the household's activities including work and searching for work. Their responses give us the unemployment rate. The establishment survey, or Current Employment Statistics (CES), surveys 140,000 employers about how many people they have on their payrolls. These results determine the number of jobs being added or lost.

[font color="red"]New material, added March 9, 2018:[/font]

People often wonder how in the world the BLS comes up with all this information. This article from two months ago will help explain things:

Monthly Labor Review

JANUARY 2018

The Current Population Survey—tracking unemployment in the United States for over 75 years

For more than three-quarters of a century, the Current Population Survey has been a vital tool for providing information on U.S. unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article highlights major developments in the survey’s history.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) has been conducted for more than three-quarters of a century.1 From the outset, the main purpose of the survey has been to gather information on the employment status of the U.S. population, with an emphasis on the measurement of unemployment. CPS data have been used by policymakers and others to gauge both the degree of labor market weakness during recessions and the strength of the job market in economic expansions. More than 900 monthly reports on national employment and unemployment have been issued since the survey began in March 1940.

The survey also has been used to provide a wealth of information on a wide range of other subjects—some related to the labor market and some unrelated—through supplemental questions to the basic survey instrument. Over the years, supplements to the CPS have been used to collect data on topics ranging from income and worker displacement to tobacco use and participation in the arts.

The main objective of the CPS, however, has always been to measure unemployment and other aspects of labor market performance. This article summarizes some of the major developments in achieving this goal over the past three-quarters of a century.
....


[center]Complaint Department[/center]

I post this information on a nonpartisan basis. I am not here to make elected officials of any party or persuasion look good. I am certain that the people who compile these data are of the same outlook. They are civil servants. They do not work for a party; they work for you, the American people.

My only contribution is to cut and paste a few paragraphs from the BLS and then, in the commentary, link to some sources that I feel are trustworthy. I hope people come away with a better understanding of the data after reading this thread. Once again, I do not work for BLS, but I will nonetheless try to assist if I can.

If you feel the Bureau of Labor Statistics is handing out bunk, start here:

Point of Contact for Complaints Concerning Information Quality

Affected persons who believe that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has disseminated information that does not meet its guidelines or those of the Department of Labor or Office of Management and Budget, and who wish to file a formal complaint may send their complaint by mail, e-mail, or fax to:

Division of Management Systems
Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Department of Labor
2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Room 4080
Washington, D.C., 20212-0001
E-mail: dataqa@bls.gov
Fax: (202) 691-5111

Complainants should:

Identify themselves and indicate where and how they can be reached;
Identify, as specifically as possible, the information in question;
Indicate how they are affected by the information about which they are complaining;
Carefully describe the nature of the complaint, including an explanation of why they believe the information does not comply with OMB, Departmental, or agency-specific guidelines; and
Describe the change requested and the reason why the agency should make the change.

Failure to include this information may result in a complainant not receiving a response to the complaint or greatly reducing the usefulness or timeliness of any response. Complainants should be aware that they bear the burden of establishing that they are affected persons and showing the need and justification for the correction they are seeking, including why the information being complained about does not comply with applicable guidelines.


[center]How Do You Define Unemployment?
The Large Print Giveth, and the Fine Print Taketh Away.
[/center]

Long ago, a DUer pointed out that, if I'm going to post the link to the press release, I should include the link to all the tables that provide additional ways of examining the data. Specifically, I should post a link to Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization. Table A-15 includes those who are not considered unemployed, on the grounds that they have become discouraged about the prospects of finding a job and have given up looking. Here is that link:

Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Also, hat tip, Recursion: How the Government Measures Unemployment

[font color="red"]New material, added August 8, 2016:[/font]

This appeared at the top of page A2 in the Wednesday, July 27, 2016, print edition of The Wall Street Journal. as "Jobless Picture is Open to Interpretation."

Jobless Picture is Open to Interpretation

Gauges used to measure unemployment vary in how they define who is out of work {print: "Political campaigns clash over different ways of measuring unemployment"}



By Josh Zumbrun
josh.zumbrun@wsj.com
@JoshZumbrun

July 26, 2016 7:56 p.m. ET

Because political campaigns can rise and fall on the health of the economy, spats often flare over the gauges used to measure growth and unemployment.

The latest dust-up, raised by the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, focuses on the monthly employment numbers. A long streak of hiring has nudged the jobless rate down to 4.9%. ... Donald Trump Jr., the nominee’s son, recently criticized the official statistics as “artificial numbers…massaged to make the existing economy look good.”

The nominee himself has said unemployment is far higher than the Labor Department’s headline 4.9% rate would suggest, part of his message that the economy is in a dire state. After he won the New Hampshire primary in February, Mr. Trump called the official jobless figures “phony” and said the real number could be as high as 42%.

This isn’t the first time people have cast aspersions on the jobs numbers in an election year, but the Trump claim is also part of a larger discussion over how best to assess the health of the labor market.

The following link to Barron's might not work for everyone. See progree's tips.[/font] From the July 20, 2015, issue of Barron's:

Refresher Course: Inside the Jobless Numbers

Are we undercounting the unemployment numbers—or overcounting? How the BLS gathers and calculates the numbers, and why it matters.

By Gene Epstein
July 18, 2015

The unemployment rate has never been the object of as much attention from the markets and the media as it is now, sparked by the keen interest taken in its monthly fluctuations by policy makers at the Federal Reserve.

Despite the heightened focus, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about how the rate is calculated. Some people assume the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the rate from the unemployment-insurance rolls. On that basis, they fault the BLS for undercounting the unemployed. But that’s just one myth among many about this cornerstone measure of economic pain and labor-market slack.

To estimate the unemployment rate, the BLS actually relies on the monthly Current Population Survey conducted for it by the Census Bureau. While the data are highly imperfect in their own way, we think the Federal Reserve is right to view the official unemployment rate as the best available information, while also keeping its eye on ancillary measures of “labor underutilization.”

In fact, a close look at BLS methods suggests that, if anything, the official unemployment rate may be overcounting rather than undercounting the unemployed.


[font color="red"]New material:[/font] In August 2015, DUers whatthehey and progree got into a 1995 report from economists John E. Bregger and Steven E. Haugen. The .pdf is unfortunately an image and thus challenging as a source of quotes. Trying to find it in a format that does make for easy copying, I was led to this:

Alternative Unemployment Rates: Their Meaning and Their Measure March 12, 2014


[center]Why Won't You Talk About the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR)?[/center]

Every month in certain circles, someone will cite the labor force participation rate as a cause for concern. Let's look at that right now.

[font color="red"]New material, added September 30, 2016:[/font]

September 2016

Labor force participation: what has happened since the peak?

The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older that is working or actively looking for work. It is an important labor market measure because it represents the relative amount of labor resources available for the production of goods and services. After rising for more than three decades, the overall labor force participation rate peaked in early 2000 and subsequently trended down. In recent years, the movement of the baby-boom population into age groups that generally exhibit low labor force participation has contributed to the decline in the overall participation rate. From 2000 to 2015, most of the major demographic groups saw a decrease in labor force participation. Teenagers experienced the largest drop in participation, which coincided with a rise in their school enrollment rate. Young adults 20 to 24 years also showed a decline in labor force participation, but the decrease was not as steep as that for teenagers. The labor force participation rate of women 25 to 54 years also fell, with the decrease more pronounced for women who did not attend college. The labor force participation rate of men 25 to 54 years continued its long-term decline. As in the past, the decrease in participation among men with less education was greater than that of men with more education. However, labor force participation rates of men and women 55 years and older rose from 2000 to 2009 and subsequently leveled off.

[font color="red"]New material, added July 31, 2016:[/font]

Title in the print edition of the Washington Post, page A17, Wednesday, July 27, 2016: "The unemployment-rate 'conspiracy' that isn't"

A popular conspiracy theory is spreading in the Trump family. It’s totally false.

By Matt O'Brien July 26
matthew.obrien@washpost.com
@ObsoleteDogma

The unemployment rate is not a conspiracy. It is not manipulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And anyone who suggests otherwise is either uninformed, or trying to misinform others.

Which is to say that you shouldn't listen to Donald Trump & Co. For a year now, the alleged billionaire has insisted that the "real" unemployment rate is something like 42 percent instead of the 4.9 percent it actually is. He hasn't said how he's gotten this — maybe it's from the same "Link to tweet
" target="_blank">extremely credible source" who told him President Obama's birth certificate was fake? — but the simplest explanation is that he's just ballparking how many adults don't work. That's 40.4 percent right now. The problem with using that number, though, is that it counts college students and stay-at-home parents and retirees as being equally "unemployed" as people who are actively looking for work but can't find any. So it doesn't tell us too much, at least not on its own, unless you think it's a problem that we have more 70-year-olds than we used to.

Or unless conspiracy theories are one of your favorite accessories, as seems to be the case with the father, and now the son, Donald Trump Jr. On Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that the official unemployment numbers are "artificial" ones that are "massaged to make the existing economy look good" and "this administration look good."
....



Source: BLS

....
The boring truth is that the economy is in a lot better shape than it was when Obama took office, but that it could be in better shape still. The recovery, in other words, still has a ways to go. But that's a lot different from saying that we have 40 percent unemployment and that the government is trying to cover it up. That just suggests you don't understand — or don't want to accurately describe — how stats work and you don't know how to look up the ones you think the BLS is hiding. ... It's not what you'd expect from a major party presidential candidate.

[font color="red"]New material, added June 27, 2016:[/font]

Wonkblog

[link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/20/why-americas-men-arent-working/|
Why America’s men aren’t working]

By Ylan Q. Mui June 20

The national unemployment rate has fallen by more than half since the nation emerged from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It peaked at 10 percent in 2010 and stood at just 4.7 percent last month.

That’s mostly good news: Private employers have added more than 14 million jobs. About 2 million people have been out of a job for six months or longer, far too many but only about a quarter of the number of long-term unemployed people seven years ago. By almost every measure, the labor market has made incredible progress.

But there’s one statistic that has been vexing economists. The size of the nation’s workforce -- known as the labor force participation rate -- continues to fall. Since the start of the downturn, the percentage of that population that has a job or is looking for one has dropped more than 3 percentage points, to 62.6 percent, a level not seen since the 1970s.

{America’s jobs market has had a great 2016. Will it last?}

The problem is particularly pronounced among men between the ages of 25 and 54, traditionally considered the prime working years. Their participation rate has been declining for decades, but the drop-off accelerated during the recession. The high mark was 98 percent in 1954, and it now stands at 88 percent. A new analysis from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, slated for release Monday, found that the United States now has the third-lowest participation rate for “prime-age men” among the world’s developed countries.
....



....
People in prison are not counted as part of the population for the purposes of labor market statistics. At first blush, that would actually boost the participation rate: A smaller population means the share in the workforce is larger. But in reality, there are immense and well-documented barriers to the job market for workers once they leave prison. And the gloomy prospects of the formerly incarcerated outweigh the statistical benefit of having a large prison population.



....
Ylan Q. Mui is a financial reporter at The Washington Post covering the Federal Reserve and the economy. Follow @ylanmui

[font color="red"]New material, added January 2016:[/font] People who are not in the labor force: why aren't they working?

Beyond the Numbers

December 2015 | Vol. 4 / No. 15

EMPLOYMENT & UNEMPLOYMENT

People who are not in the labor force: why aren't they working?

By Steven F. Hipple

People who are neither working nor looking for work are counted as “not in the labor force,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2000, the percentage of people in this group has increased. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) provide some insight into why people are not in the labor force. The ASEC is conducted in the months of February through April and includes questions about work and other activities in the previous calendar year. For example, data collected in 2015 are for the 2014 calendar year, and data collected in 2005 are for the 2004 calendar year.1 In the ASEC, people who did not work at all in the previous year are asked to give the main reason they did not work. Interviewers categorize survey participants’ verbatim responses into the following categories: ill health or disabled; retired;2 home responsibilities; going to school; could not find work;3 and other reasons.

This Beyond the Numbers article examines data on those who were not in the labor force during 2004 and 2014 and the reasons they gave for not working. The data are limited to people who neither worked nor looked for work during the previous year.

This July 2014 report from the Council of Economic Advisers addresses the LFPR:

THE LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE SINCE 2007: CAUSES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

(Hat tip, Adrahil: Look deeper.)

[font color="red"]New material:[/font] Here's a Power Point (or equivalent) presentation given by Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, before the National Press Club on August 6, 2015. If you go to the next-to-the-last slide, you'll see that the long-term projected trend is down:

"Trends in Labor Force Participation", 8/6/15

(Hat tip, progree: Over the past month, over the past year, and since February 2010)

[font color="red"]New material:[/font] Paul Vigna had a comment about the LFPR in the December 4, 2015, MoneyBeat column about the November figures:

8:55 am

Breaking down the participation rate
by Paul Vigna

Here’s what we mean when we talk about the participation rate and employment-population ratio.

There are 251.7 million people in the “civilian noninstitutional population,” according to the BLS (this is all contained in this chart). This is the number of people over age 16 who are not in jail or health-care facilities or the military.

Of that group, 157.3 million comprise the civilian labor force. The ratio of the second group to the first is 62.5%. This is the labor force participation rate, the number of people who could be in the labor force – either working or looking for a job – who are in the labor force.

There are 149.3 million people working. The ratio of that group to the overall civilian population is 59.3%. This the employment-population ratio, the number of people who could be working who actually are working.

Why do these number matter? Well, if you just looked at the raw data, you’d see the numbers rising, more or less, month after month. That’s not because the economy’s so rip-roaring, but because the number of people in the nation keeps rising. So you need the ratios to get a sense of how strong the labor force really is.

The labor-force participation rate remains near multi-decade lows, and whether that’s due to demographics, as in people retiring, or weak job opportunities, or whatever, it points to one sort of unavoidable problem: the economy cannot grow at its full potential if you simply don’t have enough people contributing.

Oh, and for the record, there are 94.4 million people not in the labor force.

[font color="red"]New material, added December 2015:[/font]

3:12 pm ET
Dec 8, 2015
economics

As America’s Workforce Ages, Here’s Where the Jobs Will Be

By Jeffrey Sparshott

Jeffrey.Sparshott@wsj.com
@jeffsparshott

The U.S. labor force is expected to expand only slowly over the coming decade as the country ages and more Americans give up on holding a job, a potential drag on broader economic growth.

The economy is expected to generate 9.8 million new jobs, a 6.5% increase, from 2014 to 2024, the Labor Department said in new projections released Tuesday. While steady, that is a historically slow pace. By comparison, 10-year job creation averaged almost 14% during the 2001-07 expansion and close to 17% during the 1990s.

The slowdown highlights declining participation as baby boomers retire and younger Americans opt out of the workforce. Those two trends are expected to continue to push the labor-force participation rate lower, to 60.9% in 2024 from 62.9% in 2014, Labor estimates. If realized, that would be the lowest level since 1973, when Richard Nixon was president.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen at a congressional hearing last week held out hope the participation rate would hold near current levels as people came off the sidelines and into jobs.


[center]Nattering Nabobs of Negativism[/center]

[font color="red"]New material, added February 26, 2016:[/font] More High-Wage Employment Doesn't Mean the Job Market's Out of the Woods

That's the print edition title.

Wonkblog

The recovery is generating more high-wage jobs — but does that matter?

The U.S. is still digging out of a big hole, and isn't creating new opportunities for those whose jobs disappeared.

By Lydia DePillis February 24

@lydiadepillis

A couple of weeks ago, some economists from Goldman Sachs came out with a rosy pronouncement: "Millions of new jobs and plenty of good ones," read the headline on a note to investors. High-wage employment appeared to pick up from 2013 to the present, a change from the early years of the economic recovery, which generated a disproportionate number of low-wage jobs.



And you don’t have to just take it from an investment bank. The Department of Labor has run its own numbers, and saw similar growth back in October, rendered in absolute numbers rather than growth rates (which Labor’s Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz says held through the end of 2015 in an analysis the department completed last week).

The green bars in the graph below show changes in actual employment, and the orange line shows what it would have been if the growth had been evenly distributed. Shierholz says the loss of low-wage jobs is likely a result of workers in those categories having their wages bumped up above $10 an hour, as the huge growth in low-wage sectors from 2009-2013 led to competition for people in restaurants and retail, or finding better jobs.



That renewed growth in high-wage jobs, which started to show up in 2014, is typical of recoveries from recessions: Low-wage retail and restaurant jobs come back first, as consumers start to buy small-ticket items and go out to eat again. Later on, the profitability trickles up, leading firms to make more expensive hires. Overall, the trend could be responsible for the small uptick in wages that's become evident in recent months, as well.

[font color="red"]Revised material:[/font] Here’s a grim thought:

Fed economists: America’s missing workers are not coming back

Wonkblog

By Max Ehrenfreund September 12 {2014}

A paper by Federal Reserve staff that will be discussed at the Brookings Institution on Friday {September 12, 2014} possibly hints at the central bank's thinking on interest rates and employment in advance of a consequential Fed meeting next week. The findings support [links:http://online.wsj.com/articles/fed-minutes-rate-hike-debate-heating-up-1408557628|hawks] on the Federal Open Market Committee, who feel that the Fed needs to prepare to raise rates sooner than expected, although the results are still being debated and might not persuade the committee's more dovish members.

The paper discusses the number of people who consider themselves part of the workforce -- including both people who have a job and those who are looking for work. It is a measure of the total manpower available in the U.S. economy. This number, the labor force participation rate, has been decreasing steadily since 2000. Americans who can't find work have been leaving the workforce, as have more and more retirees as the population ages.

Let’s follow that with another grim thought:

Why wage growth disparity tells the story of America's half-formed economic recovery

By Chico Harlan November 21, 2014

chico.harlan@washpost.com
@chicoharlan

....
With unemployment down to 5.8 percent, the country’s half-formed recovery is often described with a convenient shorthand: We have jobs but little wage growth. But stagnancy is just an average, and for many Americans, the years since the financial crisis have pushed them farther from the line, according to a detailed analysis of government labor statistics by The Washington Post.
....

Among the winners in this climate: Older workers, women and those with finance and technology jobs. ... Among the losers: Part-timers, the young, men, and those in the health, retail and food industries.
....

Chico Harlan covers personal economics as part of The Post's financial team.

Dissenters, take note:

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate

David Leonhardt
AUG. 26, 2014

The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report has been the subject of some wacky conspiracy theories. None was wackier than the suggestion from Jack Welch, the former General Electric chief executive, that government statisticians were exaggerating job growth during President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Both Republican and Democratic economists dismissed those charges as silly.

But to call the people who compile the jobs report honest, nonpartisan civil servants is not to say that the jobs report is perfect. The report tries to estimate employment in a big country – and to do so quickly, to give policy makers, business executives and everyone else a sense of how the economy is performing. It’s a tough task.

And it has become tougher, because Americans are less willing to respond to surveys than they used to be.

A new academic paper suggests that the unemployment rate appears to have become less accurate over the last two decades, in part because of this rise in nonresponse. In particular, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people who once would have qualified as officially unemployed and today are considered out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for work.

[font color="red"]New material, added January 2016:[/font] From July 2013:

Mort Zuckerman: A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

Commentary

Mort Zuckerman: A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

More people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.

By Mortimer Zuckerman
July 15, 2013 7:09 p.m. ET

In recent months, Americans have heard reports out of Washington and in the media that the economy is looking up—that recovery from the Great Recession is gathering steam. If only it were true. The longest and worst recession since the end of World War II has been marked by the weakest recovery from any U.S. recession in that same period.

The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government's Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000—but there are jobs and then there are "jobs." No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The survey also reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared by 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000—three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007.

That's just for starters. The survey includes part-time workers who want full-time work but can't get it, as well as those who want to work but have stopped looking. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.

The 7.6% unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading. An estimated 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed; they are virtually invisible and mostly excluded from unemployment calculations that garner headlines.
....

Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.


[center]On the Road Again[/center]

The DOL Newsletter - October 6, 2011

DOL Data: There's an App for That
Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone? Now you can access the latest labor data and news from the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment and Training Administration in the palm of your hand. The latest free mobile app displays real-time updates to the unemployment rate, Unemployment Insurance initial claims, the Consumer Price Index, payroll employment, average hourly earnings, the Producer Price Index, the Employment Cost Index, productivity, the U.S. Import Price Index and the U.S. Export Price Index in real time, as they are published each week, month or quarter. News releases providing context for the data can also be accessed through the app and viewed within a mobile browser or as PDF documents.

US Labor Department launches economic and employment statistics app

Smartphone users gain mobile access to latest labor data and news

WASHINGTON — The most up-to-date employment data and economic news releases from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and its Employment and Training Administration now can be viewed using a new mobile application.
....

The new app is currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Android phones. The Labor Department is working to develop versions for BlackBerry and iPad devices. Visit https://m.dol.gov/apps/ to download this and other mobile apps.

Download the Data, Other Mobile Apps


[center]A Few More Things[/center]

[font color="red"]New material, added July 8, 2017:[/font]

The power of the president over the economy is limited

By Ezra Klein January 13, 2012

....
But it would be even better if voters had a consistent benchmark for judging a president’s performance. The question — and it’s a tough one — is how to separate the very real influence the president has on the economy from the myriad other factors that weigh on whether consumers spend and businesses hire. So I put the issue to an exclusive club of economists who have an unusually fine-grained understanding of what the president can and can’t do: the former chairs of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. And I asked each the same question: How much of national job creation during a presidency can we properly attribute to the president?

“Very little,” wrote Harvard’s Martin Feldstein in an e-mail. Feldstein led the CEA under Reagan, and he didn’t see much role for the president in normal economic times. “The key is growth of population and labor force participation. Policy — primarily monetary policy — affects cyclical conditions and therefore the unemployment rate. Fiscal policy is usually irrelevant but with interest rates at the current level there has been a role for fiscal policy.”

Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a Berkeley economist who served under President Clinton, emphasized the need to consider timing in our evaluations. “There are significant lags between the time a President proposes a policy, the time it is enacted by Congress and the time necessary for it to take effect,” she wrote to me. “These lags should be taken into account in measuring the economy’s job performance under a President. The first year probably should not count at all in terms of assessing the effects of a new Administration’s policies.”

Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist who served as CEA chair under George W. Bush, directed me to a blog post he had written on the subject. “Randomness is a fact of economic life,” Mankiw wrote, “and it would be a mistake to judge a president by the economic outcome during his administration. It is better to look at the decisions the president made, and to acknowledge that the outcome is a function of those decisions and many other factors not under his control. As an economist, I have views about what best practices are for economic policy, and I judge presidents by how closely they adhere to those principles.” ... “Unfortunately,” he concluded, “that evaluation process is not quite as simple and objective as the reader might have hoped for. But I don’t think there is a better alternative.”
....

kleine@washpost.com
https://twitter.com/ezraklein

[font color="red"]New material, added February 4, 2016:[/font] This article appeared as "Stocks vs. the Economy: Which Ruins Which?"on page C2 of the print edition of The Wall Street Journal. on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.

Does the Economy Ruin the Stock Market or Does the Stock Market Ruin the Economy?

2:49 pm ET
Feb 1, 2016
Markets

By John Carney

Don’t confuse the market for the economy. Markets have overshot fundamentals. There are no signs of contagion into the real economy. ... Anyone paying attention has heard some version of these sentiments lately. Paul Samuelson’s famous quip that the market has predicted nine of the past five recessions is once again on the lips of the wise men and women of Wall Street.

But what if the stock market is more than just an indicator? What if a stock selloff can actually cause unemployment and recessions? ... That’s exactly what historical data on the stock market and the unemployment rate running back to 1929 seem to suggest. A persistent 10% decline in the stock market pushes unemployment up three percentage points.

That, at least, is the finding of University of California Los Angeles economist Roger Farmer. Currently a Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA and a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Mr. Farmer has been a fellow at the Bank of England and has won awards for his work on inefficiency in financial markets and self-fullfilling prophecies.

In a pair of academic papers written in the wake of the financial crisis, the first published in 2012 and the second published this year, Mr. Farmer has argued that changes in the value of the stock market cause changes in the unemployment rate. The idea will be expanded upon in Mr. Farmer’s forthcoming book, Prosperity for All.

[font color="red"]Moved here, February 6, 2016:[/font] The Federal Reserve looks at, among many other things, the BLS employment reports when it decides what to do with "the interest rate." The interest rate in question is the federal funds target rate. Here is some information about that:

Federal funds rate

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

Meet FRED, every wonk’s secret weapon

StorylineMeet the wonks

By Todd C. Frankel August 1, 2014

FRED stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data. It serves as an online clearinghouse for a wealth of numbers: unemployment rates, prices of goods, GDP and CPI, things common and obscure. Today, FRED is more than a little bit famous, thanks to the public’s fascination with economic data.

Federal Reserve Economic Data

So how many jobs must be created every month to have an effect on the unemployment rate? There's an app for that:

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Jobs Calculator™

(Note new link for Jobs Calculator™. Hat tip, progree.)

Monthly Employment Reports from BLS

The U.S. Department of Commerce releases economic data too. Some of its releases come from the U.S. Census Bureau:

U.S. Census Bureau Latest News

U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators

Other Department of Commerce releases come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Bureau of Economic Analysis

For people who need a daily fix:

BLS-Labor Statistics Twitter feed

Read tomorrow's news before it happens. Here's the schedule for all economic reports:

MarketWatch Economic Calendar

and for BLS reports only:

Bureau of Labor Statistics Release Calendar

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