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Right Change: April’s Jobs Report: Unemployment at 8.2%


The start to 2012 has been slow. Like, .1% slow. Of course, we are talking about the unemployment rate. Each jobs report has given us a .1% drop or none at all. It’s been a tepid recovery and economists everywhere agree that this decline won’t put us on the road to prosperity. The month of March proved no different.

The U.S. jobless rate dropped from 8.3% to 8.2% with employers only adding 120,000 jobs. This was a drop in hiring from last month. How does this result in a drop in unemployment? The Wall Street Journal provides a plausible explanation:

“This month, the decline in the jobless rate wasn’t a positive sign, as it primarily came from people dropping out of the labor force. The unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The rate is calculated by dividing that number by the total number of people in the labor force. When the unemployed no longer count as part of the labor force, both numbers decline and the unemployment rate falls.

In March, the number of unemployed dropped by 133,000, but so did the number of people employed — by 31,000. That indicates that those people didn’t necessarily find new jobs, since the overall labor force declined by 164,000.

When people leave the labor force it could be due to discouragement of the long-term unemployed or by choice over retirement or child care. The labor force has dropped dramatically over the course of recession and recovery, and concerns have been raised it was due to discouraged workers.

To be sure, the moves in the household survey are volatile. This month’s numbers are a deviation from the trend so far this year. January and February saw workers returning to the labor force, and strong growth in the number of people employed. This month could just be payback for recent strength in the survey.”

Another survey worth taking a glance at is the latest report from Rasmussen. A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 48% of adults know someone who’s given up looking for a job out of frustration with the current market. Unemployment is at 8.2%, hiring slows as employers add just 120k jobs, and 48% of Americans know someone who has given up looking for work. This is what Obama calls a recovery. This is not the economy Americans deserve. Let’s prove that November 6th, 2012.

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