In June, the labor force — the total number of people either working or looking for work — was 153.74 million. The number of unemployed people was 14.62 million. Ergo, the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.
But the number of people in the labor force — which normally goes up by about 100,000 people a month — actually declined in June. And it declined a lot — by 652,000 people. Some of those people moved, or retired, or left the country. But, as any economist would tell you, a big proportion of them were likely “discouraged” out of the labor force. They had looked for jobs, couldn’t find one and decided to stop trying. Let’s say none of those people left the labor force, and instead kept looking for a job for another month. In that scenario, we would add those 652,000 people to both the number of unemployed and to the labor force. And we would get an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent — higher than in May.
Of course, this is hypothetical, and does not take into account the impact of census hiring or retirement or a dozen other factors. My point is that the big fall in the unemployment rate is not really telling us about the job market in this specific month’s report, and the job market remains extremely distressed.
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
BOSTON -- Snow is falling in the Bay State, from western Massachusetts to heavily Democratic downtown Boston. In a campaign full of lucky breaks for Republican
MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley
BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.