Friday, January 4, 2013
Official Unemployment Steady, but December AJSN Shows Latent Demand for American Jobs is Up Over 400,000, To 21.0 Million
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the December unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8% from last month. (Revisions to their seasonal adjusting algorithm retroactively changed November’s from 7.7% to 7.8%.) Once again, the official rate failed to get worse, but the American Job Shortage Number (AJSN), the definitive measure of underlying job demand in the United States, showed that the gap between jobs and job seekers has widened once more.
AJSN - DECEMBER 2012
Latent Demand %
Latent Demand Total
In School or Training
Ill Health or Disability
Did Not Search for Work In Previous Year
Not Available to Work Now
Do Not Want a Job
Non-Civilian and Institutionalized, 15+
The number of unemployed (the AJSN is not seasonally adjusted) rose 440,000 from 11,404,000 to 11,844,000. Other pools of people not working increased almost across the board, led by those discouraged up 89,000 to 1,068,000, for a 31% increase over the past two months. The actual number of Americans with jobs, not seasonally adjusted, fell 489,000, a drop of almost 1 million since October. Once more the count of those who would work in the United States if given an opportunity has risen.
Other indicators were much unchanged. According to this morning’s BLS news release, for the third straight month there were 4.8 million unemployed for 27 weeks or more, and the labor force participation rate stayed at 63.6%. Those working part-time for economic reasons came in at 7.9 million, described as unchanged from November due to adjustments.
In summary, for yet another month the American employment situation got worse. While it was a very good thing that the federal budget compromise allowed extended unemployment payments to continue, the payroll tax cut is now history, which will discourage employers at a bad time.
This shortfall of over 21 million American jobs is not a small problem. The jobs crisis is permanent, and, at the least, being unaware of that will cause continued problems in other areas. It is past time for both political sides to bring some sincere, substantive ideas to the table.