This morning’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary started with two statements. First, that total nonfarm payroll employment rose 157,000 last month, and second, that “the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent.”
Both numbers, though, are seasonally adjusted. Otherwise, the story is very different. The total of Americans working fell over 1.4 million, to 141,614,000, and those officially unemployed were up more than 1.3 million, to 13,181,000. Those neither working nor technically unemployed increased significantly – people reporting being discouraged fell by 264,000 to 804,000, but the level of those who wanted a job but did not search for work for a year or more was at its highest since August, rising 476,000 to 3,728,000. Accordingly, the American Job Shortage Number (AJSN) reached its maximum point since July, up more than 1.3 million, as follows:
|AJSN - JANUARY 2013||Total||Latent Demand %||Latent Demand Total|
|In School or Training||352,000||50||176,000|
|Ill Health or Disability||187,000||10||18,700|
|Did Not Search for Work In Previous Year||3,728,000||80||2,982,400|
|Not Available to Work Now||610,000||30||183,000|
|Do Not Want a Job||83,088,000||5||4,154,400|
|Non-Civilian and Institutionalized, 15+||6,792,100||10||679,210|
The number of people working part-time for economic reasons increased slightly from 7.9 million to 8.0 million.
Once more, we are in worse shape with jobs than before. The lack of seasonal adjustment overstates how bad a month January actually was, but it was yet another step in the wrong direction. The holidays are long over, people are back in school, there has been no huge storm or other short-term crisis with significant employment effect, and over 22 million jobs in the United States could be absorbed immediately. More than 41 million Americans between 16 and 54 are not in the labor force at all, and that number keeps rising. The job situation is bad and getting worse. This is where we are now, and there is no reason, given current conditions and current public policy, for it to do anything but deteriorate more.