Friday, June 7, 2013

May AJSN Up Over 700,000, as 20.8 Million Americans Would Work If It Were Readily Available

The official Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate, 7.6%, increased 0.1% in May.  But what happened behind that number?

The count of United States jobs, seasonally adjusted, rose 175,000, modestly more than needed to cover the national population increase.  Fifty-five thousand fewer workers described themselves as discouraged, and the “other” category, of people not on the job for a variety of reasons, was down 78,000.  The other numbers were unfavorable.

Those officially unemployed increased by 288,000 last month, and the count of those saying they were not now available for work went up 254,000.  The most dramatic rise, though, was the 792,000 jump in people reporting they wanted to work, but did not search during the previous year.  The number saying they did not want a job dropped by 1.671 million, a huge change for one month.    Overall, the American Job Shortage Number (AJSN) came in at just over 20.8 million, up 726,000 from April, as follows:

MAY 2013
Total Latent Demand % Latent Demand Total
Unemployed 11,302,000 90 10,171,800
Discouraged 780,000 90 702,000
Family Responsibilities 232,000 30 69,600
In School or Training 353,000 50 176,500
Ill Health or Disability 115,000 10 11,500
Other 684,000 30 205,200
Did Not Search for Work In  Previous Year 3,988,000 80 3,190,400
Not Available to Work Now 1,040,000 30 312,000
Do Not Want a Job 82,436,000 5 4,121,800
Non-Civilian and Institutionalized, 15+ 5,901,508 10 590,151
American Expatriates 6,320,000 20 1,264,000
TOTAL     20,814,951

Consistent with recent months, while the official unemployment rate has shown slight improvement, the AJSN shows there has been no decrease in the number of people outside the world of work looking in.  Most of the people deciding last month that they did, indeed, wish to work now got nowhere with that.    

In other employment news released this morning, the unadjusted unemployment rate held steady at 7.3%.  The number of those jobless for 27 weeks or more, the labor force participation rate, and those working part-time for economic reasons were all also materially unchanged at 4.4 million, 63.4%, and 7.9 million respectively.  These are not good places to camp out in. 

Overall, the American jobs situation is much the same.  With European unemployment ever higher – the Eurozone jobless rate reached 12.2% in April, a record – maybe that isn’t so bad.  At the same time, though, there has been considerable recent press about the United States economy improving.   The data above call that into question.  If the unemployment rate stays much the same when so many perceive times to be getting better, and the AJSN in fact increases, what will these indicators show when observers agree there is no progress, or prosperity is dropping?  In the meantime, we are not putting Americans back to work, and we are only one medium-sized recession away from Eurozone-level joblessness.

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