Friday, September 6, 2013

August AJSN Down 500,000 – America Now Fewer Than 21 Million Jobs Short

The new employment and unemployment data has arrived.  As other headlines will tell you, the jobless rate has improved again, to 7.3%.  August is a neutral calendar time for employment, so the seasonally adjusted data, most of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning, differs little from the AJSN (American Job Shortage Number) results that follow. 

The number of unemployed Americans dropped last month from 12,083,000 to 11,462,000, the largest factor causing the AJSN to fall 489,000.  Those not looking for work in the past year, but saying they still wanted a job, plunged a remarkable 418,000, and the similar “discouraged” category dropped 122,000.  Yet just a hair short of two million more said they did not want employment at all.  Most of the AJSN’s partially offsetting gain was due to a larger gap between U.S. Census Bureau data and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, now up to almost 11 million in the estimate of those in armed services, institutions, or not accounted for at all. 

Here is the breakdown:

Total Latent Demand % Latent Demand Total
Unemployed 11,462,000 90 10,315,800
Discouraged 866,000 90 779,400
Family Responsibilities 215,000 30 64,500
In School or Training 233,000 50 116,500
Ill Health or Disability 145,000 10 14,500
Other 884,000 30 265,200
Did Not Search for Work In  Previous Year 3,386,000 80 2,708,800
Not Available to Work Now 563,000 30 168,900
Do Not Want a Job 83,697,000 5 4,184,850
Non-Civilian, Institutionalized, and Unaccounted For, 15+ 10,890,526 10 1,089,053
American Expatriates 6,320,000 20 1,264,000
TOTAL     20,971,503

The three major secondary BLS measures were split; those out for 27 weeks or more stayed steady at 4.3 million, those working part-time for economic reasons (want full-time work but can’t find it) dropped 334,000 to 7.9 million, and labor force participation declined once more to 63.2%.

So how good was this month’s jobs report?  Not bad.  It fits in quite consistently with recent months’, with another seasonally adjusted net increase in jobs, 169,000, above the 125,000 to 140,000 needed to cover population growth.  Once again the unemployment rate dropped – both adjusted and unadjusted are now 7.3%.  It has now been one year since the first monthly AJSN was announced, so let us start comparing AJSN data with that of the year before.  How does August 2013 stack up with August 2012?

A year ago, unemployment was 1.2 million higher, at 12,696,000.  Those not searching for work in the previous year, but still wanting it, then counted to 426,000 higher.  The numbers in all marginally attached categories, except for those discouraged (up 22,000) have decreased since.  Those not wanting a job are up over 2.4 million. 

In all, these are good times, with employment continuing to crawl forward.  With the labor force continuing to shrink, though, improvements will be overstated.  Given the political climate, the government, with its measured stimuli, may be setting the stage as well as it can, barring the national infrastructure project that may end up waiting until after the 2016 elections.  The reason unemployment is as high as it is is not that we are being misgoverned – it is due to the job shortage, which is permanent and will not end even with economic times as otherwise good as these.    


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