Tuesday, October 22, 2013

September AJSN: USA Now 20 Million Jobs Short as 2013 Trends Continue

The Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment data may have been delayed, but it didn’t change much.  Seasonally adjusted jobs were up 148,000, about 15,000 more than needed for population increase, and the official unemployment rate was down fractionally to 7.2%.  That rate when not seasonally adjusted fell, as expected in a month when more people go back to school and more jobs pop up, to 7.0%. 

Secondary measures were almost uniformly unchanged.  Those officially jobless for six months or longer remained at 4.1 million, the civilian labor force participation rate was still 63.2%, and there were still 7.9 million working part-time who would like to work full-time.  Most noteworthy was the jump in people counted as being out of the labor force, up over 2 million to 90,632,000. 

The AJSN (American Job Shortage Number) was extremely close to 20 million, broken down as follows:

Total Latent Demand % Latent Demand Total
Unemployed 10,885,000 90 9,796,500
Discouraged 852,000 90 766,800
Family Responsibilities 215,000 30 64,500
In School or Training 324,000 50 162,000
Ill Health or Disability 157,000 10 15,700
Other 754,000 30 226,200
Did Not Search for Work In  Previous Year 2,943,000 80 2,354,400
Not Available to Work Now 530,000 30 159,000
Do Not Want a Job 84,858,000 5 4,242,900
Non-Civilian, Institutionalized, and Unaccounted For, 15+ 9,449,940 10 944,994
American Expatriates 6,320,000 20 1,264,000
TOTAL     19,996,994

Of the AJSN components, the number of unemployed, down 577,000, and the estimate of people who did not search for work in the previous year, down 443,000, accounted for almost the entire drop.  (The AJSN is not seasonally adjusted.)   The increase in those claiming no interest in working offset smaller numbers in almost all of the other categories.  Since the data is for September, it is unaffected by early October’s partial government shutdown.

Compared with September 2012, a year earlier, the AJSN is down about 730,000, from 20.73 million.  Since then the number of unemployed is down 857,000, those wanting to work but not looking for at least a year are 335,000 fewer, and the count of people saying they do not want jobs at all has grown by 2.5 million. 

All in all, the September employment data fits closely with 2013’s consistent pattern.  It again showed a small gain in jobs beyond population increase, but more people leaving the labor force, this time by deciding they were done working.  My general comments, so, still hold:  it is good but hardly great, the number of departing workers explains more than anything else, the long-term unemployed and partially jobless are still there, and we would need a decade or more of months like this to be back to pre-2008 numbers.  Next month’s figures, which should not include the 800,000 government workers whose pay was only delayed but will show some secondary shutdown effects, will tell more.  In the meantime, the American jobs situation is business as usual.  


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