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(MSN)   Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics admits the real unemployment rate has soared to 15.6%. "The situation out there is very grim"   (articles.moneycentral.msn.com) divider line 63
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2321 clicks; posted to Business » on 16 Apr 2009 at 8:19 AM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-04-16 08:18:48 AM
If we are ever going to compare unemployment in one time to unemployment at another time in a meaningful way, the unemployment must be calculated the same way.

I mean, I can conclude there are fewer people alive today than there were 2000 years ago if today I only include "living native Americans with living native American parents who are ages 70-71 years old," and include "all living humans of all ages" for 2000 years ago. But such a comparison is obviously bull shiat.

It's the same with unemployment. It's obvious bull shiat to say that unemployment today is lower than unemployment ten years ago, or during the great depression, if we calculate unemployment differently (in particular, if we calculated it more restrictively).
 
2009-04-16 08:36:30 AM
Talon: If we are ever going to compare unemployment in one time to unemployment at another time in a meaningful way, the unemployment must be calculated the same way.

I mean, I can conclude there are fewer people alive today than there were 2000 years ago if today I only include "living native Americans with living native American parents who are ages 70-71 years old," and include "all living humans of all ages" for 2000 years ago. But such a comparison is obviously bull shiat.

It's the same with unemployment. It's obvious bull shiat to say that unemployment today is lower than unemployment ten years ago, or during the great depression, if we calculate unemployment differently (in particular, if we calculated it more restrictively).


I'd imagine there are some things that make it pretty hard, though.

Is someone working 35 hours a week because they can't find work for 40 unemployed? What if it's 25? 15? Have these people always been counted as unemployed?

Is a stay at home mom unemployed? What if she's not a mom, just a homemaking wife? How about a non-working trophy girlfriend? A boyfriend? The perceptions of these have obviously been affected a lot by societal shifts over the last 60 years.

It's nice to track all these people in various categories, especially so we have something to compare it to later, but I have no idea which makes the most sense for comparison to historical data.
 
2009-04-16 08:43:51 AM
To put it bluntly, panic.
 
2009-04-16 08:46:33 AM
you have pee hands: Is someone working 35 hours a week because they can't find work for 40 unemployed? What if it's 25? 15? Have these people always been counted as unemployed?

That's pretty much the definition of under-employed

/What should the *real* unemployment be?
 
2009-04-16 08:48:59 AM
The U-3 numbers, which are the publicly reported numbers make the most sense for historical comparisons. The unemployment rate reached 25% in the great depression, but those numbers did not include 'discouraged workers', the ones who stopped looking for work.

The U-6 numbers are the broadest measure of unemployment (or underemployment that are currently produced by the BLS). On top of those in the labor force who cannot find a job, it includes those who have stopped looking for jobs (discouraged workers), and those who work part time for economic reasons (can't find a full time job). The U-6 numbers vary far more rapidly during booms and busts then the U-3 numbers.

James Clary
 
2009-04-16 08:52:07 AM
But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)
 
2009-04-16 08:55:23 AM
I never understood the need to report an unemployment number that was incorrect.

Serious question:If its reported at 8.5% but its really 15% why low ball the number? I mean they came up with 15% based on part time jobs and other factors.
 
2009-04-16 08:56:47 AM
The problem with the official numbers is they only count people receiving unemployment compensation as being unemployed. People who don't qualify aren't counted and that can be a lot of people.
 
2009-04-16 09:00:01 AM
you have pee hands: I'd imagine there are some things that make it pretty hard, though.

Plenty more categories than that. I know several 62 to 66-year-olds who expected to still be working to 67 or later, got bought out or laid off, and moved here ($30k house smaller-town Kansas) where a Social Security check goes a long way. They would have been job-seekers in the first (pre-Social Security) part of the Depression.
 
2009-04-16 09:01:51 AM
eddyatwork: The problem with the official numbers is they only count people receiving unemployment compensation as being unemployed. People who don't qualify aren't counted and that can be a lot of people.

So ontop of not counting part time,etc... they only really count those who are recieving unemployment benefits?

So 8.5% is basically the rosiest number they could come up with?
 
2009-04-16 09:05:12 AM
CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)


It's great if you run a business. Lots of cheap labor to exploit.
 
2009-04-16 09:07:30 AM
Lost Thought 00: That's pretty much the definition of under-employed

/What should the *real* unemployment be?


Real employment should be the number of hours people work divided by want to work (times 100 ofc).

Unemployment would be 100 minuse that figure.

Then again it probably isn't possible to determine a meaningful figure for how many hours people want to work.
 
2009-04-16 09:10:37 AM
Talon: the unemployment must be calculated the same way.

So don't count women? That doesn't make any sense.
 
2009-04-16 09:12:04 AM
eddyatwork: The problem with the official numbers is they only count people receiving unemployment compensation as being unemployed. People who don't qualify aren't counted and that can be a lot of people.

This is a popular myth. The most commonly quoted unemployment number released by the BLS is based on a survey that has nothing to do with who is currently receiving unimployment benefits. The unemployment insurance number is reported separately.

See Link (new window).

The number usually quoted does exclude people who aren't looking for work and people doing less work than they want, but it includes anyone unemployed and currently looking for work, regardless of how long they've been unemployed.
 
2009-04-16 09:13:32 AM
Flargan: I never understood the need to report an unemployment number that was incorrect.

Serious question:If its reported at 8.5% but its really 15% why low ball the number? I mean they came up with 15% based on part time jobs and other factors.


It's not incorrect. They just measure different things. For example, if you stop looking for a job, are you really "unemployed"? What if you're retired? It is exceedingly difficult to have meaningful numbers based off of things like "Not working, but would like to" "Works fewer hours than would like" or things like that. So basically, they measure it on the only things they *can* measure with any degree of accuracy.
 
2009-04-16 09:20:39 AM
EatHam: Flargan: I never understood the need to report an unemployment number that was incorrect.

Serious question:If its reported at 8.5% but its really 15% why low ball the number? I mean they came up with 15% based on part time jobs and other factors.

It's not incorrect. They just measure different things. For example, if you stop looking for a job, are you really "unemployed"? What if you're retired? It is exceedingly difficult to have meaningful numbers based off of things like "Not working, but would like to" "Works fewer hours than would like" or things like that. So basically, they measure it on the only things they *can* measure with any degree of accuracy.


Okay.

//Yeah its a short response but some answers just point blank answer the question
//Thanks Eat Ham
 
2009-04-16 09:25:03 AM
This is pure fail. Everyone knows the true indicator of the economy is stock value, not how many people have lost jobs.
 
2009-04-16 09:28:01 AM
kinglemur: eddyatwork: The problem with the official numbers is they only count people receiving unemployment compensation as being unemployed. People who don't qualify aren't counted and that can be a lot of people.

This is a popular myth. The most commonly quoted unemployment number released by the BLS is based on a survey that has nothing to do with who is currently receiving unimployment benefits. The unemployment insurance number is reported separately.

See Link (new window).

The number usually quoted does exclude people who aren't looking for work and people doing less work than they want, but it includes anyone unemployed and currently looking for work, regardless of how long they've been unemployed.


I believed the "you have to be collecting unemployment to be counted myth" until I was called on it by another Farker.

On another note, U6 includes "Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job." If you dig deeper, "not looking currently for a job" means they haven't so much as made a phone call or sent an E-mail in more than a month. In fact, if they had, they would have been counted in U3; the official unemployment number.

Link (new window)

I still think U3 is too narrow, but at the same time, U6 seems too broad.
 
2009-04-16 09:28:52 AM
BigBooper: I still think U3 is too narrow, but at the same time, U6 seems too broad.

I'd like to see them measure relative payroll numbers. I mean seriously. ADP and Paychex together get a more than representative sample. Why not poll them?
 
2009-04-16 09:42:58 AM
Link (new window)

The link is for a map that shows unemployment per county. It's a month old, but is still scary. Lots of counties have unemployment rates greater than 20% using U3!
 
2009-04-16 09:47:38 AM
Payrolls are considered in a completely separate survey. While the employment number produced by the two survey's look significant;y different, they actually count different things (which I will not go into), but it is hard to say which gives a 'clearer' picture of the employment situation. It turns out the one that when one corrects for the different types of employment covered, they both track quite closely to one another.

JC
 
2009-04-16 09:50:29 AM
I find it amusing that my 78 year-old neighbor is considered unemployed (and collects benefits) even though he only works in the summer and only because he enjoys it. He also collects Social Security and has two pensions. His annual income is almost triple mine, but he's "unemployed" and I'm not.
 
2009-04-16 10:17:24 AM
this is pure fail, everyone knows the true indicator of the economy is how much money the government sends to other government agencies.
 
2009-04-16 10:17:26 AM
BigBooper: Lots of counties have unemployment rates greater than 20% using U3!

Which fall into three groups: counties with one big boom-or-bust employer (see Elkhart, Indiana), counties with tiny populations where any shift in employment is going to cause a big swing (WTF happened in Sargent County, ND?), or counties that are just relentlessly in the shiatter for decades and ain't nothing Washington's going to do that can fix it (see Detroit).

/close enough to 20%
 
2009-04-16 10:17:33 AM
What unemployment may look like:

scrapetv.com
 
2009-04-16 10:18:54 AM
eddyatwork: The problem with the official numbers is they only count people receiving unemployment compensation as being unemployed. People who don't qualify aren't counted and that can be a lot of people.

Like me - who is self-employed. I can't even get unemployment benefits if I have no work (not that I would even go after them) but the federal government forces me to pay into the system anyways. At least my state sees the stupidity of that and I can opt-out (of - course the feds saw right through that and they force me to pay an even high amount to them).

/fully booked - tons o work out there for what I do - I love recessions
 
2009-04-16 10:28:15 AM
EatHam: BigBooper: I still think U3 is too narrow, but at the same time, U6 seems too broad.

I'd like to see them measure relative payroll numbers. I mean seriously. ADP and Paychex together get a more than representative sample. Why not poll them?


I like U-4.5
 
2009-04-16 10:32:30 AM
Talon: If we are ever going to compare unemployment in one time to unemployment at another time in a meaningful way, the unemployment must be calculated the same way.

I mean, I can conclude there are fewer people alive today than there were 2000 years ago if today I only include "living native Americans with living native American parents who are ages 70-71 years old," and include "all living humans of all ages" for 2000 years ago. But such a comparison is obviously bull shiat.

It's the same with unemployment. It's obvious bull shiat to say that unemployment today is lower than unemployment ten years ago, or during the great depression, if we calculate unemployment differently (in particular, if we calculated it more restrictively).


I'll say it again, mate... THEY ADJUST THEIR OLD CALCULATIONS YOU RETARD.
 
2009-04-16 10:34:47 AM
CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)


Fully employed...

They need to actually call this number something.

It's not a measure of unemployment it's a measure of under-employment. 16% of Americas labor force is UNDER-employed.
 
2009-04-16 10:38:16 AM
EatHam: BigBooper: I still think U3 is too narrow, but at the same time, U6 seems too broad.

I'd like to see them measure relative payroll numbers. I mean seriously. ADP and Paychex together get a more than representative sample. Why not poll them?


Privacy concerns, I suspect.
 
2009-04-16 10:43:06 AM
bravian: /fully booked - tons o work out there for what I do - I love recessions

what do you do?
 
2009-04-16 10:45:30 AM
Grad school is looking better and better.
 
2009-04-16 10:45:57 AM
JimmyReb: Payrolls are considered in a completely separate survey.

I know, but I'm talking about changing jobless numbers from random surveys to things like "how many people were removed from payroll this month vs added".

Lost Thought 00: Privacy concerns, I suspect.

Aggregates wouldn't cause any privacy concerns that I can think of. Most large corporations have to file when they do mass layoffs anyway, and the level of detail I'm thinking of would go down to zip code or something similar.
 
2009-04-16 10:50:06 AM
Unemployment is a lagging indicator of economic activity. The number will continue to get worse as the broader economy improves. By the same token, the stock market is a leading indicator. If its current rally holds, we can expect things in the economy to start looking up again in ~6-9 months. People need to stop panicking.
 
2009-04-16 10:50:47 AM
Spanky_McFarksalot: bravian: /fully booked - tons o work out there for what I do - I love recessions

what do you do?


I'm going with:

www.monstersandcritics.com
 
2009-04-16 10:55:35 AM
Unemployment does not equal underemployment.

If you have a job, you're not unemployed. You may not make as much as you once did and it may not be enough, but you're still employed.
 
2009-04-16 11:02:58 AM
Lost Thought 00: It's great if you run a business. Lots of cheap labor to exploit.

Exploit?
How is offering a job exploiting? If you don't want to work, you don't have to. There is more supply than demand for workers, thus wages are lower. So I guess when there is more demand than supply for workers, the workers are exploiting business owners?
 
2009-04-16 11:07:11 AM
EatHam: Talon: the unemployment must be calculated the same way.

So don't count women? That doesn't make any sense.


Don't be obtuse. Keep the statement in context. A comparison to the depression, or to 10 years ago, or to any other time period is pretty much worthless if not calculated the same way.

If you want to change the way unemployment is calculated due to social shifts in who works and where, don't compare it to 10, 30, 100 years ago and pretend the comparison is meaningful.
 
2009-04-16 11:16:51 AM
People who complain about the metric for the current situation being different than the metric they used almost eighty years ago are missing the point to such a degree that it almost seems intentional.

As long as the metric they use now is the same metric they used in a relatively recent boom period and is the same metric they use until we're out of the hole we're in THEN we'll have a reliable indicator. Remember - the point of indicators is to tell you where you are at NOW and where you are heading NOW - not so you can commit further acts of nostalgia.
 
2009-04-16 11:19:56 AM
Lost Thought 00: CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)

It's great if you run a business. Lots of cheap labor to exploit.



... But 15% fewer customers, and the rest don't have money to spend because their employers are exploiting them.
 
2009-04-16 11:24:54 AM
dmd8605: Unemployment is a lagging indicator of economic activity. The number will continue to get worse as the broader economy improves. By the same token, the stock market is a leading indicator. If its current rally holds, we can expect things in the economy to start looking up again in ~6-9 months. People need to stop panicking.

Yea people should not panic, they should calmly walk towards the nearest Military recruitment office. Before they start charging a price to join and haven't started screening people for political affiliation and world view.

Also I was going to say, A lot of kids are still in College, or should I say extended high school, which is a leading indicator for future underemployment in todays job market. It will continue to get worse as their minds adjust to a wider world view and move out of the parents house and have to pay their own bills. I repeat do not panic, I did and all I got was a lousy criminal record.

//Not an Economics major
///But probably much more informed than the majority of them
//Stuck back at my parents house but I am rooting for the new recruits!
 
2009-04-16 11:33:10 AM
Talon: Don't be obtuse. Keep the statement in context. A comparison to the depression, or to 10 years ago, or to any other time period is pretty much worthless if not calculated the same way.

That is what I'm saying. The comparison would be valid if there were a way to adjust *today's* numbers to the depression era's numbers. But there isn't. Given the way they were calculated during the Depression, it would be grossly misleading to attempt to calculate today's numbers based on that methodology and arrive at anything meaningful.

Can't the numbers be bad on their own? What meaning can you get by saying it's N% better or worse than in 1935?
 
2009-04-16 11:56:56 AM
CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)



Actually, it's closer to 60%...

Official unemployed + official employed does not equal 100%. There's a grey area in-between the two. We're probably closer to an 80:20 split between employed and unemployed, but that ends up being a guessing game involving lots of rectal numbers.

We're very close to where we were back in the '30s, except that this time around there are several social safety nets preventing people from joining caravans through the heartland just to get agrarian work or standing in line at soup kitchens.

/Grandfather and Great-Grandparents did the "work caravan" thing
//Joined a co-op and eventually came to own the farm
///All recessions/depressions end eventually...once people realize they can work for themselves
 
2009-04-16 12:27:07 PM
thedailysmoker.nl

Life's a piece of shait
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
And always look on the bright side of life...
 
2009-04-16 12:44:47 PM
Lost Thought 00: CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)

It's great if you run a business. Lots of cheap labor to exploit.


And what do you call it when there's a labor shortage such that the price of wages goes to a point where it makes more sense to pack up and ship the company to India or China? Who's exploiting whom then?

/ If an employer is free to hire, and you're free to quit, there's no exploitation, just selfish, self-centered biatching.
 
2009-04-16 12:45:58 PM
andrewabc: So I guess when there is more demand than supply for workers, the workers are exploiting business owners?

Yes, they do. As an example, I believe technical computer-savvy professionals exploited their employers in the late 80's, early 90's, demanding far more compensation than they were practically worth.

My use of the term exploit is simply because I personally feel there is a limit to how much the supply/demand curves should be able to determine the worth of a person, and that this limit has the potential to be greatly exceeded in times of tremendous boom or bust.
 
2009-04-16 12:48:50 PM
Andric: Grad school is looking better and better.

Like undergrad, it depends on what you do.
If you're thinking MBA don't waste your money.
 
2009-04-16 12:50:59 PM
aneki: And what do you call it when there's a labor shortage such that the price of wages goes to a point where it makes more sense to pack up and ship the company to India or China? Who's exploiting whom then?

Labor is the source country is exploiting the companies, or attempting to do so. Companies in the destination country may or may not be exploiting the labor force there.
 
2009-04-16 12:52:59 PM
CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)


Unemployment figures only look at Active Population which is defined as people that are employed or looking for employment.

In reality, only about 65 to 70% of the population of a western country is part of the Active Population. If you factor unemployment of 10% (or 15% as this article is claiming) you end up with 55% to 60% employment rates. The other 45% are too old, too young, too stupid or too in prison!

Having an 84.6% employment rate would be rather miraculous.
 
2009-04-16 12:55:06 PM
AmazingRuss: Lost Thought 00: CarnySaur: But that means 84.4% of people are employed!!!
(That doesn't sound good, actually.)

It's great if you run a business. Lots of cheap labor to exploit.


... But 15% fewer customers, and the rest don't have money to spend because their employers are exploiting them.


I'd like to see you both run a business with employess, it would be great fun.
 
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