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Why Did Unemployment Drop To 9.4% In December?

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  • Why Did Unemployment Drop To 9.4% In December?

    January 7, 2011

    The U.S. jobless rate dropped substantially to 9.4% in December, but the government’s broader measure of unemployment dropped at a more modest pace to 16.7%, highlighting the problem of the long-term unemployed.

    The comprehensive gauge of labor underutilization, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification by the Labor Department, accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs.

    The key to the discrepancy between the two number was an increase in the number of workers considered marginally attached to the labor force. The figure increased in December. The number of workers part-time for economic reasons fell slightly.

    The increase in the number of discouraged workers highlights the problem of the long-term unemployed. Some four million people have been without a job for 52 weeks or longer in December, according to the Labor Department. That’s a decline from November, but there are indications that those people are dropping out of the labor force.

    The big drop in the overall unemployment rate and the U-6 measure was primarily due to a decline in the number of unemployed, which fell by 556,000 in December. That’s good news since the number of people who are employed increased by nearly 300,000. But that still leaves over 250,000 workers leaving the labor force altogether. That likely means a substantial part of the drop was due to workers giving up. Anyone unemployed over 99 weeks has no access to unemployment benefits and many lose access even earlier. Once those benefits expire, the unemployed may stop considering themselves part of the labor force.

    To be sure, declines in the labor force also come from workers who decide to go back to school, go on disability, leave to raise children or retire.

    The overall unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The rate is calculated by dividing that number by the total number of people in the labor force.

    The U-6 figure includes everyone in the official rate plus “marginally attached workers” — those who are neither working nor looking for work, but say they want a job and have looked for work recently; and people who are employed part-time for economic reasons, meaning they want full-time work but took a part-time schedule instead because that’s all they could find. People who drop out of the labor force completely aren’t included in this tally.
    Filed Chapter 7 July 2010
    Attended 341 September 2010
    Discharged November 2010 Closed November 2010

  • #2
    It's really kind of a no-brainer. Since any work at all is considered employment, December brings with it, more need for part-time retail workers and temp staff to help with year-end work. I know I worked all through December to help close out the year. Doesn't make me less unemployed, except for a brief period of time, but in the statistics it does.


    • #3
      I never heard of this "U-6" classification for the unemployed but I am glad someone tracks what I believe to be a much truer number. It's probably even somewhat higher than that 16.7%. I wonder why the U-6 number is not the one generally's not that one that is "spin" media, that's for sure.
      Filed Ch 7 Pro Se 11-18-2010 341 Meeting 12-16-2010 Discharged 2-15-2011
      New Job 7-2011


      • #4
        Originally posted by chicagoannie View Post
        I never heard of this "U-6" classification for the unemployed but I am glad someone tracks what I believe to be a much truer number. It's probably even somewhat higher than that 16.7%. I wonder why the U-6 number is not the one generally's not that one that is "spin" media, that's for sure.
        Exactly 'Chi'. To make it briefer, once all people are unemployed, run the 99 weeks, and are dropped from the unemployment rolls we will eventually end up with all unemployed, but the numbers will show we have NO unemployment stats and that everyone is now employed as no one is employed. Sounds like George Orwell's "future speak" as all who are not seeking work due to no jobs, are not counted in the unemployed, therefore we have 100% employment.

        Boy, call that politics in my view. 'Hub
        If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


        • #5
          If we actually calculated the real unemployment, I have a feeling that it would be closer to 20%. Kind of like the mortgage companies that won't foreclose because they don't want more REO to make them look bad. The Government doesn't want the true number of unemployed to come out and make them look really bad. Sad state of affairs.
          Filed Chapter 7 October 5, 2010 -341 held Nov. 8, 2010- Report of No Distribution Nov. 12th, 2010- Discharged 1-10-2011 Closed 1-28-2011


          • #6
            Originally posted by tyson24 View Post
            If we actually calculated the real unemployment, I have a feeling that it would be closer to 20%. Kind of like the mortgage companies that won't foreclose because they don't want more REO to make them look bad. The Government doesn't want the true number of unemployed to come out and make them look really bad. Sad state of affairs.
            I agree with you 100%. I ran calculations that showed the real number being at least 17% and that was over a year ago. The fact they claim the numbers dropped, is I believe season Christmas temp jobs. Also, even when they say 100,000 people found jobs, another batch of unemployed continues. They say this will take several years or more before we get this number down to a normal level again.

            I am searching like crazy and it is very bleak. I am actually seeing the exact same jobs being posted from the exact same companies, and these are the exact same positions that have been posted on a regular basis for 5-10 years now. I am guessing these companies offer poor conditions for the employees and zero stability. I have worked for some of these companies and upon starting, would hear that I am the 4th, 5th or 6th person in this position in the past few years.


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