January 2011 Unemployment Situation (Updated)
Today’s unemployment situation data is…wierd. Most noticeable is that the Civilian Non-Institutional Population declined by 185k people, from 238,889k to 238,704k. Did a lot of people die last month? (Update: Ah. It was an annual population adjustment by the BLS. Carry on.) At the same time, we continue the trend of large increases in the population that dropped out of the labor force, with 319k dropping out last month. Since January, 2010, 2,039k people have left the labor force. On the plus side, 117k more people say they are employed this month than last month.
Still, that 9% unemployment rate is an artifact of 504k people disappearing from the population, not the creation of new jobs, something the anemic 36k new payroll jobs number makes clear. Also, the adjusted U6 unemployment rate surged From 16.6% to 17.3%. In fact, U-3, U-4, U-5, and U-6 all rose sharply. U-3 (Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force) rose from 9.1% in December to 9.8% last month. So, we got that goin’ for us.
Getting to the numbers, for a more accurate view of unemployment:
Civilian non-institutional adult population: 238,704
Historical labor force participation rate: 66.2%
Proper labor force size: 158,022
Actually Employed: 139,323
Unemployment Rate: 11.8%
UPDATE: Well, this is embarrassing. I’ve made a calculation error in the Excel spreadsheet, which provided an incorrect unemployment rate, above. I reversed the division between the labor force and the number of employed persons. I noticed that while writing the post above, on how I calculate the number. I’ve corrected the Excel spreadsheet, to prevent the error from recurring in the future.