The Gold Standard | Sputtering

US unemployment/employment data (this is a generic link for the current month. If clicked in August, it would show July data. One has to look for the archives then to see the June data) for June was released on Friday, the 8th of July. In many ways, it was a dreadful report. Not the least because job creation was only 18,000 and there were downward revisions to the reported job creation of the previous months. Hourly earnings of supervisory and non-supervisory workers dropped m/m. This is incredible while bank CEOs are beginning to reward themselves again. Perhaps, they are not unrelated. The cause is the decline in hourly earnings for non-supervisory workers and the effect is the rise in CEO salary!

Hours worked declined on the month. The extended unemployment rate went up from 15.8% to 16.2%. The median and mean duration of unemployment edged up too. Although there was a slight decline in the duration of the long-term unemployed (6 months or more), nearly 45% of those who are unemployed are the long-term unemployed. The civilian participation rate and the employment-population ratio both declined. The employment – population ratio is at 58.2%. It was at 58.5% in June 2010. We are supposedly getting into the meat of the recovery.

The popularly tracked unemployment rate edged up to 9.2% from 9.1% the month before. But, that is not due to those who are entering the labour force wanting a job. You can check that out in the Table A-1. The civilian labour force shrank from 153.7 million to 153.4 million. Re-entrants constitute 3.4 million of the just-over 14 million unemployed in June 2011. They were 3.27 million out of the total of 14.6 million unemployed in June 2010. I have put this information together using summary Table A and Table A-11.

As you can see from the above detail, the total number of unemployed has declined from 14.6 million to 14.1 million in the last one year [This differs from Table A-13 where they show the total unemployed to be 14.9 million in June 2010 and 14.4 million in June 2011. The unemployment rate is shown at 9.3% (down from 9.6% in June 2010 and not from 9.5% as shown in summary Table -A) and not 9.2%].

In contrast to this marginal decline in the overall unemployment rate from 9.6% to 9.3% (or from 9.5% to 9.2%), the ‘Black or African-American’ unemployment rate has gone up from 15.4% to 16.2% in the last one year. Given that the overall unemployment rate went down, it is no surprise that the unemployment rate for Whites (8.6% to 8.1%), Asians (7.7% to 6.8%) and Hispanics (12.4% to 11.6%) show a reasonable decline.

Not much to show. If I were the incumbent President, I would be very worried especially since there is plenty of recovery to show in Wall Street compensation and financial sector profits from the depths of 2008.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.