Friday, September 03, 2010

Employment-Population Ratio, Part Time Workers, Unemployed over 26 Weeks

by Bill McBride on 9/03/2010 09:50:00 AM

Here are a few more graphs based on the employment report ...

Percent Job Losses During Recessions, aligned at Bottom

Percent Job Losses During RecessionsClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms - this time aligned at the bottom of the recession (Both the 1991 and 2001 recessions were flat at the bottom, so the choice was a little arbitrary).

The dotted line shows the impact of Census hiring. In August, there were only 82,000 temporary 2010 Census workers still on the payroll. The number of Census workers will continue to decline - and the remaining gap between the solid and dashed red lines will be gone soon.

Employment-Population Ratio

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 58.5% in August from 58.4% in July.

Employment Population Ratio This graph shows the employment-population ratio; this is the ratio of employed Americans to the adult population.

Note: the graph doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

The Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 64.7% from 64.6% in July. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. This increase was mostly because of the an increase in the teen participation rate (related to the very weak teen participation rate during the summer). The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years.

As the employment picture improves, people will return to the labor force, and that will put upward pressure on the unemployment rate.

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 331,000 over the month to 8.9 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The number of workers only able to find part time jobs (or have had their hours cut for economic reasons) was at 8.9 million in August. This increase was bad news.

The all time record of 9.24 million was set in October 2009.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that increased to 16.7% in August from 16.5% in July.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks The blue line is the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The red line is the same data as a percent of the civilian workforce.

According to the BLS, there are 6.249 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This is 4.1% of the civilian workforce. It appears the number of long term unemployed has peaked ... hopefully not because people are giving up.

Summary

The underlying details of the employment report were mixed. The positives: the upward revisions to the June and July reports, a slight increase in hours worked for manufacturing employees (flat for all employees), an increase in hourly wages, and the decrease in the long term unemployed. Other positives include the slight increase in the employment-population ratio and the participation rate.

The negatives include the hiring of only 60,000 ex-Census, the increase in the unemployment rate (including U-6), and the increase in part time workers for economic reasons.

Overall this was a weak report and is consistent with a sluggish recovery.

Earlier employment post today:
  • August Employment Report: 60K Jobs ex-Census, 9.6% Unemployment Rate for graphs of unemployment rate and a comparison to previous recessions.

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