Friday, November 05, 2010

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

by Bill McBride on 11/05/2010 10:04:00 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 payroll employment excluding temporary Census workers.

Employment-Population Ratio

The Employment-Population ratio declined to 58.3% in October from 58.5% in September. This is disappointing news.

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 also declined to 64.5% in October from 64.7% in September. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years.

When the employment picture eventually improves, people will return to the labor force and the participation rate will increase from these very low levels. Right now workers are leaving the labor force, and even though that is keeping the reported unemployment rate from rising, it is really unwelcome news.

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (some-
times referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 318,000
over the month to 9.2 million, partially offsetting large increases in
the prior 2 months. 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) declined to 9.154 million in October, from the record 9.472 million in September. This is still very high.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that decreased to 17.0% in October from 17.1% in September. The high for U-6 was 17.4% in October 2009. Still grim.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks This graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 6.206 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was up from 6.123 million in September. It appears the number of long term unemployed has peaked ... although this may be because people are giving up.

The number of long term unemployed is staggering - still over 6 million people who are looking for a job.

Summary

The underlying details of the employment report were mixed. The positive included the 151,000 payroll jobs added, the upward revisions to August and September, a slight uptick in hours worked and average hourly earnings, and a slight decline in part time workers (and slight decline in U-6 unemployment).

The negatives include the declines in the employment-population ratio and the participation rate, the increase in workers unemployed for over 26 weeks, and the unemployment rate still flat at a very high level.

This report was a clear improvement from the previous four months, but this was still a fairly soft report.

  • Earlier Employment post: October Employment Report: 151,000 Jobs, 9.6% Unemployment Rate
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