The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Department of Labor, released it’s employment situation summary this morning and the news is not as good as the first paragraph suggests.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing.
The opening phrases indicate a .2% drop in the unemployment rate – YAY .. right? Not so fast. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 or more weeks) was basically unchanged and the civilian labor force participation rate (the portion of working age Americans that are working) stayed at 63.7% – no change. 36.3% of able Americans are not working – holy cow! The unemployment rate is declining while the percentage of able Americans actually working didn’t change – go figure.
Other real statistics that didn’t change were the “marginally attached” workers. They aren’t counted in the labor force even though they’ve looked for work in the last 12 months. Just like January of last year – there are 2.8 million of them. 1.1 million of the marginally attached workforce have become disillusioned with the idea of ever getting work and have given up – so-called “discouraged workers”. There were basically the same number of discouraged workers in January of 2011. Ah, the recovery..
Those taking part-time jobs because they have to is also basically unchanged in 2012’s first month – 8.2 million Americans are still settling for part-time work because a better full-time job doesn’t exist for them.
While the top line, media-friendly unemployment number keeps getting better (in an election year with a Democrat incumbent president) the rest of the report shows a jobless economy – an economy where those unemployed just stay that way – for a very long time.