December Unemployment Rate

A good part of this drop was caused by the ongoing decline of the number of workers in the labor force. The labor force participation rate dropped sharply to 64.1%. This is the lowest participation rate since 1983’s 64.0%. Anyone who argues that the drop in the unemployment rate signals an improving economy should be forced to recycle their Ph.D. in economics into aluminum beer cans. Continue Reading →

Unemployment Drops to 8.6% — Can the News Really Be That Good?

The current increases in U.S. output are largely being fueled by huge productivity increases. As the U.S. moves increasingly toward a service producing information economy, the productivity of educated people will continue to soar. The question of what happens to the rest of the population remains unanswered. Continue Reading →

Nine Point Eight! Are You Convinced Yet?

“President Obama had scheduled a speech about the economy this morning, but instead he went to Afghanistan.”[1] No wonder. If I was president I wouldn’t want to be in the country today either.

Today the November labor market report was released. The, um, highlight was the unemployment rate: 9.8%. Corporate profits are soaring and the economy is growing, albeit slowly. So where are the jobs? Continue Reading →

Will Quits Keep the Unemployment Rate High?

But, like so many economic events, there is a potential downside to this. Take a look at the totals above. The total entrants to the labor force are increasing, despite the fact that layoffs only increased slightly between February and March. The large number of quits could put upward pressure on the unemployment rate. Continue Reading →