Sunday, November 15, 2015

November, 2015, Part 1, By The Numbers: Economic Numbers Still Reek

This is the first post this month as we continue our periodic discussion of “by the numbers.” We do this theme occasionally where we look at the reality of the numbers in the world and not the lies, deceptions, and spin of the American political class. I used to work for a boss whose favorite quote was: “There is nothing more devastating to an opinion than the correct number.” By looking at the statistics, trends, and numbers in our world we can cut through the politicians’ smoke screen to truly understand what is going on and hopefully, remedy the issues of the day.

The numbers we will look at this week will often have a common thread running almost through all of them: the views, positions, and opinions of the majority of Americans are often the exact opposite of the views and related actions that our politicians own. Since we are supposed to be living in a representative government system one would hope that the laws, rules, and government functions that our politicians oversee reflect the thinking, hopes, and views of the American citizenry.

The latest monthly economic results are out and for the most part they still stink, a reality that seems to occur to the Obama economic realities every month. And while some people might try real hard to find some good news in the latest monthly statistics and numbers, the overall picture continues to be gloomy for the national economy and Americans, as we continue to suffer through the worst economic recovery for a very long time:
  • The good news, if there is any, is that the Feds estimate that nonfarm employment increased by 271,000 in October, more than what was expected, higher than the past several months and higher than the 12 month average of 230,000.
  • The other bit of faux good news is that the “official” unemployment rate is still at around 5.0%. However, as we will see shortly, this “official” unemployment rate is becoming more and more obsolete as more and more Americans become too discouraged to even look for a job and drop out of the workforce, skewing the official unemployment rate lower than it has been historically, as measured by the labor force participation rate.
  • The official number of unemployed Americans was unchanged at a whopping 7.9 million people. This does not include those folks that have left the workforce because of discouragement in looking for a job.
  • The number of long term (out of a job for more than 27 weeks) unemployed Americans was unchanged at 2.1 million.
  • The critical measurement of labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.4% as it continues to bump along at depressing low levels not seen since the Carter Presidency years almost 40 years ago.
  • The employment-population ratio was stuck at depressing low level of 59.3%, basically unchanged over the past year according to the government analysis and write up.
  • The number of people employed part time for “economic reasons,” i.e. involuntary part time workers who would like a fulltime job but cannot find one, dropped a little to finish at 5.8 million Americans in October. 
  • Over the past year this category of has decreased by 1.2 million people which is good news if they got full time jobs or bad news if they got so discouraged that they completely dropped out of the workforce.
  • Thus, between the totally unemployed and the involuntary part time employed, there are almost 14 million (13.7) Americans who cannot find a full time job they want. This does NOT include the millions that have dropped out of the workforce altogether.
  • The overall African-American unemployment rate was 9.2% in October, almost double the total unemployment rate of 5.0% and definitely more than double the rate of white unemployment rate of 4.4%.
  • The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans was about 25% higher than the total unemployment rate, 6.3%.
Here’s the thing about the supposedly good monthly job numbers over the past year. If the average number of new jobs created per month was 230,000, than over the past year the Obama economic policies generated about 2.76 million nonfarm jobs. However, over the past five years or so, the U.S. adult population has grown about by about 2.5 million adults every year. 

So at best, at a run rate of 230,000 jobs a month, the number of new jobs barely beat out the number of incremental adults in the population by about 300,000. At this rate, it would take about 46 years to get those 13.7 million unemployed or involuntary part time employed to find a full time job, assuming no currently employed people lost their jobs and we do not get hit with a recession in those 46 years. (13.7 million divided by the incremental 300,000 jobs created per year beyond the growth in adults in the country is 46 years).

I know that that the previous calculation is little nonsensical but it does illustrate how sluggish and anemic the Obama economy is and has been. And if the above government results and my calculations do not convince you, consider that there are STILL over 45 million Americans receiving Federal government food assistance every month. Nothing says a bad economy like having about 14% of your population in danger of having a food shortage every month.

That’s enough numbers for today. While the numbers are a little better this month from an economic perspective, they still stink overall as we continue to suffer from economic ignorance and idiocy from the Washington political class. More numbers to follow over the next few days.

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