I laughed out loud when I read this from Gallup's November unemployment report.
Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 8.5% in November — up slightly from 8.4% in October, but down from 8.8% a year ago. Gallup's unemployment measure suggests the government is likely to report essentially no change for November 2011 in its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.
This was only a few minutes after Calculated Risk reported on the BLS jobless rate for November.
The U.S. gained 120,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.0%, the Labor Department said Friday. The government also revised jobs data for October and September to show that 72,000 additional jobs were created. ... Hiring in October was revised up to 100,000 from 80,000 and the job gains in September were revised up to 210,00 from 158,000. In November, companies in the private sector hired 140,000 workers ... Government cut 20,000 jobs...
Some of the decline in in the unemployment rate was related to a decline in the number of workers in the labor force. I'll have more on this soon.
UPDATE — OK, let's get the scoop from the generally clueless but indomitable Salon columnist Andrew Leonard.
Merry Christmas, President Obama. The topline takeway from the November jobs reports makes for a White House-friendly headline. The unemployment rate in November fell 0.4 percent, from 9.0 to 8.6, a remarkable drop down to a two-year-low after a year in which the percentage of unemployed hardly ever budged. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy also added 120,000 jobs, in line with the trend that has been in place for the past few months.. The broadest measure of unemployment, the U-6 number that counts workers in part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work, fell from 16.2 to 15.6 percent...
[My note: that's the seasonally adjusted U-6 number. The unseasonally adjusted number is 15.0%, which is three full points below Gallup's comparable unseasonally adjusted number as reported below.]
The labor force participation rate also fell — implying that around half of the drop in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the 320,000 Americans who have simply stopped looking for jobs. Average hours worked per week didn’t budge at all and average hourly wages fell — clear signs of a weak labor market...
[My note: Those not in the Labor Force increased 487,000.]
I just heard an airhead on NPR use the phrase "unmitigated joy" regarding the new official jobless rate. You know, life doesn't get any better than this. Maybe it's not propaganda at all. Maybe they're just stupid!
Although Gallup did not expect the unemployment rate to decline at all, let alone by nearly half a percent, their unseasonally adjusted rate (8.5%) is about the same as the new BLS seasonally adjusted rate (8.6%). What does this mean? Who knows?
The bigger problem is Gallup's underemployment rate, which includes those without jobs and those working part-time who want full-time work (9.6%). If you add the two numbers together, you get 18.1%, which is higher than a year ago.
Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is 18.1% in November, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment. That is up from 17.8% a month ago and 17.2% a year ago. Many employers appear to have chosen to hire part-time rather than full-time employees for this holiday season.
This is definitely not Good News, and since nobody else is likely to tell you what's going on, I decided to put it in the headline. Not only is the economy creating lousy jobs, but these lousy jobs are part-time jobs.
Tomorrow we'll have a new Saturday Oil Report. Have a good weekend.
Bonus Video — Bill Holstein explains why this jobs report doesn't matter and why the American economy is structurally unsound.