Job Trends Continue in the Right Direction

Via CNN:  Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9% in October, the Labor Department said. While that’s the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008, it fell due mainly to workers dropping out of the labor force.

Some will rightly point out that this is still not good enough, however the important factor is that the trend line continues to go in the right direction.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    I’m waiting with bated breath for Doug to explain why this is really bad news.

  2. bill says:

    coulda just phoned that in steve, here’s a paragraph from the ap article; the rose colored glasses effect!

    And the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Seriously, did you actually read the report? The cognitive dissonance embodied in this blog post is staggering.

    FYI the unemployment rate dropped because there was a 350,000-person decline in November in the total workforce. IOW job prospects are so grim the equivalent population of an entire mid-sized city simply gave up and stopped looking for work.

    And there were substantial downward revisions to the previously-reported payroll gains for September and October. Turns out that 49,000 fewer payroll jobs were added than what originally had been reported.

    To say this is good news and that things are going in the “right direction” is like saying that it’s good news someone lost a lot of weight, because of cancer.

    In any event, for those who are beguiled by sheer irony, below are some other details:

    – Unemployment for the age 18-19 demographic is 20.3%.
    – Unemployment for the age 20-24 demographic is 12.7%.
    – Unemployment for the age 55 + demographic is 5.8%.

    – Unemployment rate for whites = 6.8%
    – Unemployment rate for Hispanics = 10.0%
    – Unemployment rate for blacks = 13.2%

  4. Let's Be Free says:

    Etch-A-Sketch government jobs report issued today with requisite headline November numbers. Below the headlines, big downward revisions in October and September job growth. Government pre-election reported some 50,000 more employees than it actually had in October. Imagine that! Drop in unemployment to 7.7 percent driven once again by Obama’s apathetic, entitlement driven economy – able bodied adults dropping out of the labor market in droves. Move on proletariat. Pay no attention.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    See? I told you it was bad news. If we get down to 6% we’ll be reduced to cannibalism.

  6. @michael reynolds: We are all doomed.

  7. Let's Be Free says:

    By the way, which right direction trend are you talking about, the trend in accelerating payroll employment numbers being revised to stagnant or softening payroll numbers in subsequent months when no one is looking? Or is it the trend in people dropping out of the productive economy? Please do inform.

  8. john personna says:

    LOL, I saw the title and thought “OMG good news from Doug!”

  9. Let's Be Free says:

    The “good news” is, at this rate the unemployment rate will be zero at the end of Obama’s presidency, because no one will be counted as unemployed. Party on!

  10. @michael reynolds:

    You must be referring to the 540,000 people who dropped out of the labor market and the fact that 146,000 net jobs isn’t even keeping up with population growth

  11. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Do you have a national policy to deal with that?

    Or is another “things bad, president bad” level comment?

  12. john personna says:

    (I don’t know how the lunatic right became the party of no economic knowledge, but there it is. The theme of complaints in this sub-thread is “I don’t know, and don’t want to know, how it all works, I just want to complain.”)

  13. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Wait, youth unemployment isn’t all a problem with the gen-y’s themselves anymore?

  14. @john personna:

    Wait, youth unemployment isn’t all a problem with the gen-y’s themselves anymore?

    It is hard to keep track of the various assertions, to be sure.

  15. stonetools says:

    The good thing is that Obama has put some stimulus into his fiscal cliff package. Its not much. but its a start.

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Already up Mikey……LOL….Doom and gloom is all around us….. deep and crisp and even

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    I’ve said this on another thread but it bears repeating….. what’s going to be amusing is the exact point of economic recovery when Republicans and fellow travellers like Doug change the narrative from it’s all Obama’s fault to Presidents have nothing to do with economic performance. It’s as predictable as night following day.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Doug gets the economy he is asking for…doesn’t like it.
    I’m shocked, shocked.

  19. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    that 146,000 net jobs isn’t even keeping up with population growth

    Nonsense. You just make shit up to fit your preexisting conclusions.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    These sad, pathetic conservatives and libertarians…they’re still stuck on the first stage of grief & loss…they’ll be so much better off when they move on to the next stages…

  21. stonetools says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’ve said this on another thread but it bears repeating….. what’s going to be amusing is the exact point of economic recovery when Republicans and fellow travellers like Doug change the narrative from it’s all Obama’s fault to Presidents have nothing to do with economic performance. It’s as predictable as night following day.

    I bet on 6.9% unemployment.
    I also can’t wait for the Republican House to claim credit for the recovery. They’ll claim it began when they took control in January 2011-even though they’ve done everything they could to stall the economy

  22. bill says:

    maybe we should thank congress? after all, they get the blame for everything Bush doesn’t! but really, the economy will eventually right itself despite who’s in the white house. seeing all those that have actually just given up looking for work is not a good thing.

  23. Max Lybbert says:

    the important factor is that the trend line continues to go in the right direction.

    In the part of the article quoted, it states that unemployment “fell due mainly to workers dropping out of the labor force.” That is not a good trend, even if the unemployment number looks good. A portion of the article not quoted goes into more detail:

    Households claimed they had 122,000 fewer jobs in November, and also showed 350,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

    122,000 fewer jobs is not a good trend. It’s not just “not good enough”; it’s outright bad. While there were fewer jobs overall, there were less people looking for jobs than the month before so the unemployment rate fell.

    To qualify for “not good enough” a trend would have to be something you want more of. For instance, if unemployment improved because only 150,000 jobs were created and you wanted 200,00 or more, you could say “this is not good enough, let’s try to increase the rate of job growth.” But to say “the unemployment rate improved because 350,000 people gave up on finding a job any time in the near future, this is not good enough; next month let’s try to get even more people to give up on their job search” is simply mind boggling.

  24. Max Lybbert says:

    @mantis: The article linked to includes the statement “Economists often say that job growth around 150,000 a month is enough to keep up with population growth, but not much more.” can you explain how Doug’s original comment was nonsense given this information?

  25. Whitfield says:

    Most people who are still working are receiving pay that has not kept pace with the cost of living. Many who have lost jobs and finally found work are working for far less pay and less/no benefits.
    I know one person who had worked at a bank for years, lost his job, and after three years, found work at a convenience store at just a little above minimum wage. My salary has not gone up in five years while prices on just about everything that is needed to live on have gone up substantially, especially food and gas. Salaries have not kept up with inflation, unless you are a professional baseball, football, or basketball player (NHL on strike). I don’t know about golfers, bowlers, or pro wrestlers.