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The Infamous Obama Unemployment Graph 3: We Are Saved!

Posted by ghostofsparta on August 7, 2009

Crossposted from http://paranoidpyro8503.blogspot.com/2009/08/infamous-obama-unemployment-graph-3-we.html

Today is the day. Can you feel the excitement? It’s the day the July unemployment numbers are released. I know you’re all anxious for the result, so without further ado I present you with the Infamous Obama Unemployment Graph for the month of July
Wow, do you guys see that? Unemployment went down a whole 0.1% from last month! Happy days are here again! From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. unemployment rate fell in July for the first time in 15 months as employers cut far fewer jobs than expected, providing the clearest sign yet that the economy was turning around.

Employers shed 247,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department said Friday, the least in any one month since last August, taking the unemployment rate to 9.4 percent, down from 9.5 percent in June.

The incomprable Slublog over at Ace of Spades helps to break the figures down in a slighly different way from the MSM:

It’s great to see the bleeding slow, but I wish the reason for it were different. Basically, unemployment went down because the rate of layoffs slowed; employment did not increase. People are not getting hired, they’re just getting fired in lesser numbers.


Now, I’m not an economist, but I have taken a couple math classes in my life. Something seems odd to me about 247,000+ losing jobs, but unemployment dropping by 1/10 of a percent. Not to worry, as during my research I found another chart from the same site as the one above, with a brief explanation:

Seems a little odd, since we actually lost 155,000 jobs in July (and we lost 247,000 jobs on non-farm payrolls). The only way we can lose jobs and still have the unemployment rate go down is if the labor pool goes down even faster. And in fact that’s what it did, dropping by 422,000 workers. But the “Want a Job” category only increased by about 100K, so where did the other 300K workers go?

As you can see from the chart, both the unemployed and “want to work” categories dropped, and we know that the employed dropped as well. Something’s not right here, unless 300,000 people simply gave up entirely and decided to become bloggers or something.

But of course the official unemployment numbers dropping to 9.4% (here’s where I admit to being wrong at predicting minimum 10%) is proof that the recession is over. The stimulus worked, and President Obama saved us.

We’re welcome.

I mean sure, it only took passing a $1 trillion+ spending bill back in January (Remember how urget that was? Congress couldn’t waste time reading and debating it, but Obama could take 5 days off after its passage to go on a date and then fly to Denver to sign it), waiting half a year, and still surpassing numbers that we were promised wouldn’t be surpassed if this was passed (And which are worse that what was predicted by the Obama administration itself if it wasn’t passed).

Ah, but not so fast. Anybody remember how, when President Bush had an unemployment rate close to %5, we were always being told about the “discouraged workers” who were no longer looking for work and were therefore not counted among the unemployment figures? Guess what, Obama has to deal with that same figure. An excellent follow up from Jim Geraghty over at NRO (read the whole thing, it’s rather short):

In July, 796,000 of those were taken out of their definition of the workforce, and thus their unemployment calculations for this month, because they have stopped looking for work “because they believe no jobs are available for them.” Ten percent of the June workforce would be 15.4 million, 1 percent would be 1.5 million, and so 796,000 is roughly one half of one percent.

In other words, BLS took .5 percent of what you and I would consider unemployed and took them out of their total. And with that, unemployment went down one tenth of one percent.

But that’s just crazy talk, from one of those right-wing mob Nazis. Everybody knows that President Obama would never lie to us. After all, they’re the most transparent and honest administration ever. Right?

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