"Our Children and Grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent" JFK

Friday, January 8, 2010

Yet another record for the unemployed

For the month of December 2009, 40% of the unemployed have been without a job for 27 or more weeks. This represents 4% of the total workforce or 6.1 million people. One year ago, the figure was 2.5 million people.

The average unemployment duration now sits at just over 29 weeks. One year ago the duration was roughly 19 ½ weeks. Total payrolls fell 85,000 for the month of December. These government reports require scrutiny given the “fudging” factors such as the ever changing seasonal adjustment formula and one of my favorites, the Birth/Death rate model.

Christina Romer (some of you might remember her as Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show) stated today that the decline in payroll employment in December was “disappointing and not what we want”. She also stated “the coast won't be clear until we're adding jobs at a robust case,” and was quick to not that “job losses are moderating”.

My personal favorite “Christina yak”: the December jobs report was “a slight setback” from November. As Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and a Ph. D. from M.I.T.; your description of our employment situation as disappointing and a slight setback sounds an awful like Barney Frank’s comment that Geithner lying to the citizens of this country was troubling.

You may recall Ms. Romer; the Department of Labor (DOL) previously announced that its monthly employment figures warrant a significant adjustment to their previously released data. Their initial estimate of this adjustment would be 800,000 less jobs than previously calculated. They went on to note that when the revisions are completed and announced in February 2010 the level of employment reported for each month since March 2008 will decline.

You are the one with the Ph. D. from M.I.T., maybe you should offer your assistance to the DOL and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in developing a credible Birth/Death rate model. Please, no darts as this has been used for years.

In case you can’t decide, Aunt Bee is the one that does not mislead grandkids.

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