Friday, October 05, 2012

Unemployment rate drops to 7.8% in September

Click here to read the LA Times story. The rate went down because of strong enough job growth, not because people dropped out of the labor force. The labor force participation rate rose from 63.5% to 63.6%. The percent of the adult population that has a job rose from 58.3% to 58.7%. The table below shows this latter number over time.

Click here and here to see the BLS data.

The government does two different surveys that don't always give the same result. See Why Jobs Surveys Don't Always Tell the Same Story by BEN CASSELMAN of the WSJ. Excerpt:
"The monthly payroll number—how many jobs are gained or added in a month—is based on a survey of about 141,000 businesses and government agencies. The unemployment rate and related statistics are based on an separate survey of about 60,000 individual households.
The business survey is larger and generally more stable. Since the start of 2011, payrolls have grown by an average of 169,000 jobs a month. The growth, though slow, has been relatively consistent. Payrolls have risen by more than 250,000 only three times since the start of 2011, and by less than 50,000 only once.
The household survey is more volatile. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8% from 9% over the past year, but rather than a smooth downward trend, the rate has moved in fits and starts, and has even risen on occasion. The survey's tally of people with jobs—based on counting the number of people who say they are working, rather than the business survey's count of employees—has been even choppier."

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