Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drum piece and Employment Figures

My Drum piece from yesterday looked at banking costs. 

The latest unemployment figures came out today. I’m a bit flat out editing my book at the moment, so I’ll just fling a few graphs at you.

The seasonal rate dropped from 5.2% to 5.1% (or if you want to get really anal, from 5.2256864% to 5.0854746% a drop of 0.1402118% – though that is all a bit meaningless). The trend rate stayed flat at 5.2%

The actual employment number did rise:

“Employment increased 46,300 (0.4%) to 11,463,900. Full-time employment increased 12,300 persons to 8,063,100 and part-time employment increased 34,000 persons to 3,400,800.”

But a comparison of the trend and seasonal counts of employment are interesting:


The trend is flat (and has been for a while). The seasonal rate is jumping around a fair bit, but the Government (and everyone else who likes working) will be hoping this past months big seasonal boost keeps going.

One rarely looked at figure is the rate of employment as a percentage of the population. The trend measure of this shows that not all is rosy:


There has been a dip in the past 6 months reflected by the decline in the Participation Rate


So all in all, not boom time figures, but certainly not lousy, either.


Matt C said...

Greg, you know that your really anal percentages imply that the employment figures are known exactly down to each individual employed....

Also, I have noticed that Krugman prefers the employment-population ratio as a better indicator of employment trend because "it isn’t subject to questions about whether people not in the labor force are really just as unemployed as those in the measured labor force without jobs".

Perhaps people should be looking at that statistic more?

Greg Jericho said...

Matt, I must admit when I did the graph I was kind of surprised at the dip in the past 6 months - and given the correlation of declines over the past 35 years with recessions or slow downs in the economy, I thought it worth showing.

I think I will keep looking at it.

Andrew Elder said...

Is this what's called a soft landing?