Saturday, April 12, 2008

What the Dems Are Playing On: Jobs

BigPic points out a little-known difference between two measures of "employment."

"The unemployment rate paints a less gloomy picture. Among men ages 25 to 54 — a range that starts after most people finish their education and ends well before most people retire — the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent. That is not especially low, but it is well below the peak rate in all but one post-World War II recession. Only people without jobs who are actively looking for work qualify as unemployed in the computation of that rate. It does not count people who are not looking for work, whether or not they would like to have a job.

But there is another rate — called the jobless rate in this article — that counts the proportion of people without jobs. To be sure, some of them do not want to work. Some are raising families on a spouse’s income, or are disabled, retired or independently wealthy. But others may be discouraged workers, who would take jobs if they thought any desirable positions were available.

Both measures are flawed insofar as neither precisely measures 'those willing/able/interested in work but not having it,' which, arguably, would be the best measure and description.

The "jobless" rate is nasty:

In the latest report, for March, the Labor Department reported the jobless rate — also called the “not employed rate” by some — at 13.1 percent for men in the prime age group. Only once during a post-World War II recession did the rate ever get that high. It hit 13.3 percent in June 1982, the 12th month of the brutal 1981-82 recession, and continued to rise from there

One suspects that the Jobless Rate is the lever used by the Democrats. Obviously, the Republicans like the Unemployment Rate.

The chart used by BigPic indicates that the (very rough) average between the Unemployment and Jobless rates post-1983 is 8%.

No comments: