Friday, March 5, 2010
Where did you go Joe? A nation bids its unemployed adieu in this Great Depression
'Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your hometown'
'Although he may not always recognize his bondage, modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers.'
'There was a young man from Trinity,
Who solved the square root of infinity.
While counting the digits,
He was seized by the fidgets,
Dropped science, and took up divinity.'
The Ancients used mathematics in order to try and understand the world around them.
Us Moderns use it to obfuscate.
First, let's agree on the basics.
The labor force is the number of people aged 16 or older who are either working or looking for work and the size of the labor force depends on two factors. The first is the size of the population, which is determined by rates of birth, immigration, and death. The second is the labor force participation rate—the percent of the population that is working or actively seeking employment.
From bls.gov : Excluded are persons under 16 years of age, all persons confined to institutions such as nursing homes and prisons, and persons on active duty in the Armed Forces. The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed. The remainder—those who have no job and are not looking for one—are counted as "not in the labor force." Many who are not in the labor force are going to school or are retired. Family responsibilities keep others out of the labor force. People with jobs are employed, people who do not have jobs and are looking for jobs are unemployed, and people who meet neither labor market test are not in the labor force.
Now, let's break down the numbers from when this secular bear started in 2000 to the February 2010 report (data from http://www.bls.gov/web/cpseea1.pdf):
In the year 2000:
Civilian noninstitutional population : 212,577,000
Civilian labor force : 142,583,000
Civilian labor force particpation rate : 67.1%
Number of employed : 136,891,000
Percent of Population : 64.4%
Number of unemployed : 5,692,000
Percent of Labor Force : 4.0%
Not in the labor force : 69,994,000
Let's compare that to February 2010:
Civilian noninstitutional population : 235,998,000
Civilian labor force : 153,512,000
Civilian labor force particpation rate : 64.8%
Number of employed : 138,641,000
Percent of Population : 58.5%
Number of unemployed : 14,871,000
Percent of Labor Force : 9.7%
Not in the labor force : 83,487,000
Holy denominator of doom oh ye bullisht throngs!
13 million people, over the last decade, have neither jobs nor any desire to look for one?
That's greater than the total increase of the civilian labor force!
But the boomer generation(and by the way what are we going to call the next one? the 'buster' generation?), those 74 million from 1946 to 1964, they ain't retiring en masse yet...
Oh golly I guess they are all going back to school to learn new skills for the global economy. But wait... according to the 2000 census there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten on. Out of this total 17.5 million were enrolled in post-secondary (college including graduate school.) Assuming the 2010 census doesn't report that an epidemic of forty and fifty somethings are joining the beer-bonging caste that is today's 'enseignement supérieur' in an entirely stealth fashion, 'going to school' seems to be a specious explanation...
Where did you go Joe? A nation bids its unemployed adieu in this Great Depression.
The Northern Trust stated on January 10,2006 in its' report, Noteworthy Aspects About the Participation Rate (2000-2005),'there is no conclusive research explaining the reasons for the downward trend.'...
Or as Alice said when stuck in the rabbit's room 'there's no room for me to grow up anymore here.'