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Monday, January 02, 2012

A More Reliable Number To Go By

Like a lot of people, I get a bit peeved when I read somewhere that the number of Americans who became unemployed in a given month rose, but the unemployment rate in that same month declined. I know I'm not all that bright, but how can that be?

Well, it can be. Because it so happens that a whole lot of people are simply dropping out of the workforce. They are no longer "employable." A phenomenon that has caused me on occasion to quip: When we're all out of work we will have achieved zero unemployment. (It has to do with numerators and denominators. Look it up.)

So, for a more reliable indicator, I'm moving away from the (aggravating) monthly unemployment percentage and looking more toward the number of employed Americans in this country.

To that end, this chart, from The Atlantic, is telling:

It shows (in addition to the jobless rate) that fewer Americans have jobs today than did 30 years ago.

All those in that hump between then and now?



Flat gone.

Who do we blame for that?