Thursday, January 23, 2014

U6 Watch: December 2013

U6 Watch was a monthly feature I started in July 2013 to track the abysmal shape of the U.S. labor market and the distortion of labor market statistics to make it appear as though things are improving. I've since become too busy with personal responsibilities and my day job to update it each month. Fortunately, Dean Baker has you covered (at least for December), making the same points I've made in previous months:
The headline unemployment rate fell sharply to 6.7 percent in December. However, this is not good news. The drop was almost entirely due to people leaving the labor force as the number of people reported employed in December only rose by 143,000, just enough to keep the employment-to-population ratio constant.
EPI also reports (including graph at the top of the page):
...That means there were 2.7 job seekers for every job opening in November. In a labor market with strong job opportunities, the ratio would be close to 1-to-1. November’s ratio of 2.7-to-1 means that for more than three out of five job seekers, there simply are no jobs.

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