More on the Jobs Report: Signal-to-Noise Low but Not Zero

January 10th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

The report is definitely too negative given some upside developments, but large gaps remains and economy-whisperers have to listen more closely at times like this.  Over at the NYT Economix blog.

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2 comments in reply to "More on the Jobs Report: Signal-to-Noise Low but Not Zero"

  1. Kevin Rica says:

    Another element of the noise is in the labor force participation rate. Over the long term, there is a lot of noise in that signal because of the long-time trend of women entering the job market, for a variety of reasons.

    A lot of press reporting noted that December’s labor force participation rate was the lowest in 36 years. Except that 36 year’s ago, the women’s movement was hitting full stride. Many more women stayed in the labor force after getting married and even after having children. That was rare previously. Women’s labor force participation didn’t hit 40% until 1965.

    That positive trend covers up a negative trend of men seemingly being forced from the labor market because of lack of opportunities. In May of 1978, the last time the total labor labor force participation rate was so low (62.6), men’s participation was 77.3 (women were 49.4). Total men are down 68.8. Women’s labor force participation is lower than a few years ago, but it’s still up over 7 points compared to May, 1978.

    It’s worse when you look at men of prime working years, 25-54. Back when men were men, their labor force participation rate hit 97.9 in July of 53 when the Korean War Amistice was signed. It’s now 88.0. What are these guys doing? (Serious question!) How are they supporting themselves? Moreover, who are they supporting? If men don’t work, what else are we good for? That 10-point spread conceals a lot of real unemployment.

  2. Larry Signor says:

    Recessions of this severity generate usurious black markets which keep many of us “guys” going at discounted rates for our services. A man can get by with a little money, but he can’t get by with no money. We may not participate in your workforce, but we are still in the game.