Is Your Unemployment Chart Upside Down?

CrownThomas's picture

Is your unemployment chart that you're focusing on upside down? I contend that it is.

As the "official" unemployment rate ticked down to 8.2% in March, and the actual unemployment rate ticked down to 14.8%, here is the chart you'll be shown from the mainstream media, especially during this election season:



That's nice. Except for the fact that people who are willing & capable of working are leaving the workforce en masse.

The number of people not in the labor force is now at an all time high, as nearly 88 million people are not participating (must be everyone is just able to retire?)


Also, one of the most interesting charts I've come across (via IceCap Asset Management), shows the total number of Americans who have a job, in any capacity. This number has now dipped below 64%, and even if the Bernank buys all the bad debt in the world it will have difficulty correcting this trend. If I were Mitt Romney or Ron Paul, I'd put this on the front of my podium and use it as a back drop for each & every speaking engagement I had:


So, what are you focused on? If you're looking strictly at a chart of the "official" unemployment rate, you should flip it upside down - that would give you a better idea of how things really are out there.

After all, what Keynesians seem to consistently forget, is that a stock market =/= an economy.




Charts: Bloomberg, Zero Hedge, IceCap Asset Mgmt



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TruthHunter's picture

The elephant in the room is that there are probably

a billion unemployed worldwide.  Productivity often

destroys jobs, especially those on the left end of the

bell curve.

You either create/makeup jobs or create money so they

can participate.

rsnoble's picture

During layoffs in previous years I did my own version of American Pickers.  In fact I never even knew what that show was about and have never watched it.  Anyhows with the latest round of layoffs 4 years ago work never came back and actually had to rely on that full time which I never thought would happen. Granted there's a lot of people trying to do it but it's not so easy and you do have to have some kind of instinct for it.  My last deal a week ago I sold $200 worth of stuff for $1400. No kidding.  At any rate what im trying to get at is that since this last layoff I have paid off all the bills. I seen the writing on the wall and also paid off the house.  Since my $40hr job isn't coming back most jobs I qualify for are in the $10hr range.  So let's see.......probably $100 in deductions including gas, if not more. In other words..........I have worked myself right out of the workforce and don't plan on going back. Fuck employers, you can't trust any of them. Then you see interviews with business owners on the finance pages "oh people are lazy because of unemployment and people in other countries have to work their asses off for fear of losing their job".......sure you can argue that's true but be careful what you wish for.  We recently had a bunch of congressman step off a plan from China and were praising their factories. They want everyone working 7 12's for shit wages.  I'm not fucking doing it, and neither are the other 88 million.  These fucking idiots already forgot we had a small taste of the good life now they want to treat us like dogs?  I suspect NDAA and 30k drones might be for the bad attitude people are soon to display.  Fuck them raw.

Hannibal's picture

JOBS?...doing what?

Bob Dobbs's picture

Since this is the new normal, why not take advantage of the fact that there are going to be less jobs in the future.  Have one parent stay home and feed the kids, and make certain their homework gets done.  Use the turmoil to create stability.


False Capital's picture

because that's not the game plan here. Two slaves earnings are needed for the parasites, not one. Also, kids to be sent for a government "education" whilst parents toil.

User 3461's picture

I can't recall if labor participation includes gov employees. But here in St Louis, there is a situation of "ghost employees" that are on the Treasury's payroll, but are no-shows. I'm guessing that a lot of the local govs have these private welfare programs, and the same in the private (family) businesses too. Point being, even that labor participation graph paints too rosey a picture, perhaps.

Overflow-admin's picture

This is a little out of the subject, but I think it's important:


Judge Arrow's picture

I left the labor market, don't work at all, got all I need. I make money the old fashioned way...I steal.

Hey, do you need to borrow some dough?

Lednbrass's picture

I am continually amazed when reading the official numbers that so many millions of people only worked for fun and needed their jobs so little that they could just walk away from them no problem, thereby joining the many people who no longer count as they somehow arent part of the labor force. Labor force reduced, numbers get better, problem solved. Woohoo!

Heckuva job, Brownie!

LongSoupLine's picture

If we could just start taxing those millionaires for more then we'll all be saved and none of us will need to work. sarc/

Sleepless Knight's picture

The government can take all their stats and flip them up their ass!

Ying-Yang's picture

Yep SK... they are from BAS, Bureau of Ass Stats

Zero Govt's picture

funny, but that's where they come from too

engineertheeconomy's picture

Think of how many new jobs could be created if we were to end the central banking system. There would not be nearly enough available people to fill all the jobs. There would be no such thing as unemployment.

So why are YOU continuing to enable them?
Just say no to the bankers. Buy precious metals. Tell your banker to stick his paper up his ass

Element's picture

A demographic breakdown with your second graph would help.

MichiganMilitiaMan's picture

Why are you being so racist?  Sarcasm Off.

StychoKiller's picture

Demographics by "Age", ya maroon!

Pete15's picture

Hey Im reading something factual about the markets, I must be on ZeroHedge again.

hbjork1's picture

Yup, You are in the right place.

If the advertising doesn't destroy it.


Vendetta's picture

indeed.  The puppy's and rainbows economic reports are on tv.

Earl of Chiswick's picture

Tom Keene and Ken Prewit to John Silvia (Wells Fargo ) on jobs last week.



Keene - "where are the 10 million people who have disappeared?"

Silvia - "laugh, laugh, laugh  alot are doing other things with their lives"

Keene - "I don't buy that... what are they doing?? bowling"

Silvia - "laugh, The hispanic population has returned to Mexico"

( Keene should have responded - 'what? as mules for the drug trade that Wells/Wachovia helped to finance' )

Silvia Sees 'Structural Problem" in U.S. Labor Market (Audio)
April-09-12 8:38 AM

lasvegaspersona's picture

humbling, as a non economist it is hard to admit how much of my opinions are just that, formed by personal experience and a smattering of Reader Digest type economic reading. To listen to these professionals I am lost. I'm completely reliant upon translation by those I trust. I couldn't keep up at all.

As a physician this happens all the time. Just walk into a talk about something in your field but slightly specialized and the new info and the jargon soon seperates out the amateurs.

thus the value of ZH and comments

dogbreath's picture

intellectual drivel,   or to be less kind,  intelectual masterbation.    its dialectical bullshit, its a false dicussion presented as valid sucking in those with just enough intelligence to parrot or mix and scramble.