The Real US Unemployment Rate: 11.5%

Tyler Durden's picture

While it may appear at first glance that the first chart below shows just one data series, what we have shown are two data sets: one presents, on an inverted axis, the Civilian Employment-to-Population rate, which unlike the unemployment rate as a fraction of the labor force (most recently printing at just 7%), has barely budged since the Lehman collapse. The other data set shows what an implied unemployment rate as calculated by Zero Hedge would be assuming a long-term average of 65.8% worker labor participation rate.

As we reported earlier, according to the BLS this number most recently was 63.0%: a 20 bps rebound from the 35 year low posted in October, but still woefully wrong. The chart shows much more accurately what the real unemployment rate would be when looking at the overall noninstitutional population instead of the ever rising amount of Americans who for one reason or another are not in the labor force.


On the next chart, we then proceed to juxtapose the implied unemployment rate with the officially reported BLS data.

In short: applying a realistic labor force participation rate to the unemployment rate series, shows that the real US unemployment rate is now 11.5%, a 4.5% difference from the reported number, and the second highest ever, only better compared to October's 4.7%.

Of course, don't inform the Fed of this discrepancy: if aware, the Fed's monetary mandarins would likely never taper. Then again, if indeed the Fed never does taper as many suggest (since it is the flow, not the stock), we will know just which series of unemployment data the Fed is looking at.

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wallstreetaposteriori's picture

Looks like things are getting better!  BTFD & BTFATH

Pooper Popper's picture

Urge to kill RISING,,fading,,,fading,,,,,RISING!!!

Homer Simpson

Headbanger's picture

“That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”
? Joseph Goebbels

Dr. Richard Head's picture

What's the big deal?  The reporting of the unemployment rate is only 95% LOWER than what it really is.  Remember, full faith and credit of the almighty DOHlar is what keeps the train moving, so if people believe it to be good then it will be good.  Just like Santa Clause. /sarc

TruthInSunshine's picture

41% of Net New Jobs in November Were in Government

No biggie. Only 1 in 5 people with a job in America work for government as it is. Let's have government hire MOAR!

"Federal, state and local governments hired a net additional 338,000 workers in November, equaling 41 percent of the total of 818,000 net additional jobs created in the United States during the month."

Clint Liquor's picture

Local TV is running ads by 'companies' offering to get you approved for Social Security Disability. The pitch is: It is your RIGHT, even if you have been previously denied, many conditions you might not be aware of qualify, etc.

The good thing for Government is: If you are disabiled, you are not unemployed.

derek_vineyard's picture

i gave up being actively negative on asset bubbles several months ago and slowed down my posts here.  when the debt and overspending does hit i'll join up here to say 'i told you so'.  meanwhile....i do what i do......and fuck what the markets say

Cortez's picture

But I went all in yesterday. 

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Chocolate rations have been increased to 20 grams.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Does it got any weed up in it?


"Swallowing half an hour before closing time, that second dose of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds."

It's a Brave New World.

22winmag's picture

Even 11.5% is generous...

Martial's picture

Yea I wonder what John Williams has it at.

greatbeard's picture

>> Even 11.5% is generous...

I don't know.  For example, I just sold 40 strawberry runners for $10, effectively dropping me from the rolls of the long term unemployed.  A lot of people are falling into that category.  Bring in a coke bottle for a refund, off the list you go.  Find a quarter in a parking lot, off the list you go.

maskone909's picture

but he's just a stupid cripple

NOTW777's picture

dont tell seeking obama aka seeking alpha - they are gushing at the wonderful numbers and quickly deleting any posts that question the same

q99x2's picture

I'm not in the labor force because of BitCoin so you can take me off of the graph.

Ignatius's picture

Don't worry, self driving trucks are on the way.

We'll all be celebrating full employment soon if we can just kick-start the slumbering prison building program.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"Don't worry, self driving trucks are on the way"...

I'm assuming by the same Company that develops the software for waiterless restaurants and checkout counters at every grocery store.

Good demand if you're a software developer, but I wouldn't want to be making that 3:00am call to Bangalore to get the code fixed when that truck is driving in the wrong lane!

akarc's picture

So Imagine

If Amazon wouldn't give a rats ass about your drone delivered camera how Applebee's will feel about your servant delivered meal. 


Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Careful now.  Jeff wants only the best for us, just like Keith Alexander.

Re-using those wonderful words of George Herbert Walker after we annihilated Iraq in the first Gulf War

-"It's a kindler gentler drone"...

webspin's picture


glass is half empty...

glass is half empty...

glass is half empty...

glass is half empty...

glass is half empty...

glass is half empty...

Skateboarder's picture


There are still no jobs tomorrow...

There are still no jobs tomorrow...

There are still no jobs tomorrow...

There are still no jobs tomorrow...

There are still no jobs tomorrow...

There are still no jobs tomorrow...

OneTinSoldier66's picture

+1 But I've heard that there's plenty of job growth in the new normal thanks to Obamacare. Jobs are growing from full-time to part-time.


If you like your full-time job, you can take your full-time job and shove it.

kliguy38's picture

ugh! webspin

I'm a gov psyop...

I'm a gov psyop...

I'm a gov psyop...

akarc's picture

If it is always half empty it is always half full. Therefor does not reflect the true economic status  of most Americans.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

You guys got a glass? I'm down to cupping my hands together....

Toolshed's picture

If the choice of your screen name is any indication of your expertise as a professional troll, I sincerely recommend you rethink your career path. I hear walmart is hiring.

NOTW777's picture

webspin - for happy obama talk see seeking alpha - you will luv it

frankTHE COIN's picture

If the glass is really 1/3 full, but you are being told it is Half Full, it is your fiduciary duty to expose it.

nightshiftsucks's picture

It's obvious Webspin that you kneeled in front of your master Obama,unzipped his pants,put his penis in your mouth and you drank his koolaid. Now you're trippin

SofaPapa's picture


ZH is a home for bears.  That means it has a perspective, and that's what makes it entertaining and interesting to read.  I only wish there were more news sources out there with the bravery to acknowledge and celebrate their perspective, thus clarifying their writing.  The readers on here, one hopes, are smart enough to recognize confirmation bias as a threat and to try to balance out ZH's perspective with others that are more positive in nature.  We can then apply critical thinking to determine our own opinions based on a variety of inputs.  

From my perspective, the reason ZH is ending up becoming the "bearish goldstandard" (with a variety of meanings behind that phrase) is because they are presenting a lot of data that is seen almost nowhere else in the media sphere and that does not fit the "recovery" script.  Because noone else is presenting this negative data, ZH has a lot to put out there.  

The acid test for their perspective will come if TPTB adopt a true hard-money standard (either metallic or perhaps there is room for creativity here?) with equal -- meaning non-corrupt -- treatment for elite and small investors (what ZH fundamentally supports, Tyler can step in here and correct me if I'm wrong), the economy continues falling apart, the markets tank, and all the other media are trumpeting the "world is over!" meme with data showing continuing collapse.  In theory, if the above is the Tylers' perceived medicine, then at that point, no matter how bad the economy appears at any given moment, ZH would be cheerleading for the leadership.  It would be in that environment that contrarians would be seeking out positive clues to suggest the strategy is working.  Currently, given that the hard money standard is still an oddity only to be discussed in MSM sources as an unworkable and / or subversive option, while the concept of a genuinely level playing field in the investment world is demonstrably a joke, the Tylers' perspective still has a long way to go until it faces its acid test, needing to decide to be either contrarian, or bearish.

I don't see that test happening any time soon.

At the same time, I am beginning to see interesting signs of the MSM beginning to question the underpinnings of the current system.  Two articles jumped out at me:

In their quest to stay "relevant", they may yet be forced into actually reporting material that shows the current strategy is failing miserably.  Time will tell.

yogibear's picture

Sure looks like the government really cooks their numbers.

Robots replace workers in fast food restaurants as wages rise  More long-term unemployment and higher prices will eventually be more noticeable. 

As long as the sheeple believe it continues.

akarc's picture

Wages are rising?  And of course were workers willing to shovel shit for close to nothing restaurants would never replace them with robots just to add a percentage or two to profit margin. Then again you maybe correct. Since Chinese labor in many instances is cheaper than automating. But then the workers wear out fairly early over there. Hmmmm,  China is easing up on the one child policy. Apwlle we find u  more workers quickie, quickie. U make mo money.

666's picture

My calculations show the real US I'm-on-the-dole rate is currently 29%.

pointandfigure's picture

So last month 900k people were taken out of the employment pool and some how the employment rate went up.  This month they add 400k+ back into the labor pool and the rate goes down.  Do they think we are that stupid?

Toolshed's picture

"Do they think we are that stupid?"


NOTW777's picture

see seeking alpha - yes, they are that stupid

NidStyles's picture

Very few people look at the actual site with the data. Most just read the headlines and go with that.

SheepDog-One's picture

3 part time min wage jobs to make the minimum credit card payment, the new American Dream!

falak pema's picture

So...Obammy is batting in same league as : Hollande of France! 

adr's picture

For your viewing pleasure I give to you the savior of America's children Knightscope:

The K5 Autonomous Data Machine

Sandy Hook will never happen again with Knightscope.

Don't worry you can trust the robot.

My favorite quote:

"The co-founders have chosen to position the K5 not as a job killer, but as a system that will upgrade the role of security guard, even if fewer humans are employed."