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Real Jobless Rate Is 11.4% With Realistic Labor Force Participation Rate

Tyler Durden's picture


One does not need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the fudging the BLS has been doing every month for years now in order to bring the unemployment rate lower: the BLS constantly lowers the labor force participation rate as more and more people "drop out" of the labor force for one reason or another. While there is some floating speculation that this is due to early retirement, this is completely counterfactual when one also considers the overall rise in the general civilian non institutional population. In order to back out this fudge we are redoing an analysis we did first back in August 2010, which shows what the real unemployment rate would be using a realistic labor force participation rate. To get that we used the average rate since 1980, or ever since the great moderation began. As it happens, this long-term average is 65.8% (chart 1). We then apply this participation rate to the civilian noninstitutional population to get what an "implied" labor force number is, and additionally calculate the implied unemployed using this more realistic labor force. We then show the difference between the reported and implied unemployed (chart 2). Finally, we calculate the jobless rate using this new implied data. It won't surprise anyone that as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) - basically where it has been ever since 2009 - and at 2.9% delta to reported, represents the widest divergence to reported data since the early 1980s. And because we know this will be the next question, extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

Labor Force Participation since 1980:

Reported and Implied number of Unemployed:

Difference between Reported and implied unemployment rate:


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Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:26 | 2039187 blindfaith
blindfaith's picture

start counting the self' "employed' not working and the number is 20%

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2039216 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

There was a time once when they simply counted the number of people claiming benefits. That was obviously too complicated...

and calculating how much is paid out each month is obviously way too difficult. Best to apply some smoothing I think...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:59 | 2039246 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

'I'll take

'Even 11.4% is far too conservative a figure in terms of quantifying the unemployment rate, for a variety of factors, too numerous to list on this tiny, blue Jeopardy screen' for $2,000,"



*And we'll be rocking the economy when the labor participation rate for 18 to 55 year olds is less than 50%.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:09 | 2039383 Pegasus Muse
Pegasus Muse's picture

John Williams ( has non-government-manipulated Unemployment Rate north of 22%:

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:58 | 2039609 economics1996
economics1996's picture

I went through Williams’s stats and while consistent he often overshoots the unemployment rates, inflation, and so forth.

11.4% is about right.  I came up with 10.6% using similar methods last go around, I will calculate it again, propally today or tomorrow.

Usa we the people web site.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:28 | 2040198 economics1996
economics1996's picture

I ran through the numbers and came up with 11.2% using a slightly different method.  Close enough.

Here is a link.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:17 | 2039391 eureka
eureka's picture

US FEd Gov habitually claims there's 130 some million jobs in US, However, when considering that a ton of people have two and or three jobs to make ends meet, I submit there's less than 100 million persons actually working in the US.

Low income service sector workers, and teachers, who double as such in order to make extra money to pay for their students' materials, which parents and school districts don't want to pay for, because it's more important to pay for police and military empire, compose the largest sector of such two and three job workers.

Low income service sector jobs make up the largest employment category in the US.

Once upon a few years ago glossy magazines like GQ, Vanity Fair et al were 200-300 pages. Today they are 100 pages. Cookies and consumer snacks packages are smaller and weigh less, whereas their price points are up.

US citizens are consistently getting shittier jobs, lower pays and less for their USDs spent.

For all the talk of how EU austerity will kill the world economy - obviously US has already implemented its own ideomatic austerity, which like all things US - is the stealthy version of things.

Stealth Austerity, Stealth Employment Date, Stealth Everything - Gentlemen.

Welcome to the United States of New-Speak-Doubble-Speak-Non-Speak-Fake-Speak.


Cheat Sheat/Answer: 10,000 - i.e. lot's of trickle-down-elite-henchmen-jobs for the people, who protect us against ourselves, busily handing our jaywalking tickets and such other HomeLand Securing activities, while heavily armed. L.A. today looks like Spain under Franco; machine-gun armed cops crawling everywhere on subways, police cruiser and patrol cars on every block. Fascism is in the US today. There's your future job.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:56 | 2040314 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Teachers make more than most government workers on average. Why do people keep claiming they're underpaid?

On top of the salary, they have very good benefits and get the summer off along with spring break and Christmas break. They really work 8-9 months per year.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 16:25 | 2040405 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

Yup. Union Pension too.

And this is the result of wanting more and more for working less:

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 19:03 | 2040966 Rynak
Rynak's picture

...and get the summer off along with spring break and Christmas break.

With quite a bit of those "breaks" consisting of work, and coincidentally also some of the time at home during workdays, consisting of work.

I may hate the "education"-system for a lot of reasons, and think that it is inefficient and does more harm than good..... but i from personal experience would never ever claim, that teachers are lazy, or that their working conditions are great. They are working hard, and are paid fairly.... it's just that the work they do, isn't neccessarily benefical to society.

And as for "working 8-9 months per year"..... if something like this would apply to the majority of society, at the same average monthly wage as now.... well, that precisely IS what employment actually is worth right now, and it actually IS the rate that is needed, for the workforce being able to finance it's life itself, without direct or indirect infusions of "stimulus". Nations do not have such high unemployment rates, because they work too little for too high wages - unemployment is as high, because people's work is artificially via extortion discounted - too much work, for too little pay, per employee.

No one would in case of a company claim, that if it's revenues cannot cover the costs, that the solution is to reduce sale prices while spending more. But when it comes to the workforce of a nation, such idiocy is supposedly logical and efficient..... when the stats only ever show precisely the opposite trend.

But hey, feel free to discard such systemic analysis and problem solving, and continue to be mainly concerned with class warfare and envy..... i'm sure infighting of a collective, will fix the entire collective getting fucked by parasites.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 20:55 | 2041240 eureka
eureka's picture

sun tzu - if you think for example a California $35K/yr start salary after six years of college (without income) and a pile of debt - is too much - then perhaps you should consider that you can barely rent a decent 2 BR apartment in a half decent neighborhood in for example L.A. - with that income.

Rather than becoming a teacher - going through all that inconvenient learning, postponing earnings for six years and taking on student loans - here's a more advantageous career path whose TIME HAS COME:

BE A COP - all you need is highschool -and you can make up for it if you dropped-out - you cannot have a high IQ - and you do get to caryy various guns, drive cars with cool computers and cameras - and LAPD will start you at $55,000+ per year.


Forget knowledge. SECURITY is THE NEW career.  More than a third of your Federal Tax Dollar goes to it, channeled to states, Pentagun, Langley, HomeLand Sec. etc etc.

10, 000 LAPD cops - keeping you safe from yourself - earning double of a teacher.

THAT - spells the future of the US. 

US Reality IS just like a movie, a video-game:  lots of guns and very little knowledge.

Tue, 06/12/2012 - 16:58 | 2519521 kall
kall's picture

Let's face it, it's getting harder and harder to find a good job these days because the demands from the employers have grown higher and the competition has become stiffer among job applicants. Some complain that a simple background check minimizes their chances of finding their job especially if they have something on their records. I was talking to a friend recently about that and we concluded that the situation is quite complex. I do approve with using the background checks but we should also keep an open view about it, not all the people with a criminal record are bad people...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:20 | 2039428 Enceladus
Enceladus's picture

The Germans' have a solution!!

Now thats something to get behind. True entitlement reform.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 14:08 | 2039939 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

A perfectly natural progression of the marriage of moral relativism and the nanny state, except the Nazi Statists are more literal than usual about making the peons into their whores.  The unemployed in Greece should be really concerned.  If this what the Germans will do to their own citizens- imagine what happens if the Germans throw in some FDI in the "tourism" sector with the next bailout tranche?   All the Greek Isles could be converted to Pattaya West before the summer vacation season.  

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 14:49 | 2040119 Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor's picture

Seven year old article is seven years old.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:34 | 2040248 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

Iwas living I holland in 2003 when this became an issue there also. And being a mature culture, they realized the error and rescinded that, although prostition is legal and in theory they pay full taxes and are therefore entitled to full benefits. The usa can't have it legal. There wouldn't be a female presenter available for MSM. They would all be fighting over buffett and spitzer types. Come to think of it, barney frank would have a good bid for most of the males.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:59 | 2040325 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

It's legal in Nevada and nothing is stopping any other state from legalizing prostitution or gambling. The state governments are losing out on a massive amount of potential revenue while clogging up the courts and jails with victimless crimes

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:27 | 2039196 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

BLS = clown shoes.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:56 | 2039321 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

I constantly see the BLS at the Human Resources conventions I go to and the representatives are always sitting on their asses at the booths.  During downtimes I will generally go over to their booth and ask why it is thatthe BLS constantly adjusts their unemployment findings down a month after they are released?  Blank stares is the answer I generally get.  Cockwhore monky fuckers.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:03 | 2039355 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

You're lucky they don't call the TSA on you for a pat down...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:28 | 2039204 Tsar Pointless
Tsar Pointless's picture

Ugh. That was ONE ugly employment situation report.

Go to the BLS site and look at the not-seasonally adjusted Table A-1 numbers. Yikes! Down to a labor participation rate of 63.8%, which just happens to be an ALL-TIME LOW.

And the number of employed...yowza!

Nothing at all to see here. Move along, kindly.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:30 | 2039218 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

It's as much about keeping hope alive as anything.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:47 | 2039270 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

No doubt. Once all hope is lost, the riots start. However, there's still a lot of people out there willing to believe a lie rather than face the truth. The propagandists know this and are playing it for all it's worth.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:33 | 2039224 depression
depression's picture

yep we kid around a lot here , but these series are really sad. The human toll this extend and pretend BS is taking is criminal...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:33 | 2039234 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Virtual jobs for virtual pay

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:29 | 2039211 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

The BLS number, which is the one that will be reported by the media, will drop to about 8 % by November. Maybe even 7.9%. Doesn't matter what the real rate is.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:34 | 2039236 thedrickster
thedrickster's picture

Yep, truth is irrelevant in the Empire of lies. The cable & nightly news zombies will nod, verbalize & internalize a pre-programmed response and then switch over to Netflix.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:46 | 2039267 blindfaith
blindfaith's picture

American have been taught to grade on a curve for 50 years....even if it spirals downward it appears to be an improvement to the folks who got a "D" in math and can't look at a perfect cube and understand that all the sides are the same.

Just think, by election time so many will have been 'timed out' or trimmed off the rolls of the counting curve that there will be only two people "OFFICIALLY" unemployed and then the government can report a surplus of jobs unfilled.

Imaginary numbers don't lie.  People do.  

Americans are still asleep ...confident the sun will come out tomorrow just as it always has, and the hills are alive with music

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:24 | 2040222 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

Barry was graded on a curve also. Still is. Noble prize included. Give the boy (oops young man) a break. He did well for himself.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:27 | 2039458 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

That would be something, since we are already entering a new global recession within this depression. The keyword is global. This will effect the earnings of the global corporations, which in turn must bring the US stock market down. It's just a question of how much it will go down. I'm not even including events in Europe.

I predict the official unemployment rate will be well over 10% again by November. In that case, Barry can pack his bags.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2039219 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

It is sad when the MSM keeps saying, "Things are getting better", when alternative media, on both sides of the isle, are pointing to downward trends each and every single time these reports come out.  On top of that, you have both Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul basically beating the same drum anytime you talk about the "real economy" - you know, the one that people actually live in, and not the one the 10% talks about with their trader from their high office buildings.

Oil is up (and would be up more if the winter wasn't so mild).  Food is up.  Public transport is up.  And so is hiring....but when you have a median income that is 15% behind the money supply growth, how in the BLUE FUCK MOON is this "real growth" of wealth?

I mean, you have the fact that, as reported here, males are making less of a percentage of what they did 47 years ago.  Wow, you got a job as a Barista at Starbucks.  Really gonna help you pay off that student loan and CC debt!

Hours are only averaging 37.5 a week, yet we've never seen such high production levels.  Corporate profits are through the roof (but waning). 

But the US has also never had this much debt.



Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:38 | 2039245 a growing concern
a growing concern's picture

"BLUE FUCK MOON"?  Is that a new microbrew?

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:13 | 2039400 knowless
knowless's picture

better be careful with that "alternative media"..

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:13 | 2039402 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

The leaders promise the more doctrine. The more doctrine rolls back prices for a while and then rolls them right back up past where they were to begin with because the physical manifestation of the more doctrine is taking every step of the way.

The runners of the scam live in nominal and take in nominal while victims of it live in relative and gain and lose in relative.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:31 | 2039220 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

Thanks for quantifying and putting into easy to understand graphics what all of us here already knew intuitively. And as blindfaith pointed out, there is a huge number of workers who aren't even included in this data.

BLS will continue trying to put whip cream on this turd, and the MSM can tell us how good it tastes, but none of us are eating it.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:06 | 2039367 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

"BLS will continue trying to put whip cream on this turd"

+1... Classic...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:31 | 2039222 Irish66
Irish66's picture

OT.  Next chart stop for Euro?

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:37 | 2039244 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

aug 24, 10 low was 1.2588 and earlier, somewhat lower - july - 1.2522ish

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2039225 fuu
fuu's picture

What software do you use for the charts?

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2039226 AbelCatalyst
AbelCatalyst's picture

To see the market down on a day when the employement numbers were way up makes me think that the masses maybe catching on to the ways and means of the Central Planners.  

Probably not, but it does give me a glimmer of hope that Math will eventually prevail.    

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:41 | 2039254 Frank N. Beans
Frank N. Beans's picture

the masses have nothing to do with the early drop in the markets; today is tracing the same pattern going on this whole week: drop early, then revive and go positive for the day. 

if this keeps up, we can trade it.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:48 | 2039275 fuu
fuu's picture

The pattern continues just long enough for people to think they can trade it, then it changes.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:17 | 2040201 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

Glimmers of hope, and change? Most likely, the banks have some sort of frontline insider info coming up weekend that they aren't sure if its + or -. Which implys really bad, because we all know at this point, bad news has been good.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2039228 asteroids
asteroids's picture

Dear Pres. Obama: Is this the "Hope and Change" you were looking to accomplish?

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:50 | 2039229 Village Smithy
Village Smithy's picture

65.8% is actually low IMHO. We are retiring later, and more and more households require 2 incomes to get by. besides you can screw with these numbers a million different ways but the bottom line is how fast our debt level (the water) is rising. It's a simple anology I admit, but as long as that water level is rising things are getting worse, and it is only a matter of time.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:33 | 2039232 richard in norway
richard in norway's picture

fudging the figures in bad times is dishonest but your graph shows that the idiots were fudging the other way in "good times" unemployment below 3% is  overheating which should bring tax rises or interest rate rises to correct

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:34 | 2039235 blindfaith
blindfaith's picture

America has been taught to grade on the curve....even if it spirals downward it appears to be an improvement to the folks who got a "D" in math.

Just think, by election time so many will have been 'timed out' on the counting curve that there will be only two people "OFFICIALLY" unemployed and then the BLS clowns can report a surplus of jobs unfilled.

Imaginary numbers don't lie.  People do.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:59 | 2039336 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Come on now blindfaith...

A D is only one standard deviation from the mean... That's not so bad...

Besides... we can't give Ds any more... It might hurt little Biff's self esteem...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:35 | 2039238 a growing concern
a growing concern's picture

Bull fucking shit.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:36 | 2039241 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Probably not, but it does give me a glimmer of hope that Math will eventually prevail.    

Inevitability HAS to prevail at some point.  The public will have its "John Q" moment.  The only varibles are "when", "What" (probably more with oil price than widespread hyper inflation), and "who" (as in, what will TPTB do when shits hits fan).

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:37 | 2039243 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Apparently you don't need to be a rocket scientist to be a Tyler Durden censor either. There I was having a perfectly delightful conversation with a Ghordian (knot) and then...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:38 | 2039248 in-Credible Banker
in-Credible Banker's picture to the hypothesis that early retirements are the cause of the labor force participation rate decline I say....are they on CRACK????  I would LOVE to retire early but ZIRP has made that a fantasy.  There is no viable way for one to earn a yield that would sustain one in retirement, so off to work I go.  The idea people are retiring early is preposterous!  I heard that idiot Zandhi talk about that this morning on the propoganda network and nearly spilled coffee laughing.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:40 | 2039252 o_rly
o_rly's picture

Yeah, but who cares how high the unemployment rate goes? It only matters to people who don't have jobs, and since when has the government or market cared about them?

You can have a growing economy with high unemployment now. It's called efficiencies and increased production. 

The markets don't need people anymore.

Shit, if they can get robots to take over trading, god knows they can make robots who want to buy stuff.

ConsumerBot, he's on SNAP and he's replacing you.


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:41 | 2039256 ThirdCoastSurfer
ThirdCoastSurfer's picture

The November unemployment rate In Mexico was 5.2%

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:54 | 2039306 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Mexico has a thriving cash based drug export market to compliment its number one industry... Bribery and corruption...

Hence... full employment...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:42 | 2039259 aerial view
aerial view's picture

All govt numbers are manipulated to present the most positive outlook possible. How is it that >46 million are on food stamps, only 47% have full time jobs and the unemployment rate is reported at <9%??? - 206k -

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:44 | 2039264 Mark Noonan
Mark Noonan's picture

Gotta drop it down to about 8% by spring so that when it starts to rise through the summer it only hits 9%...and thus can drop below 9% by November 6th. 

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:47 | 2039271 Bold Eagle
Bold Eagle's picture

Due to the new golden age of prosperity and low prices one income is more than enough to support a family these days.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:49 | 2039287 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

I have a new hypothesis I need some feedback on.

I think they might be playing with the numbers.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:51 | 2039291 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Where's My $80k a Year B(L)S Job?

I can be wrong more than half the time... Have a 50% error rate on all of my statistical analysis... Have my work constantly revised with in a week of releasing it...


Plus I can retire at 50 years old on 80% of my highest salary with gold plated medical insurance...

Where do I sign up??

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:55 | 2039309 Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

interesting. Why not post you spreadsheet so we can verify? 

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:11 | 2039388 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

BLS = Counting Cronies -- feeding false hope to the masses.

Aka, Orwell's "Ministry of Truth".


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:20 | 2039424 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture



You're still way off Tyler.  

It's 22% according to Shadowstats who figures it "the old way".

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:36 | 2039508 you enjoy myself
you enjoy myself's picture

Congrats, ZH - you currently have 2 links with top center billing on Drudge.  and i know you had at least one link about a week ago.  considering that more people hit Drudge than the NYT your work may start having a much bigger impact.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:57 | 2039598 pepperspray
pepperspray's picture


Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:46 | 2039544 Bullwinkle Moose
Bullwinkle Moose's picture

Our government can not be trusted. They skew all statistics for their own personal political gain. They are criminals of the worst kind. They have no morals whatsoever

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 13:43 | 2039812 quacker
quacker's picture

As I've been saying, this is not about spin any more. Spin won't save Obama and tptb know it. It's now about taking outright bad and declaring it outright good.

It's about NEVER taking a step back and saying "Are we better positioned as a society or worse after this report?"

That can NEVER be done. Because every month we're worse. Less people participating, and those who do, do so for declining real wages.

Every month we go backwards, every month worse off as a society than the month before.

But this is the Obama Era. Bad = Good. No more spin, just find a way to cast outright bad into outright good. Eat your statistics and shut tfu. Because a police state is mounting, we are going full Soviet, so eat your govt. statistics, paint a smile on your face, join the chorus about how "good" everything is, and pay no attention to what you actually see and experience all around you. Then wait for the next announcement by Pravda about how good things are.

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 14:32 | 2040058 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

grats zerohedge

drudge report: 

"cooked books?" labor force participation rate keeps dropping...

eyeballs to the real world 

















Sat, 01/07/2012 - 08:21 | 2041884 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

in usa we spend multi-trillions on the great society and the war on poverty and how come 50 yrs later we still have the same problems (actually worse)and an education system geared down to the lowest common IQ??

seems much like banksters and wall st,the money never got to where it was stated it was going. who got the cash? the actions of the last few years points to the corrupt elite behind the curtain. if we only taxed our people more think how well off  the poor and uneducated would be today..LOL

Sat, 01/07/2012 - 09:55 | 2041928 Your Creator
Your Creator's picture

Socialist politician scam.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!