Presented without a lot of my personal commentary, because (based upon my past experience in this community, where I’ve reported upon others who've called into question the accuracy of the stats published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) it’s very much a hot potato topic. That being said, this little column from today’s NY Post is pretty fascinating…
BLS number is BSI strongly recommend a read of the entire column! (I will add that attributing the drop in the employment participation rate primarily to an aging baby boomer population has been, pretty much, disproved. The general consensus I've read among middle-of-the-road economists is that our aging population, at least at the moment, accounts for roughly a third of that statistical low.)
Rate’s closer to 11%, former insider insists
9:19 AM, July 18, 2013
Keith Hall believes the US economy is a lot sicker than the 7.6 percent unemployment rate would lead you to believe.
And he should know.
Hall was, from 2008 until last year, the guy in charge of Washington’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that compiles that rate.
“Right now [it’s] misleadingly low,” says Hall, who believes a truer reading of those now wanting a job but without one to be more than 10 percent.
The fly in the ointment is the BLS employment-to-population ratio, which is currently at 58.7 percent. “It’s lower than it was when the recession ended. I think that’s a remarkable statistic,” says Hall, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
That level tells Hall the real unemployment rate is actually about 3 percentage points higher than the BLS number….
Readers should checkout Krugman on almost the exact same topic, via a post from his blog, just four days ago…
There Is No “True” Unemployment Rate(Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.)
Conscience of a Liberal Blog, NY Times
July 14, 2013, 1:41 pm
In my last post I compared food stamp use with U6, a broad definition of unemployment — and I saw some commenters claiming that U6 is the “true” unemployment rate, even that I was for the first time admitting this fact.
Um, no. There is no “true” unemployment rate, just various indicators of the state of the labor market. Fortunately, these indicators pretty much move in tandem, so we’re not usually confused about whether the market is getting better or worse. But they do measure somewhat different things, and which one you want to look at depends on what questions you’re asking…
Yes, “Fortunately, these indicators pretty much move in tandem,” as Krugman notes it. But, that’s “the thing,” as former BLS’ Chief Hall tells us that’s not quite exactly what’s happening at the moment.