Friday, May 4, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.1%

While the unemployment number dropped, the job numbers tell a different story. The opposite story...

"The April jobs report fell short of analysts expectations, as only 115,000 jobs were added. Consensus expectations had been in the 165K-170K range
So how did the jobless rate drop? The same way it’s been dropping all along — people exiting the workforce:

The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

That’s a new 30-year low in the participation rate. Here’s the chart from the BLS for the last 30 years:
CNBC notes that the actual employment level in the US fell by 169,000:

April’s job report lived up to muted expectations, with the economy creating a meager 115,000 jobs during the month as the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent. …

Though the headline number indicated job creation, the total employment level for the month actually fell 169,000.

“This remains a weak economy, and the job counts in March and April — which have come in at considerably below 200,000 per month — may perhaps continue right through the summer,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board.

Wall Street economists had been expecting the Bureau of Labor Statistics report to show 170,000 new jobs created and the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.2 percent.

That weakness will keep jobs and the economy at the top of the list for voter concerns, and keep Obama and his campaign on their mission to talk about any other distraction they can find from it.

Update II: Zero Hedge notes that 522,000 people left the workforce in April, or more than four times the number of net jobs gained in the BLS report.

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