The article, What’s the Real U.S. Unemployment Rate? We Have No Idea, provides interesting information on the process for calculating the unemployment rate.
But it also misleads in saying “real US unemployment rate.”
It is important to update measures to avoid using proxies that lose value.
The unemployment rate certainly has proxy issues. But there is no “true unemployment rate.” There are ways to change the process to focus on different things (make the proxy better matched to certain issues). But also it seems to me, unemployment rate needs to have other related measures that are considered in concert with the unemployment rate (such as the labor force participation rate, perhaps some measure of under-employment etc.).
Those paying much attention do use other measures in concert but the last few years I read lots of different people complaining that the unemployment rate doesn’t capture various aspects of how the job market is poor (and often claiming the unemployment rate was “inaccurate” as though there was a platonic form of the actual rate divorced from the measure process.
I like charity that provides leveraged impact. I like charity that is aimed at building long term improvement. I like entrepreneurship. I like people having work they enjoy and can be proud of. And I like people having enough money for necessities and some treats and luxuries.
I think sites like oDesk provide a potentially great way for people to lead productive and rewarding lives. They allow people far from rich countries to tap into the market demand in rich counties. They also allow people to have flexible work arrangements (if someone wants a part time job or to work from home that is fine).
These benefits are also true in the USA and other rich countries (even geography – there are many parts of the USA without great job markets, especially many rural areas). The biggest problem with rich country residents succeeding on something like oDesk is they need quite a bit more money than people from other countries to get by (especially in the USA with health care being so messed up). There are a great deal of very successful technology people on oDesk (and even just freelancing in other ways), but it is still a small group that is capable and lucky enough to pull in large paychecks (it isn’t only technology but that is the majority of high paying jobs I think on oDesk).
But in poor countries with still easily 2 billion and probably much more there is a huge supply of good workers. There is a demand for work to be done. oDesk does a decent job of matching these two but that process could use a great deal of improvement.
I think if I became mega rich one of the projects I would have would be to create an organization to help facilitate those interested in internet based jobs in poor countries to make a living. It takes hard work. Very good communication is one big key to success (I have repeatedly had problems with capable people just not really able to do what was expected in communications). I think a support structure to help with that and with project management would be very good. Also to help with building skills.
If I were in a different place financially (and I were good at marketing which I am not) I would think about creating a company to do this profitably. The hard part for someone in a rich country to do this is that either they have to take very little (basically do it as charity) or they have to take so much cash off the top that I think it makes it hard to build the business.
But building successful organizations that can grow and provide good jobs to those without many opportunities but who are willing to work is something I value. I did since I was a kid living in Nigeria (for a year). I didn’t see this solution then but the idea of economic well being and good jobs and a strong economy being the key driver to better lives has always been my vision.
This contrast to many that see giving cash and good to those in need as good charity. I realize sometimes that is what is needed – especially in emergencies. But the real powerful change comes from strong economy providing people the opportunity to have a great job.
Related: Commerce Takes More People Out of Poverty Than Aid – Investing in the Poorest of the Poor – I am a big fan of helping improve the economic lives of those in the world by harnessing appropriate technology and capitalism – A nonprofit in Queens taught people to write iPhone apps — and their incomes jumped from $15k to $72k
Based on my thoughts on killing the Goose laying golden eggs in Iskandar Malaysia posted on a discussion forum. The government has instituted several several policies to counteract a bubble in luxury real estate prices in the region (new taxes on short term capital gains in real estate [declining amounts through year 6]), increasing limits on purchases by foreigners, new transaction fees (2% of purchase price?) for real estate transactions, requirements for larger down-payments from purchasers…
Iskandar is 5 times the size of Singapore and is in the state of Johor in Malaysia. Johor Bahru is the city which makes up much of Iskandar but as borders are currently drawn Iskandar extends beyond the borders of Johor Bahru.
The prospects for economic growth in Iskandar Malaysia in the next 5, 10 and 15 years remain very strong. They are stronger than they were 5 years ago: investments that produce economic activity (theme parks, factories, hospitals, hotels, retail, film studio…) have come online and more on being built right now.
Cooperation with Singapore is the main advantage Iskandar has (Iskandar is next to the island of Singapore similar to those areas surrounding Manhattan). It provides Iskandar world class advantages that few other locations have (it is the same advantages offered by lower cost areas extremely close to world class cities – NYC, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco etc.). Transportation connections to Singapore are critical and have not been managed as well as they should have been (only 2 bridges exist now and massive delays are common). A 3rd link should be in place today (they haven’t even approved the location yet).
A MRT connection to Singapore (Singapore’s subway system) should be a top priority of anyone with power interested in the future economic well being of Iskandar and Johor. Johor Bahru doesn’t have a light rail system yet this would be the start of it. It has been “announced” as planned for 2018 but not officially designated or funded yet.
The world has become very interconnected. This is no surprise, the evidence is all around us and continues to increase. What this actually means though is more complex than it appears.
One area this impacts greatly is the workplace. More and more people are working internationally. This continues to largely be either through large multinationals or cheap labor that is imported to do largely unskilled or minimally skilled labor.
There is also a continuing increase in skilled and educated labor working overseas for other than huge multi-nationals. The infrastructure to support this is often not in place. The current structure (visas etc.) support the two modes mentioned above.
But I see an increasing number of opportunities for countries that encourage entrepreneurship and high skill jobs. I relocated to Malaysia and in doing so did a bit of research. It is difficult to get a long term visa in most countries without a full time job (and given the complexity of hiring foreign workers this often means dealing with companies that do a lot of it – in the 2 categories mentioned above).
Career prospects are enhanced with international experience. One way to get a jump start on your career is international education. This has been popular for a long time but is becoming more and more popular. Students studying in London can get the benefits of international experience (unless they are from England, obviously) and enjoy the great city of London and accessible travel to Europe.
The importance is to truly gain an international perspective. Those in the USA have the greatest problem as knowledge workers in most other countries are much more aware of the global economy. Europe is an easy way to get started and is packed with lot of great schools and processes in place to make it easy to become a student.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe the most important factor for a career is finding something you love to do, but within those possibilities it is nice to know the payoff of different college degrees.
Those that see Asia as the economic engine for the next 50 years might well be tempted to look at attending school there. There are plenty of options though it may take a bit more work on your part to make it happen. I think attending at least some portion of college internationally is a great idea as is getting international work experience early in your career.
There have been quite a few complaints about companies hiring foreign nationals to work in the USA to save money (and costing citizens jobs or reducing their pay). The way the laws are now, companies are only suppose to hire people to work in the USA that can’t be met with USA workers. The whole process is filled with unclear borders however – it is a grey world, not black and white.
I think one of the things I would do is to make it cost more to hire foreigners. Just slap on a tax of something like $10,000 per year for a visa. If what I decided was actually going to adopted I would need to do a lot more study, but I think something like that would help (maybe weight it by median pay – multiple that by 2, or something, for software developers…).
It is a complex issue. In general I think reducing barriers to economic competition is good. But I do agree some make sense in the context we have. Given the way things are it may well make sense to take measures that maybe could be avoided with a completely overhauled economic and political system.
I believe there are many good things to having highly skilled workers in your country. So if the problem was in recruiting them (which isn’t a problem in the USA right now) then a tax on the each visa wouldn’t be wise, but I think it might make sense now for the USA.
I think overall the USA benefits tremendously from all the workers attracted from elsewhere. We are much better off leaving things as they are than overreacting the other way (and being too restrictive) – but I do believe it could be tweaked in ways that could help.
Indians received more than half the 106,445 first-time H-1Bs issued in the year ending September 2011, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report. The second-biggest recipient was China with 9.5 percent.
While the legislation raises the annual H-1B cap to as much as 180,000 from 65,000, it increases visa costs five-fold for some companies to $10,000. It also bans larger employers with 15 percent or more of their U.S. workforce on such permits from sending H-1B staff to client’s sites.
The aim is to balance the U.S. economy’s need to fill genuine skills gaps with protection for U.S. citizens from businesses that may use the guest-worker program to bring in cheaper labor
The problem was most extreme in Greece where almost two-thirds of those under-25 are unemployed. The rate was 62.5% in February, the most recently available data.
Youth unemployment in Spain is 56.4%, in Portugal 42.5%. Italy recorded its highest overall unemployment rate since records began in 1977, at 12%, with youth joblessness at 40.5%. Economists said that the rise in unemployment was fairly broad-based with rises in so-called core countries as well, including Belgium and the Netherlands. The rate in France was 11%.
Ireland recorded one of the biggest falls in unemployment, down to 13.5% from 14.9% a year ago. That compares with a rate of 7.7% for the UK, where youth unemployment is 20.2%. The lowest rates for youth unemployment were in Germany at 7.5% and Austria at 8%.
Unemployment continues to be a huge problem. The slow recovery from the great recession caused by the too big to fail financial institutions continues to do great damage. That damage is very visible in unemployment figures and the huge transfer of wealth from savers to bail out otherwise failed financial institutions (that not only haven’t been made to be small enough to fail but continue to pay themseves enormous bonuses while taking the billions in transfer of wealth from retirees that have had their income sliced by the interest rate policies necessatated to bail out the bankers).
The USA employment situation is still bad but has actually could easily be much worse. Unemployment in the USA stands at 7.5% now (the rate for teenagers is 24.1%).
Related: 157,000 Jobs Added in January and Adjustments for the Prior Two Months add 127,000 More (Feb 2013) – USA Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.8%, 200,000 Jobs Added (Oct 2012) – USA Adds 216,00 Jobs in March and the Unemployment Rate Stands at 8.8% (March 2011)
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9%, the USA Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +161,000 to +247,000, and the change for December was revised from +155,000 to +196,000 which means this report shows an increase of 284,000 (157+86+41). In 2012, employment growth averaged 181,000 per month.
The number of unemployed persons, at 12.3 million, was little changed in January. The
unemployment rate was 7.9% and has been at or near that level since September 2012.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3%), adult women (7.3%), teenagers (23.4%), whites (7.0%), african-american (13.8%), Hispanics (9.7%), and Asians (6.5%) showed little or no change in January.
In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7 million and accounted for 38.1% of the unemployed. The continued high level of long term unemployment is a continuing concern.
Health care continued to add jobs in January (+23,000). Within health care, job growth occurred in ambulatory health care services (+28,000), which includes doctors’ offices and outpatient care centers. In the last year, health care employment has increased by 320,000.
Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in January and has changed little, on net, since July 2012.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $23.78. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $19.97.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate increased at 7.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to +192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.
So with this report another 255,000 (171 + 50 + 34) were added, quite a good number. If we could see 250,000 jobs added for 12 more months that would be quite nice – though still will not have recovered all the jobs cost by the too-big-too-fail credit crisis.
Employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.
Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas.
Long-term unemployment remains a problem, in October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6% of the unemployed (a higher percentage than normal – as it has been for the duration of the too-big-too-fail job recession.
The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8%. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month (I am guessing this is not seasonally adjusted – the highlighted figures normally quotes are seasonally adjusted figures). The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8%, following an increase of 40 basis points in September.
Related: Unemployment Rate Reached 10.2% (Oct 2009) – USA Economy Adds 151,000 Jobs in October and Revisions Add 110,000 More (Oct 2010, unemployment rate at 9.6%) – USA Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.6% (Nov 2011) – USA Lost Over 500,000 Jobs in November, 2008
Manufacturing employment is on a long term decline, in the USA and the world. The massive increases in productivity allow fewer and fewer people to produce more and more good. This is a good thing as it allows us to afford more good with less cost. But it does mean fewer manufacturing jobs, which are very good jobs, exist. This is a shame but something we shouldn’t anticipate changing. Believing we will globally, or in the USA, return to the huge number of manufacturing that were available previously jobs is not a wise conclusion to reach. Certainly there can be short term fluctuations that lead to increased jobs – that has happened in the last year for example.
The most surprising thing to me about this graph is how stable employment was through 2000. From 1980 to 2000 the most common idea was the USA no longer manufactured anything. This idea was wrong, as I have written about previously: Chart of top 15 countries manufacturing output over time (2009) – Top 10 manufacturing countries in 2006. But I did think employment declined more from 1970 to 2000.
One factor in this perception is that the number of employed people in the USA has continued to grow. So even remaining somewhat stable from 1970 to 2000, as a percentage of the labor force the jobs kept shrinking. The more important factor that played on people emotionally is factories being shut down got much more attention in the news than new jobs being added. So the perception was tons of jobs were being lost and none were being gained.
The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8%, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000 in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000. Thus, with this report 200,000 new jobs were added (114,000 + 40,000 + 46,000).
The unemployment rate declined from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September. For the first 8 months of the year, the rate held within a narrow range of 8.1 and 8.3%. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 in September.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.8 million and accounted for 40.1% of the unemployed. This remains one of the most serious problems – along with the less that strong job creation numbers (since the too-big-too-fail financial crisis kicked off the great recession). In 2012, employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. 150,000 is decent but because of the huge job losses in the 4 years prior to 2011 there is a big recovery needed. Adding above 225,000 jobs a month, for years, would be a good result and put the economy on much firmer ground.
Health care added 44,000 jobs in September. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 295,000.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in September. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $23.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $19.81.
Related: Bad Jobs News in the USA, Unemployment Remains at 9.1% (Sep 2011) – USA Unemployment Rate at 9.6% (Sep 2010) – Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.7% (Sep 2009) – Over 500,000 Jobs Disappeared in November 2008