Job growth an anemic 115,000; jobless rate ticks down

The American economy added a lackluster 115,000 jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent.

The only good news in the report is that job estimates for previous months were revised upward, meaning more jobs had been created than initially thought.

For example, the initial March release reported 120,000 jobs created; the revised figure is 154,000.

The February number, originally reported at 227,000, has been revised upward twice and now stands at 259,000.

If that pattern holds for April, today’s numbers will also be revised upward. But such revisions won’t be enough to turn a disappointing number into a strong number. This continues to be a long, hard slog.

– Jay Bookman

540 comments Add your comment

Jay

May 4th, 2012
3:24 pm

So, are you saying that these are the real unemployment numbers?

What do you mean by “real” unemployment numbers, Casual? Do you mean the unemployment rate as it has been reported monthly in newspapers and radio and TV and magazines for 60 years or more, the number that has been used as the standard through every administration, Republican or Democratic, in good times or bad? The number that everyone understands as “the unemployment rate” when someone says “the unemployment rate”?

The way that unemployment rate has been counted and reported has not changed an iota.

However, because that unemployment rate is not considered scary or frightening enough, because it has been improving at a rate that is politically inconvenient, conservatives now want to claim that the REAL unemployment rate is another number altogether.

Those other rates are equally valid. They are calculated by the same people who calculate the more generally accepted unemployment rate, using much the same raw data. But those other rates are NOT the rate by which we measured unemployment under Reagan, or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush II. And to claim that by using the standard, generally accepted unemployment rate, the Obama administration is somehow “manipulating” the data is flat out nonsense and a lie.

I’ll take this no further. I have Friday music to post.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:24 pm

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801
May 4th, 2012
3:04 pm

Thanks for clearing that up, and welcome home from a US Air Force veteran.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:29 pm

Sorry Jay that I upset you. I guess I am just used to the good old days when the “real” unemployment rate was 5-6%, folks weren’t losing their homes, gas was $1.80 a gallon, and generally people were happy. That era that is long gone was referred to as the ‘Bush Years’.

Enjoy your music.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

May 4th, 2012
3:30 pm

Casual:

Notice a couple of things here:

1) “neither of those links contains any evidence whatsoever.”

He makes a statement without addressing any of the claims in the articles ………. something he is always accusing others of doing ………… the “denial” thing.

2) He addesses the links I posted but only through YOU.

He won’t debate me anymore because I call ‘em like I see ‘em and he doesn’t like that.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:30 pm

I guess Rush was right, to piss off a liberal, just throw facts at them.

Winning!

Steve

May 4th, 2012
3:31 pm

LOL – “The Bush Years” when our economy was propped up by a false mortgage market and war debt.

really????

What about the “Clinton Years” when we actually balanced the budget yet we had boom times?

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

May 4th, 2012
3:31 pm

Casual Observer:

Ooo Rah !

USMC !

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:33 pm

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801
May 4th, 2012
3:30 pm

Thanks for your support! Enjoy a cyber-beer….on me.

I also noticed that Adam has not replied.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

Steve,

Opinions are not facts.

Jay

May 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

I guess I am just used to the good old days when the “real” unemployment rate was 5-6%, folks weren’t losing their homes, gas was $1.80 a gallon, and generally people were happy.

And that “real” unemployment rate that you cite is the very same unemployment rate that today is 8.1 percent, Casual. The same one that we’ve always used.

Thanks for conceding my point.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:36 pm

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

You do realize we just ran Jay off of his own blog.

Where is Thulsa Doom when I need that

B

O

O

M

!

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:38 pm

Jay,

According to Adam, that sage of facts, it is actually 9.5%. Thank you Adam for conceding MY point.

Steve Atl

May 4th, 2012
3:40 pm

Jay –

Man…oh…man…you are taking a beating…Adam will be back in a few minutes…his Occupy tent wasn’t staked properly and blew across the park. He and his iPad are headed to Starbucks to re-connect and go ahead bashing people that contribute to society.

Steve Atl

May 4th, 2012
3:41 pm

Jay…we were just kidding…come back…please.

Steve

May 4th, 2012
3:42 pm

Here’s some facts for you:

under Obama:

Private sector jobs: Up by 35 thousand
Public sector jobs: Down 608 thousand
Stock market: Up by 64%
And under Bush:

Private sector jobs: Down by 646 thousand
Public sector jobs: Up by 1.7 million
Stock market: Down 24%

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/USPRIV.txt

Steve

May 4th, 2012
3:43 pm

Casual – the fact that we had an economy based on a housing bubble last decade is not opinion – it is a fact. Sorry…

Jay

May 4th, 2012
3:45 pm

yeah, Steve.

Those wet noodles you guys wield are so BRUTAL!

Steve

May 4th, 2012
3:45 pm

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:45 pm

But Obama’s feeble growth rates and tepid job creation are not enough to move unemployment levels to a normal range, economists say.

“The economy must add 13 million jobs over the next three years, 361,000 each month, to bring unemployment down to 6 percent,” says <University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.
http://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2012/02/08/obamas_true_unemployment_rate_is_really_99_percent/page/full/

Hmmm….6 percent….where have I heard that number before? Oh yeah, it was during the Bush administration.

Steve

May 4th, 2012
3:46 pm

And what was it at the END of the Bush administration, Casual?

Adam

May 4th, 2012
3:51 pm

Casual: While I recognize that you are identifying yourself as not an expert on this, it doesn’t appear you are even interested in really looking at the data and figuring out what it means.

No, I am not saying that measurement is the “real” unemployment number. What I am saying is that measurement is one of 6 measurements the BLS collects data for. And the numbers are calculated the same every time. Just for perspective, here is what the official unemployment number represents:

“Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)”

The one Scout cites as the “real” one is “Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force”

At this point it becomes “how do you define real?” Because each and every one of these numbers has declined over the past year or more, showing that the unemployment rate is dropping no matter which measurement you use.

If the jobs numbers that are being reported is missing data, like the number of people no longer looking for jobs, wouldn’t that be a form of manipulation?

No, because they report that information too. It is easily available. The official unemployment rate is and always has been the U-3 measurement.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:51 pm

6.1% in August of 2008. From what I posted above, the economy must add 13 million jobs over the next 3 years, or 361,000 per month to get the unemployment back down to those levels.

Adam

May 4th, 2012
3:52 pm

I also noticed that Adam has not replied.

Sorry dude, I was upstairs.

Adam

May 4th, 2012
3:55 pm

Casual: At the time you mention as being the time of 6% unemployment under Bush, the U-5 measurement was between 7.1% and 8.0% (increasing)

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:56 pm

Adam,

My point all along has been that what the media reports and what it actually is are different. If it is actually 9.5%, report that. When I see numbers that are different when reading news on-line, it frustrates the hell out of me. What are we to believe as accurate? I think if folks are given the real numbers, they are less likely to accuse the administration of ‘manipulating’ numbers. I can live with an accurate number much better than being lied to. See my point?

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
3:59 pm

Adam
May 4th, 2012
3:55 pm

Casual: At the time you mention as being the time of 6% unemployment under Bush, the U-5 measurement was between 7.1% and 8.0% (increasing)

Then report that number!!! I don’t care who is in office!!! Give me the real numbers, not some polished number to make me feel good.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
4:02 pm

I am not an expert by any means on the unemployment reports, but I would think that most folks out here would like to know the total number of people out of work. Don’t throw in numbers of people kind of out of work, or ‘under-employed’. Give me the actual folks at home, sitting on their couch, not working folks number.

To be honest, your posts on the report have actually educated me a little bit. I did not know there were 6 different reports. No idea what a U5, or U3 report was. I have heard of U2 though, I liked them back in the 90’s.

Boris Badnoff

May 4th, 2012
4:16 pm

If ever I’m am a defendant in a court of law I want The Honorable Jay Bookman as my barrister. If he had been a spokesman for The White Star Line back on April 12, 1912, he would have assured the passengers that The Titanic had decided to sink an iceberg to clear the North Atlantic sea lanes of hazards to navigation and they would have gone back to their rooms and gone back to sleep. I am so reassured by his assessment of the economy that I plan to consume an extra large bowl of gruel for supper tonight topped off by chilled tap water. Does anyone know how to get spider webs out of your wallet?

Adam

May 4th, 2012
4:18 pm

My point all along has been that what the media reports and what it actually is are different. If it is actually 9.5%, report that.

And again, you are missing the point. All of those measurements are equally valid, and not a single one of them is “the real one.” They are ALL real, and they all measure the unemployment just a little bit differently.

Are you even approaching this honestly at this point? You seem to just want “the one true answer.”

Adam

May 4th, 2012
4:19 pm

I am not an expert by any means on the unemployment reports, but I would think that most folks out here would like to know the total number of people out of work

This information is also available at the BLS website if you want it.

Sarah Gee

May 4th, 2012
4:34 pm

This jobs report is terrible news. We need about 180,000 new jobs a month to keep unemployment flat. Our unemployment rate is falling becasue more and more people are discouraged. Labor force participation is at a decades long low.
If Bush were President, this jobs report would be conclusive evidence of a depression. I do remember when Bush was president and the AJC ran stories about how awful 3.2 percent unemployment was. Where are the tear jerking stories of families desperate for work? Of children doing without? Moms forced into menial labor to keep thier families from starving? O yeah, there is a democrat in the white house.

Casual Observer

May 4th, 2012
4:38 pm

Adam,

Where did you get the 9.5%? Honestly, I am trying to understand this, not being a smarta$$.

Tom(Independent-Viet Vet)

May 4th, 2012
4:46 pm

I love the comment about Adam’s occupy tent, very original. Jay, would you ever say anything negative about Obama’s administration, even if it was true! We will NEVER get a true reading of the unemployment picture because of a couple things. Many people have given up looking for work, while others have accepted part-time jobs at lessor pay and benefits. Some cons say it really could be as high as 15-16% if you figure in those factors?? I wish I really knew but probably no administration in power “will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth”!!

Rickster

May 4th, 2012
4:47 pm

Funny, Jay, I read where the jobless numbers (not the employment numbers but the number of jobless persons) were revised up – for an unheard of 59 of the 60 weeks.

Tom(Independent-Viet Vet USAF)

May 4th, 2012
4:50 pm

Changed my title just a little, hope you guys do not object. USMC guy gets me fired up!!

Jay

May 4th, 2012
5:04 pm

I saw that too, Rick, and it’s not surprising. In an economy changing as swiftly as this one, it’s probably hard to stay on top of it statistically.

Mark in mid-town

May 4th, 2012
5:12 pm

Jay,
There is no way the workforce particpation rate dropped so fast so quickly based on natural forces. Either that number is being manipulated to make the unemployment rate appear less than it is, or that number is not being manipulated. But either way, the news is horrible as even if that number is not being manipulated, that it dropped so much so soon is evidence of something very ominous and not natural going on with the economy. It means that the published 8.1% is very misleading, regardless of whether the workforce participation is being manipulated for political reasons or not.

Sister Sarah

May 4th, 2012
5:12 pm

So I do a little scrolling back and learn this Casual Observer guy is WHINING because the job loss fairy has shown up at HIS doorstep to sprinkle some dust on his old lady. Hey Casual, want some cheese with that whine?? Tell your old lady get off her @$$ and try a little harder won’t ya?? I hear Kroger is running a special on RED BEANS. Hannity swears by their nutritional value and fill potential over some white rice…says you can eat that stuff “for DAYS”!!

Just wondering

May 4th, 2012
6:49 pm

Does the fact that the first wave of boomers,born in 1946, reached early Social Security retirement age in 2008 and are reaching full retirement age in 2012 factor in the participation rate?

Mama Says

May 4th, 2012
8:03 pm

Ok so here’s the bottom line.

If we know that x amount of people have stopped looking for jobs aren’t we really saying that tje unemployment rate amoung the people who are still looking is 8.1%.

Meaning, the truth is we are not truly stating the actual real rate.

Democrat or republican no administration should be allowed to post numbers, or play off numbers that they know are factually incorrect.

The unemployment rate is the rate of people unemployed, looking or not.