Where are America's Missing 11 Million Workers?
When we growled about the disastrous July jobs report yesterday, we cited a post by James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute's blog, AEIdeas. Actually, he had several posts related to the July jobs report (here, here, here, here, and here).
In this one, though, he notes an AEI colleague likes to look at the U.S. labor market using "the employment-to-population ratio," which Pethokoukis defines this way:
"This number is simply the number of folks holding any jobs as a percentage of population. Before the Great Recession, that number was around 63%. In the July jobs report, that numbers was 58.4%. To get back to the pre-Great Recession level, we need to create an addition 11 million workers." (emphasis in the original)
Here's the graph that Pethokoukis used:
Walter Russell Mead opines at the American Interest blog, Via Meadia, the jobs report was "bad for the White House, but no knock out blow," adding:
"It’s bad news for President Obama: job creation isn’t keeping pace with population growth, and no president in recent history has managed to get re-elected with such high unemployment figures. And the increase in the headline unemployment rate will have more impact on the public mood than the actual jobs number.
"It’s also bad news for the young. The youth unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds is 13.5 percent and is probably higher when you count the number of people who have simply quit looking for a job. The under-25 subset of the millennial generation has been trending away from President Obama; the new unemployment numbers suggest that trend could be around for a while." (emphasis added)
A Bloomberg report before noon yesterday said the "July jobs report is clear as mud." By mid-afternoon, the headline of another story read "jobs surveys offer conflicting views of U.S. employment outlook." The lede read like this:
"Depending on which data you look at, employment in the U.S. either picked up in July or dropped by the most in a year.
"Employers added 163,000 workers to payrolls last month, the biggest gain since February, according to the Labor Department’s so-called establishment survey released in Washington today. A separate poll of households showed hiring dropped by 195,000, the largest decline since June 2011, as the jobless rate climbed to a five-month high of 8.3 percent."
Terence Jeffrey talks about the 195,000 fewer Americans who had jobs in July and the 150,000 labor force dropouts at CNS News.
In today's Washington Post, Peter Whoriskey has a comprehensive, front page, top-of-the-fold story about the July jobs report. In addition, at Wonkblog, Brad Plummer whines that "if you want to get technical," the unemployment rate just "went from 8.22 percent to 8.25 percent" rather than from 8.2% to 8.3%.
Finally, an Investor's Business Daily editorial includes this: "We had to look twice at Obama's comments to make sure they weren't cribbed from Jon Stewart or some other late-night-TV jokester, because in truth, the real jobs economy is imploding in an unprecedented way." The following chart is from the IBD editorial: