Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ed Driscoll

Your Scary-Ass Chart of the Day

January 10th, 2014 - 1:00 pm

labor-force-dropouts-drive-lower-unemployment-rate-1-10-14

“The Obama jobs recovery in one handy chart,” is what Allahpundit of Hot Air is calling the above image from The Federalist.com:

We all know the difference between the U-3 rate and the U-6 rate at this point (I hope), and so we all understand the perverse effect that a dwindling labor force can have on “the unemployment rate.” If you’re unemployed and looking for work, you’re part of the demand for labor that employers/suppliers are trying to meet. You count. if you’re unemployed and so deeply in despair about ever finding a job that you’ve given up looking, you don’t. Get enough people to give up and the labor force just might shrink to the point where marginal job gains overall can produce relatively steep drops in the U-3 rate. Which, of course, explains how America made sub-seven-percent magic last month with that 74,000-job stinkeroo.

We all know that (again, I hope) and we’ve all seen depressing graphs by now like the ones posted at Zero Hedge showing the slow, steady contraction of America’s labor force. The graph below, though, by Sean Davis of the Federalist, visualized the U-3/U-6 contrast in a way I don’t think I’d ever seen before. If you want to grasp just how few real gains have been made since the recession supposedly ended in June 2009, gawk away[.]

As Iowahawk Tweets, “If we can keep encouraging people to drop out of the labor force, we’ll be at full employment in no time! #Yay”

Or to put it another way, “Who Needs Ayn Rand? America Has Already Gone John Galt,” Roger L. Simon writes in response to the grim numbers:

The implications of this are actually terrifying.  What are those nearly 92 million people doing with their time, other than sitting around depressed?.  Many, of course, are on some version of welfare.  Some are panhandling.  We see the homeless on the streets of all our big cities. Others are moving into a shadow economy, much of it illegal (drugs, prostitution), not paying taxes on whatever they earn. It’s truly a sad situation.  No wonder so many states are moving toward legalizing grass.  Everyone wants to zone out.

This is rapidly approaching a a pre-revolutionary condition, but not for a revolution many of us would want to undergo.  To avoid it, a massive change must occur at the federal level.  But Barack Obama, mired in a dead ideology, doesn’t seem prepared to do anything but prolong the situation with highly  conventional liberal solutions that have failed for decades, maybe even centuries.

And yet there is so much he could do.  The most obvious, many of us know, is to unshackle the energy industry. He should dismantle much of the bureaucracy as well. There’s a lot more, of course.  But the point now is to realize that when you have nearly 92 million people deserting the labor force in a country of 317 million (many of who are children too young to work), you have a catastrophic problem on your hands.

But Obama can’t be seen “unshackling the energy industry” — his base won’t allow him to; they’d much rather stand athwart history yelling stop, to coin a phrase. Or as Lachlan Markay writes today at the Washington Free Beacon, “Leading left-wing advocacy group MoveOn.org announced a new effort on Thursday to oppose innovations that are propelling the country towards a new abundance of domestically produced energy:”

MoveOn bemoaned in an email to supporters the “troubling trend” of increased energy production, which is reducing the U.S. trade deficit, creating well-paying jobs, stabilizing global energy prices, and undermining the economic engine behind some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

MoveOn announced the creation of a new effort called “#FrackingFighter,” which “seeks to slow down the fracking boom that is anticipated to occur across the United States in 2014 and beyond.”

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing, an innovative oil and gas technique, has sent U.S. energy production skyrocketing, MoveOn said. It vowed to slow or reverse that trend.

Many environmentalist groups say they want government to adequately regulate the practice. MoveOn took a more radical approach, pushing activists to work “to ban fracking in their local communities.”

Well, that ought to make Saudi Arabia and Al Gore’s bosses in Qatar awfully happy. Curious how that always seems to work out that way, no?

In the meantime, to further placate their base on the far left and the MSM (but I repeat myself), in response to the truly horrendous jobs numbers — so bad that even MSNBC is blanching — the Obama administration itself is yelling “Squirrel!”

Update: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) notes that “for every one job added, nearly 5 people left the workforce entirely.”

Hey, Time magazine promised you in 2008 that you’d be getting the next FDR — they apparently didn’t realize that it was a warning, not a compliment.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
See
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-10/x-marks-spot-generational-divide

Boomers can't afford to retire, and increasingly ... are not retiring.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I might add, the heartlessness and, probably charitably, the ignorance of the political class in this country has officially, in my book, gone beyond belief.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"This is rapidly approaching a a pre-revolutionary condition, but not for a revolution many of us would want to undergo."

awrm.org

I want what is required to fix the problem at minimal cost.

100 years on Heinlen's curve "C"*, the last five or six on curve "D"*.

I think, given the probabilities and the debasement of the currency, that 30 million dead and 30 trillion lost is cheap at the price--if it gets us on curve "A"*.

*Fair warning, it's been ten years since I read "Expanded Universe". I may have inverted the desirableness of the curves of societal development/devolution.

But these are the Crazy Years, no doubt.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
And yes, those are big, round, metaphorical numbers. It could be twice that, it could be a tenth, I think, with equal probability.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does anyone know what the effect of the aging population is on the above stats? My Democrat friends like to point out that the government uses the working age as 16 and over. Boomers reaching retirement age would tend to lower the labor force participation, but how much? It almost seems like the statistics are designed to obscure the true state of our economic health.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
From what I've read, the big wave of boomer retirements has only just begun. Thus, the labor force shrinkage is not from retirements. It's from people who are long term unemployed (more than 6 months.)
My country is dying, and I feel utterly powerless.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
See
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-10/x-marks-spot-generational-divide

Boomers can't afford to retire, and increasingly ... are not retiring.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You got that right, shipmate.

I'm 62, still doing the work of 10, and no way in hell am I gonna retire into Obama's Democrat Non-Worker's Paradise.

As an aside, I too rode boomers and fast attacks. On the whole, I liked the SSN I rode (and the mission!) a hell of a lot more than the SSBN. But then, if not you and me, who?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I might add, the heartlessness and, probably charitably, the ignorance of the political class in this country has officially, in my book, gone beyond belief.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, but the Boxers and Feinsteins of the world are laughing all the way to the bank. Wealthier than ever, often on insider information fed to rich husbands.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another aspect of these economic numbers that I never hear reported is the situation of people like me. I am self-employed and so I'm not technically unemployed, but the availability of customers in my line of work is so low I'm almost unemployed. This has been the case for a while and there is no end in sight. We are living largely on our seed corn and hoping and praying for a future. I don't know what happens when you run out of seed corn, especially on a national scale.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All