There was more bad news than met the eye to Friday’s jobs report, even beyond the bump up in the unemployment rate.
While the top-line number of 244,000 jobs created sounded great when it came off the tape, the internals were somewhat weaker. In particular, the household survey, which is an actual head count, suggested that the job creation barely kept up with the expansion of the labor force.
Under some circumstances, the rise in the jobless rate might have suggested good news—namely that many of the millions of discouraged workers were coming off the sidelines and looking for jobs, thus being added to the count according to the Labor Department’s byzantine method of composing the labor picture.
But nothing in the data suggests that.
The labor participation rate for April, in fact, stood unchanged at 64.2 percent.
Ditto for the actual amount of people out of work, which also was unchanged at 13.7 million.
Another measure of unemployment rose as well: the so-called “real” unemployment rate, which rose to 15.9 percent, up two-tenths from the prior month. The government calls the rate the U-6, and it measures not just those looking for work and unable to find jobs but also those “marginally” attached to the labor force and those who are working part-time but who want full-time work.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page