Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hidden Nuggets

Each month, the Department of Labor issues their "Jobs Report" on the first Friday.  Most people just look at the number of jobs created and the rate of unemployment.  In the latest, for example, it was 148 thousand and 4.1% respectively.

Buried inside, there were other numbers of note.  First, there was the U-6 level of unemployment, which measures the people "only marginally attached to the labor force" -- mostly people who want full-time work but can find only part-time work.  Last month, it dropped to 8.1%, a huge improvement from the nearly 20% it reached in 2009.

Second, unemployment among blacks has dropped to only 6.8%.  While this is much higher than unemployment among whites, it is still the lowest since the Department of Labor began publishing this estimate in 1972.  Nothing will prevent summer riots any better than keeping this rate low.  Unfortunately, there is substantial research that indicates that black unemployment will begin rising before white unemployment does.

Third, Republicans closely follow the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), which measures the percentage of population that either works or is looking for work.  Unquestionably, that percentage has deceased over the last twenty years for many reasons, including the increasing number of baby boomers who are retiring.  It should be about 70% but has stabilized about 62.7%.  The only demographic group with an increasing LFPR is women aged 25-54.  Does that reflect increasing opportunity for young women or decreasing usefulness of young men?  My feeling is that both are true.

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal a few years ago that 30-year-old women on Wall Street find men their age behave like the kids they used to babysit.  If true, why?