Last Friday, while most of America recovered from a long day of stars and bars reverie, the latest indication that the American economy is not in recovery dropped in the form of the June unemployment report. In a new commentary for Reason.org, I break down the numbers, which were not bad, but not good:
Official unemployment (U3) was unchanged at 7.6% from May to June. However, the more accurate measure of unemployment (U6) that includes workers who have recently been dropped from the labor force actually increased dramatically from 13.8% to 14.3%. In relative terms, that is a movement not seen in many, many months.
The nearby chart shows this increase in the U6 as out of step in recent months. But that is not the only thing to take away from the report. Consider also that both the labor force participation rate and the employment population ratio (which we discussed last month) technically improved by a tenth of a percentage point in June compared to May. But don't get too excited -- as the next figure shows both measures are still terribly low. Bureau of Labor Statistics data has a pretty high margin of error and a 0.1 percentage point shift is statistically insignificant. In practical terms the numbers remain the same as the last few months.
For the full analysis check out the commentary here.
Also see Adam Millsap's discussion of D.C.'s recent bone headed choice to kill off job creation.