Friday, February 6, 2009

We're Discouraged

By now everyone has seen the dismal jobs numbers from January of this year. The Department of Labor release from this morning is bad. Unemployment rose .4 percent up to 7.6 percent. It's highest level since 1992, according to Bloomberg. That's a loss of almost 600,000 jobs. Of course, beyond the headline numbers there is more bad news. One understated figure is the number of people who want jobs but have stopped looking for them. This number has grown steadily in recent months, increasing by 889,000 people year-over-year.

While people leave the labor force for a variety of reasons, the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asks people if they were discouraged.

According to BLS, discouraged include people perceive that:
A)no work available,
B) they could not find work,
C) They lack schooling or training,
D) employers think they are too young or old
E) they other types of discrimination.
This subcategory of the people who want but are not seeking work has also grown. I've charted the percentage of people who want but are not seeking work, who say they are discouraged.

The figure now stands at 12.51 percent, a 33 percent increase year-over-year since last January. These people may be difficult to woo back into the labor force. While they may not impact unemployment figures they may not contribute much to the economy.

1 comment:

Terry said...

This is by far the worst job market I have experienced in my lifetime and I don't believe we are even remotely close to experiencing the worst yet. People have given up, that is why hope is so important right now. The saying, "Perception is reality" is so important right now, not only do we have to improve as a nation economically, but we might have to belive it before it even happens.