Or, as a member of our Brightest and Best would describe it, “SNAFU”.
According to Forbes.com,
Jobs numbers released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning were better than what economists were predicting, leading the markets to pick up steam in early trading.
Non-farm payrolls added 217,000 jobs in May, slightly above the 215,000 that economists were expecting. The unemployment rate, which is drawn from a different survey of households, remained unchanged at 6.3% and is 0.1% better than the 6.4% consensus.
The labor force participation rate also remained unchanged from the 62.8% rate reported for April, the lowest rate in decades. The BLS said Friday that the participation rate has shown no clear trend since this past October but is down by 0.6% over the year.
April’s employment numbers were revised down to 282,000 jobs added from 288,000. March payroll figures were not revised, remaining at 203,000 non-farm jobs added. Total employment gains those months were therefore 6,000 lower than the BLS — a division of the Department of Labor – previously reported. Job growth averaged 197,000 in the prior 12 months.
Ron Sanchez, executive vice president and chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust (a Franklin Templeton company) said in a phone interview Friday that while not as robust as many economists would like to see, the results are positive because of the stability and consistency they show in the labor market.
“This is the fourth consecutive month that non-farm payrolls increased more than 200,000. That is the first time that we have seen four consecutive months of 200,000 or more since October of 1999,” Sanchez said. “For a number that has a high degree of variability, this is notable for its stability. And markets always like to see a true trend, and this would appear to be a well-entrenched trend.”
The number of long-term unemployed — defined as those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more — was essentially unchanged at 3.4 million in May, accounting for 34.6% of the country’s unemployed population. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 979,000. The BLS also reported that 7.3 million people were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Of that 34.6% of our population, who have been trying to exist without a job for an extended period of time, 37.2% have just “flat-out” given up (Southern colloquialism).
So, just what is going on here?
The Christian Science Monitor reports that
Economists at the investment bank Goldman Sachs recently sought to estimate the size of the “participation gap” – the part of the participation decline that reflects a weak economy rather than other changes. Goldman economist Sven Jari Stehn reckoned the figure is about 2 percent of the labor force – which would be a stunning 3 million people.
Currently, about 10.4 million people are counted officially as unemployed (in the labor force and looking).
Whatever the correct answer to the participation mystery is, it could help determine the dynamism of the US economy in years ahead. An economy with more workers, for example, would mean more innovative talent and more national income.
For now, the economy still has fewer workers than it did in 2007, even though the working-age population has grown by about 15 million people.
One result: Where some 63 percent of all working-age Americans had jobs in 2007, the share with jobs is now just 58.6 percent.
Even as the economy has been in recovery mode, that number has barely budged for three years. Yes, several million jobs have been created during that time, but at a rate that essentially treads water with population growth.
Federal Reserve officials including the incoming Chair Janet Yellen will ponder this issue deeply as they consider when to raise interest rates.
If the Fed judges that lots of would-be workers will trickle back into the labor force, it may try to keep monetary conditions loose long after the nation’s official unemployment rate comes down toward 6 percent.
With the Fed’s foot on the monetary accelerator, more jobs might be created and more people drawn to participate in the labor force again. Inflation is a risk, though, if Fed policy ends up being too loose for too long.
The participation puzzle may take some time to solve, because discouraged potential workers won’t flock back into the job market all at once.
“In the current recovery, it will probably take a few years before cyclical components put significant upward pressure on the participation rate,” an analysis by economists including Mary Daly at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco concluded last year.
But they estimated that such a rebound in participation should come. “We find evidence … that the recent decline in participation likely has a substantial cyclical component. States that saw larger declines in employment generally saw larger declines in participation.”
According to Yahoo.com,
The biggest drop-off has come among young workers. The recession and subsequent weak recovery have cut sharply into opportunities for entry-level workers, in virtually all industries. Some simply can’t find work. Others have chosen to go to college or graduate school instead of looking for a job.
The job woes of this “Millennial” generation have garnered plenty of attention. More twenty-somethings live with their parents these days, which has torpedoed the rate of new-household formation and left homebuilders and automakers anxiously wondering who will buy their products in five or 10 years. The amount of student debt has mushroomed, as many students pay for college with readily available (and often federally backed) loans. Many grads are starting their careers deep in the hole, since they can’t find jobs that pay enough to cover their loan payments while still allowing them to live independently.
That’s all well and good.
I feel sorry for these “Millennials”, but what about the plight of those unemployed in their 50s, like myself?
Our parents have passed on. We don’t have the luxury of living in Mom’s basement, eating Cheetos, and playing video games all day.
We have families who depend on us.
Yes, we can hold yard sales. However, most of us average Americans, don’t have that much junk that we can sell.
After all, we have to sleep somewhere.
And, our “Savings” were spent taking care of our “Millenials”.
It’s that whole “Parental Love Thingy”.
Despite the common misconception, most of us actually have updated our skill set to be able to function effectively in dealing with the New Technology.
We even have cell phones.
And, no. We do not want to apply for disability. Most “ol’ codgers”, like myself, can actually still outwork a “Millennial”.
It’s that whole “Old-Fashioned Work Ethic thingy..”
So, Mr. Employer. It’s up to you to give us “Veteran Business Professionals” a chance to help you grow your business.
After all, you will be our age…eventually.
Never Give Up. Never Surrender.