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July 19, 2012

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...things are too quiet, almost Gary Condit quiet.
Now that brings the chilly spine.

"We are beginning to live between two worlds, in an intermediate cultural state."
Here is my old mans wisdom for you Jon. Hopefully it will provide you with some mental ease.
Stuart Smithers Occupy The Buddha in Tricycle Magazine

All eyes and ears are waiting for the outcome of the US presidential election. Will we have the limited wars of Obama or all-out armageddon with Romney? Will the US economy slowly strangle itself with its pretend "free enterprise" under Obama or will it jump into the abyss of Romney's corporatism? Will the rich ever be held accountable -- well that's a NO with either one of our choice of red or blue feces.

Jon i recommend you take a month off and go to the Smoke Farm just outside Seattle.

Rogue,

After spending 3 weeks in the Philippines in June I am obsessed with the evidently resource rich Spratly Islands. The Spratly's are well within the Philippine 200 mile exclusive zone. I am certain that if the Philippine Senate had not kicked us out of Subic Bay and Clark AFB that the Chinese would be less confrontational about these uninhabited islands. I doubt that many Americans know that the Chinese sank a Vietnamese navy boat over there and a Chinese boat sliced thru a Filipino fishing vessel there recently.

Based on the possibly huge oil and gas deposits there and the US having a defense treaty with PI, this could get interesting for us.

Meanwhile, even Rogue was moved by this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWUA1CXIku8

I just spent 90 minutes researching the fascinating question of "long-term discouraged" workers and found some interesting results. No time at the moment to finish this, or post them, but later or tomorrow. (Note: the BLS keeps data on these, they just don't include them in any official unemployment index: but I have the figures.)

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The wider, more accurate rate of un- and underemployment is 22.9 percent in June. This is an astounding national wound from which millions will never recover."

This needs background before it can be taken at face value. That's why I've whipped up what I modestly call "The Best Darned Labor Statistics Primer You've Ever Read". It's not comprehensive but it addresses the issue of the "long-term discouraged" and what constitutes an accurate unemployment rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gets its unemployment data from the Current Population Survey, a monthly questionaire conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that asks of hundreds of thousands of households about their work situation (and all kinds of other things). National unemployment rates are determined from this sample. (The monthly "jobs" (payroll employment) figures come from a different survey using a smaller sample of private and government employers.)

For this purpose, the BLS divides the nation's population (16 and older) into two main groups:

(I) Those in the civilian labor force. This includes:

(a) The employed (both full and part time employed);

(b) Those unemployed who have actively looked for work in the past four weeks.

Note that "civilian" excludes members of the armed forces, inmates, etc.. In June, 2012 the civilian labor force numbered about 155 million.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

(II) Those not in the labor force. In June this numbered about 86 million. Those not in the labor force are excluded from the traditional unemployment measure (the U-3 index). These include:

(a) Those who say that they don't want a job now. This includes many full-time students, retirees, housewives, etc..

(b) Those who say they want a job now but haven't looked in the last four weeks. In June these numbered about 7.2 million. This group (which isn't, as a whole, included in any official unemployment index, but is tracked by BLS), is subdivided into two basic groups:

(b1) Those who have looked for a job at least once in the last year. These are known as "marginally attached to the labor force", also known as "not in labor force, searched for work and available". The group includes those who give reasons such as "thinks no work available, could not find work, lacks schooling or training, employer thinks too young or old, and other types of discrimination"; also, reasons such as "school or family responsibilities, ill health, and transportation problems"; also, other reasons (e.g., "the Trilateral Commission blackballed me"); and finally, those who gave no reasons at all. In June, these numbered about 2.5 million. Of these, 821 thousand were "discouraged over jobs prospects" and roughly 1.6 million gave "reasons other than (economic) discouragement" (or no reasons at all).

Note that these are included in the government's broadest unemployment index (U-6), along with part-time employed who want full-time work but can't get it for economic reasons (about 8.4 million of those in June, tracked in the survey as "Persons At Work 1-34 Hours, Economic Reasons, All Industries").

In the documenting link below, check the boxes for "Not in the Labor Force" then click on "retrieve data":

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab16.htm

In the documenting link below, check the boxes for "Persons at work part time" then click on "retrieve data":

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab8.htm

(b2) Those who have not looked for work at all in the last year, but still say that they want a job now in survey responses. As noted by Mr. Talton, this group has been excluded from all official unemployment measures since 1994. In June they numbered about 4.7 million. This figure can be derived by taking "not in labor force, want a job now" and subtracting "not in labor force, searched for work and available" (i.e., marginally attached).

The group in (b2) are what Mr. Talton and his source, the private firm "Shadow Government Statistics", refer to as "long-term discouraged". They are roughly 3 percent of the civilian labor force. If we add this to the 14.9 percent unemployment rate of the government's broadest unemployment measure, U-6, in June, we get a rate of about 18 percent unemployment inclusive of "long-term discouraged", which I'll dub "U-7".

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm

Alternatively, if we take the number of officially unemployed in June (12.8 million) and add the 7.2 million "not in labor force, want work now", plus the 8.4 million part-timers who want full-time work but can't get it for economic reasons, and include the 7.2 million in an expanded-definition labor force, we derive an expanded unemployment rate of 17.5 percent, which agrees pretty closely. (Differences include rounding errors and the difference between seasonally adjusted and unadjusted unemployment rates.)

It's impossible to say how the private firm "Shadow Government Statistics" got a figure of 22.9 percent, since no methodology is described, at least not in the public access (non-subscriber) portion of their website. It's unclear what sources outside of the BLS and the Current Population Survey it would have at its disposal, or how reliable comparatively.

Using the term "long-term discouraged" to describe the 4.7 million who say they want a job now but haven't looked even once in the past year is problematic, since reasons for this (economic, personal, wacko) might vary considerably.

To get a sense of how much of the problem is related to recessionary and post-recessionary economic problems, and how much is not, consider the figures for this "long-term" group during the last economic boom. From 2002 through 2007 the annual figure for this group hovered around 3.2 million. (An annual average of 4.7 million in "not in labor force, want a job now" minus an annual average of 1.5 million in "not in labor force, searched for work and available" (i.e., marginally attached).) The difference between the current 4.7 million "long-term discouraged" and the 3.2 million "long-term discouraged" over that period, is 1.5 million. We might dub this 1.5 million "long-term discouraged because of Great Recession and its aftermath". That's about 1 percent of the current labor force of 155 million.

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab16.htm

Mr. Talton wrote:

"Consider that wealthy Republican Willard Milton "Mitt" Romney stands a very good chance of becoming president. Despite all the damage that should have been done by the ongoing revelations of his destructive work at Bain Capital, duplicity about his tenure at same, and refusal to release his tax returns — a potential chief executive with accounts in the Caymans and a Swiss bank account — despite all this, he barely trails in the popular vote and cannot be counted out in the Electoral College. How can this be?"

Maybe this has something to do with it:

http://www.slideshare.net/PewInternet/news-in-a-networked-world

(Scroll down a bit for the slideshow buttons.)

Not enough time today to go through details but if someone wants to get a head start there's plenty of conversation-worthy material.

The Bain controversy consists of two sides making different claims. Those guided by political tendencies rather than in depth examination of the issues are going to: (a) be drawn to different sources with different spins; (b) give different weights to conflicting evidence; (c) reach conclusions based more on political philosophy than the facts of a specific case.

I'll have some broader general comments tomorrow.

I disagree strongly with the mantra "we need more jobs" More jobs just means more destruction of the planet. What the planet needs is a whole lot less humans.
I have designer condoms available. AZREBEL is handling the sales.

Robbie

As a "long-term discouraged" myself, I concur with cal's rejection of "more jobs." While I resonate with the noble purpose of lessening planetary destruction, I confess that I would like to enjoy a less wage-oriented societal arrangement, if only to feel less of a pariah.

Using the term "long-term discouraged" to describe the 4.7 million who say they want a job now but haven't looked even once in the past year is problematic, since reasons for this (economic, personal, wacko) might vary considerably.
As I resemble this remark, I believe I can add another to your ad hoc reasons (economic, personal, wacko,) Emil. That would be... "discouraged." See? Not problematic after all.

We can't destroy the planet cal. It's been around for billions of years and will probably last billions more. This shit we're pouring on earth will be shaken off like a mallard drying off -- once we destroy ourselves that is. Which we will likely do eventually, at the rate we are going. So let's be a bit more humble -- we are destroying mankind.

I can't believe this casual dismissal of the unemployment crisis. Forgive me for being blunt. People are hurting, and this can't be explained away with Mr. Pulsifer's research-y abstruse term paper or the notion that a "discouraged" worker doesn't really need an income or to have opportunity in a dynamic, growing workforce.

I think I have a little standing to discuss this, having covered the economy and business for some very good newspapers for nearly 30 years, and having more than a casual acquaintance with people actually hurt badly by a fundamental change in the job market and economic mobility.

The problem is real. The political instability it invites is, too.

I'll probably regret having written this. But there it is.

Jon, Blunt is good with me. The more short worded bluntness the better. Some of the best term papers I have read have been on bumper stickers.

Chuco, I Like that name. But did you mean "manunkind" (e e cummings.)
When I say planet that includes Jane Goodall and her wild beasts. We be nice if humans lifted off and left the wild beasts alone.

if we are going to look at "long-term discouraged" I think that the bored under worked employed in this capitalistic world should have a glance.

Thank you, Mr. Talton. Your ire is appreciated.

'Discouraged workers' sound off in the agony column:

http://gawker.com/5927342/hello-from-the-underclass-unemployment-stories-vol-one

Things are not quiet. The world is burning slowly but it is burning nonetheless.
BTW: "Creative class" is just another word for "good personnel".

As my other faculties have diminished, my intuition seems to have improved. It is telling me that Willard Mittens Romney is a made-for-TV persona. He is not real. He is a latter-day Ken doll in his own Vitalis ad.

Did u mean latter-day saint doll?

AWinter, thanks for that link. I feel like all of those folk are living in my head. My philosophical leanings are a stubborn, if barely adequate, bastion against terminal depression and despair but, as the testimonials reveal in their subtext (and at times explicitly), it is difficult to maintain a human esteem when one is trained from birth to define their worth based on one's "service" in the wage-slave paradigm.

Its longer than a bumper sticker but this column suggests to me that a reading of Das Kapital might be in order?

Petro hows about coffee and I will bring Camus along to assit U in understanding why U can and should keep it up

Another possibility: Romney "barely trails" in the polls, but as of 2011, Republicans made up 27 percent of of the electorate, Democrats 31 percent, and independents 40 percent, according to Gallup. It's a reasonable assumption that nearly all Republicans would rather see Romney elected than Obama on general political principles; and independents split right down the middle in terms of leaning (or considering themselves) Republican or Democrat.

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/40-percent-of-americans-identify-as-independents-10-percent-actually-independents/

So, Democrats have a three point popular lead, and the independent vote is split. No wonder Romney "barely trails". Obviously, some independents are flexible and subject to revised opinions, so this isn't written in stone: but the math adds up. Verdict: surprisingly, Romney's competitiveness is no surprise.

Petro wrote:

"Thank you, Mr. Talton. Your ire is appreciated."

Ire is cheap. Uneducated ire is common and pernicious. Talk radio fills its listeners with ire, which they take up like the blunt instrument that it is. Are you looking for information, or an emotional catharsis? Rarest of all: a rapier wit which can justify the ire it employs.

Petro wrote:

"As a 'long-term discouraged' myself, I concur with cal's rejection of 'more jobs.' While I resonate with the noble purpose of lessening planetary destruction, I confess that I would like to enjoy a less wage-oriented societal arrangement, if only to feel less of a pariah."

I'm shocked by your "casual dismissal of the employment crisis". You and Cal seem possessed by "the notion that a 'discouraged' worker doesn't really need an income or to have opportunity in a dynamic, growing workforce."

Strangely though, Mr. Talton hasn't criticized you for this, even though (unlike myself) you both have actually, explicitly written this.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"I can't believe this casual dismissal of the unemployment crisis."

Straw man. Nobody here is dismissing it, much less casually.

"People are hurting, and this can't be explained away with Mr. Pulsifer's research-y abstruse term paper..."

What's wrong with research? An aversion to it, from a non-fiction writer, demonstrates anti-intellectual, inverse snobbery. You pull some figure out of the sky ("22.9 percent unemployment") from an outfit calling itself "Shadow Government Statistics" and then you get upset when someone challenges this and does the homework you failed to do.

Instead of thanking me for providing figures on "long-term discouraged" that you didn't even realize the government kept track of, and for providing invaluable research and data leads you might use in future blogs to make them more factual (and more interesting and compelling), and for explaining the data in a way that put it in perspective, you cringe like the Coppertone Girl with her pale behind exposed.

You've posted blogs in the past praising tough teachers and others who demanded more from you, and in so doing made you better, but evidently this attitude is an artifact of nostalgia.

"People are hurting, and this can't be explained away..."

Straw man. Nobody is trying to explain anything away except some misapprehensions about unemployment statistics (what they mean and what they say).

"...or the notion that a "discouraged" worker doesn't really need an income or to have opportunity in a dynamic, growing workforce."

Straw man. Nobody made any such generalization. I suppose it's a lot easier to tilt against windmills.

"I think I have a little standing to discuss this, having covered the economy and business for some very good newspapers for nearly 30 years, and having more than a casual acquaintance with people actually hurt badly by a fundamental change in the job market and economic mobility."

Lots of reporters and opinion columnists have long careers. They frequently disagree with one another, even about fundamentals. There are plenty of wrong-headed conservatives with careers longer than yours. Neither professional stamina nor man-on-the-street anecdotes will substitute for a competent understanding of the issues you write about.

That takes research, and that means work. It also means understanding that you aren't an expert, and probably never will be; that some of the things you think you know, you're wrong about; that you'll be wrong again in the future; and furthermore (equally importantly) that experts aren't infallible either. It means viewing knowledge as an evolving process full of uncertainty and error, that may take you out of an insular comfort-zone you have constructed for yourself.

If you had a technical issue with what I wrote, I might have to admit error myself. As long as the criticism was civil and to the point, big deal! I didn't write what I did expecting it to be the last word, carved in stone like the Ten Commandments. For all I know there's more to the story. You haven't managed to demonstrate this, however.

Maybe this reflects the problem with the electorate that Mr. Talton alludes to. Too many individuals don't want to be bothered with founding their opinions and attitudes on facts, and doing the research (not just watching the nightly news or listening to talk-radio, or even reading the newspaper -- assuming they do) that this requires.

They take disagreement as a personal insult and become insular, hiding from anyone who would challenge them on factual issues or give them the uncomfortable feeling of being uncertain.

It's in the layers, Emil. I have different paradigms that shade in and out of view depending on what the "art of the possible" reveals today.

One is forced into incrementalism because of the political realities of life, but in my writing and thought I fly fucking free.

And in my freedom-flying, I envision a world where we are not consigned to work for a smug cadre of wealth accumulators lecturing us on what is right and good in the world.

In real life, my heart breaks for people who are forced to contend with the fact that we have to shop at the company store, with company dollars, for FOOD and a space to LIVE - unlike every other species on this planet, who are apparently still, somehow, less clever than we are.

So, in real life, sure - I would love to see a boom in restaurant business so that I, and others, might be considered worthy enough to pitch in and earn a few dollars to stave off both our appetites, and the reproaching stares of our contentedly-ensnared neighbors.

Instead of thanking me for providing figures on "long-term discouraged"...
C'mon, Emil, you are thanked quite often 'round these parts. A little criticism based on how you've framed your figures upsets you?

Oh, wait...

They take disagreement as a personal insult and become insular, hiding from anyone who would challenge them on factual issues or give them the uncomfortable feeling of being uncertain.
Project much?

P.S. Isn't an economy where the long-term unemployed (not "discouraged") make up 41.9 percent of the 12.7 million unemployed, bad enough? These are individuals who are running out of benefits (if they haven't already) who are actually looking for a job at least once every four weeks.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Isn't it bad enough that, on top of this, there are another 8.4 million working part-time because they can't get full-time work?

Why do we have to play "Topper" with dubious statistics from dubious sources, just to prove how hip and edgy we are, when the facts are screaming bloody murder?

Petro wrote:

"A little criticism about how you've framed your figures upsets you?"

No, but a hostile misrepresentation does. There's more than one type of "framing".

I would simply prefer that you desisted from massaging class distinctions - based on work history and, apparently, "enthusism" - within the un/underemployed underclass. You sound like our masters.

Wow, stepped away for a second and the blog turned into a smackdown-fest!

Emil looks like you just outed yourself.
Due to my limited time frame, I am excluding you in the future into the dust bin of others I dont have time for.
Time now for my catching up on Jim Harrison, Charles Bowden, Ed Abbey and my favorite mystery guy, Mapstone.

"Surely I'm not the only one who feels as if we're in a spooky interlude, an intermission between bad and, perhaps not worse, but much of the same bad for a very long time."

Heads will roll.

So, we began all this with Jon's wondering about the next shoes to drop. I'd add Syria because of its potential to draw in Russia, Iran and other Arab states. Bashir Assad is a former opthamologist who has truly made a spectacle of himself. Hard to foretell any orderly exit from such a whackadoodle. Thus, the discussion may shift from Mitt's Millions to President O's diplomacy. Glad Hillary is in the mix!

Another point to consider when evaluating polling responses in support of presidential candidates:

Political scientists consider only 15 to 20 percent of the population in the U.S. to be truly "politically attentive", with another 30 percent sporadically attentive. In June 1979, despite decades of cold-war and a threat of nuclear annihilation that had entered popular culture in television and films, just 30 percent of Americans polled knew that the United States and the Soviet Union were the countries engaged in the second strategic arms limitation talks (SALT). Note that was the *second* round of SALT talks so the term should have already entered the popular lexicon. (Source: NYT, June 12, 1979). And despite the OPEC crisis of 1973-1974 as well as the energy crisis of 1979 (following the Iranian revolution), only 51 percent of Americans knew that the United States imported petroleum. (NYT, June 13, 1979)

Why, then, should we expect the details of Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital to penetrate "the popular consciousness", much less form a serious basis for elective decision making?

According to this, one can estimate that roughly half of the potential electorate is pig-ignorant more or less by choice, not because anyone is trying to brainwash them.

Beyond this, in their seminal 2005 textbook, American Government (now in its 12th edition), political scientists James Q. Wilson and John J. Dilulio wrote: "Only about 20 percent of Americans who harbor moderate views and favor bipartisanship are politically attentive, while the rest are largely 'disengaged moderates'. By contrast, a majority of the growing number of citizens who identify themselves as 'strongly liberal' or 'strongly conservative' are engaged in obtaining political news (often from sources like talk radio or preferred Internet blogs that mainly serve to reinforce their preexisting views)..."

http://books.google.com/books?id=Bz8nQWQQ-zwC&pg=PA342&lpg=PA342

So, of the politically attentive other half of the population, many rely on sources for political news that are unabashedly catering to a particular viewpoint.

Petro wrote:

"I would simply prefer that you desisted from massaging class distinctions - based on work history and, apparently, "enthusism" - within the un/underemployed underclass. You sound like our masters."

It's hard to take your preferences seriously, Petro, inasmuch as they change 180 degrees from comment to comment. You can't share Cal's rejection of more jobs and yet encourage others to get up in arms about the lack of jobs.

I don't think you take ANY of this seriously or care very much about whether your positions are logically consistent. As you wrote:

"I have different paradigms that shade in and out of view depending on what the 'art of the possible' reveals today."

In other words, you like playing games with words. OK, you're an amusing enough fellow, Petro, who knows how to turn a good sentence, and I still like you, but if I "sound like your masters" you sound just like Lorenzo Bolzano, the editor of a small circulation philosophy of art journal in Aaron Elkins' mystery novel A Deceptive Clarity. Lorenzo was quite facile in his arguments, but when it came to his own personal interests all of the ambiguities and "layers" and funny arguments evaporated like smoke. Go figure.

Cal Lash wrote:

"Emil looks like you just outed yourself..."

I don't know what this means, but likely it's a smear by our resident self-admitted Republican.

"...Due to my limited time frame, I am excluding you in the future into the dust bin of others I dont have time for."

Just like you, Cal, to quote my own recent words ("dust bin") back; classic passive-aggressive behavior.

I don't give a fig what you do with your time. You're just about the least sympathetic character I've come across online. You wrote:

"I disagree strongly with the mantra "we need more jobs" More jobs just means more destruction of the planet. What the planet needs is a whole lot less humans."

And that's one of your more HUMANE remarks about "humans". This is you in a nutshell: anti-human, anti-jobs, anti-economic growth, anti- just about everything as far as I can tell. You're a bitter old black-hole and the only thing you're ready to approve of is something that sucks the light out of the room. You're morbid and moribund and would rather see everything dragged down with you as you go than live with the idea that someone will succeed and be happy where you did not. You'll never light a candle and whenever someone else tries to you just curse the darkness all the more loudly.

I think China is the next shoe to drop.
No time to write about this now.

Goodness, Reb stepped out of town for a few days and the crank meter on cranky contrarians went off the screen.

The Reb has decided to fall back on his belief that "opinions are like assholes, everybody has one."

From here on out the Reb is going to stop talking and get to doing.

The Reb will still be reading, but the opinions will be kept to himself.

The Reb continues to support and applaud all of you.

The Reb wonders why he is addressing himself in the third person, however, that is the least of his quirks.

The reb now returns you to your normally scheduled cranky-fest.

Good morning.

Had to sleep on that last salvo.

It appears that some of the personal has crept into our "policy" discussion. To whatever extent I contributed to that drift (and I did), I apologize, Emil.

To "re-purify" my position - I was (over?) reacting to what appeared to be your syntactic dismissal of a certain category of the unemployed (we who are actively engaged in the jobless racket can be a little sensitive.) I understand that you, and the actuarially-inclined, are making these distinctions in order to better understand how limited resources (i.e., unemployment, jobs programs) might be more fairly distributed.

You see, it can be easily argued that I fall into the most indolent of those categories, and I prefer to take on the whole idea, rather than waste my energy explaining to myself (or others) how I'm actually "better" than those lazy, discouraged folk who seem to be dropping out on purpose (and probably tuning-in and turning-on as well, for all we know.)

My rather knee-jerk response can be attributed to my inherent distaste for meritocratic hierarchy - a position on which I am quite consistent. And let me say here that your feeling that I am facile in my arguments (to "turn a good sentence") is not quite correct - I've always considered the ancient discipline of rhetoric a dark art. You are excused if you find that ironic, but I'm not a fan of dark arts.

In any case, I'll just say that I am sincere and do argue from the point of a dearly-won world-view. It's apparent complexity (and I do mean only "apparent") should not be mistaken for inconsistency. Forests and trees come to mind (or the old ten-thousand-foot view, if your tastes run more to business meetings.)

Anyway, back to my coffee...

These are called the DOG DAYS because (as I recall) the poor critters tended to get hydrophobia this time of year!

Almost done with reading "The Man Who Gave Up Money" and it certainly makes me think that there is a better way. And I watched Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" and thought its a bit dated (at the end it looked like Obama and the Democrats were poised to turn back the corporate tide!). Marx is reviled because he is feared -- few have ever read him, but he is the master of the capitalist takedown. He saw every weakness and strength, but knew the weakness would pull it down. Thus he must be pilloried. And Moore's movie definitely showed its all about the packaging and marketing.

Petro, just to clarify: I wasn't dismissing any broad category of unemployed out of hand, including "long term discouraged". You'll note that I estimate approximately 1.5 million have joined this category for economic reasons since the Great Recession.

I do think it's important to separate out various elements (categories, subcategories) so that we can get a better idea of the numbers, and what's behind the numbers.

Also, a scattergun approach that fails to distinguish between economic and non-economic reasons allows one's political enemies to dismiss the whole thing by claiming that we've lumped all kinds of things together indiscriminately.

Rigor also makes it easier to deflect the charge of exaggeration -- whether the exaggeration results from a casual but inadvertent misuse of figures, or (as you suggested I adopt) a deliberate refusal to discriminate. These figures are of course subject to discussion and revision, but large exaggerations, once revealed, cause the general reader to mistrust the source. Once readers start asking themselves "Is this yet more hyperbole for political or sensationalistic purposes?" you risk becoming dismissable.

Also, sound policy remedies depend on knowing what the problems actually are: qualitatively and quantitatively. Merely suspecting what the problems are isn't enough: you have to be able to demonstrate convincingly that the problems are what you claim they are.

Finally, I have a personal interest in such things and I like trying to understand them. The comments I compose are part of my self-teaching process, though I like to imagine that they are informative. Fleshing out the skeleton of a framework of understanding means examining details (hopefully, important and fundamental details, not trivia); conceivably this might be misunderstood as didacticism.

I rejoin with a clarification of my own, Emil.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I find your attention to detail a precious addition to the dialogue, especially since that is an area that I willfully neglect.

I apologize for allowing my affinity for the "big picture" to have clouded my appreciation for what you do.

electicdog, let me know when your done with "the man that gave up Money" and I will meet you fr coffee to pick it up as I only got half way through it before i got sidetracked. I have a couple of copies of the New Adbuster magazine if you would like one. It has a good article on your following quote.
"Marx is reviled because he is feared -- few have ever read him, but he is the master of the capitalist takedown. He saw every weakness and strength, but knew the weakness would pull it down. Thus he must be pilloried."

Now, here's an interesting detail that emerges from some of the BLS data I linked to. Mr. Talton had long suspected that many of the new jobs being created in the aftermath of the Great Recession were part-time. He based this on the word of someone (unidentified) he trusted, which is interesting but scarcely conclusive.

An examination of the table showing the number of part-time workers who are part-time for economic reasons, "Persons At Work 1-34 Hours, Economic Reasons, All Industries" might help confirm or refute this suspicion.

From 2002 through 2007 the annual number of these individuals ranged in the low to mid four millions. Suddenly in 2008 it jumped from 4.4 million to 5.9 million. By June 2009 (the last month of the recession, officially) it had jumped to 9.3 million (with an annual average of 8.9 million in 2009).

At first glance that's very suggestive, but remember that during the recession the overall number of jobs was still declining, and we're interested in new jobs created since job growth resumed (however slowly).

In 2010 the figure had barely budged and was still about 8.9 million (a very slight decline and probably not statistically significant); but note that the figure didn't grow.

In 2011 this had declined to 8.6 million, still very high by pre-recession standards, but shrinking rather than growing.

Most of the monthly figures for 2012 are below the 2011 average (the exception being a spike in January), and from March through May substantially below. As of June the figure was 8.4 million.

So, during and following the recession forced part-time work soared. If you look at the tables breaking this down further, most of the increase resulted from working decreased hours, due to "slack work or business conditions". A smaller but still significant percentage of the growth in part-time workers was due to "could only find part-time work".

Post-recession, the number of part-timers who want full-time work has actually decreased a little but has essentially stagnated at very high levels relative to pre-recession numbers.

But if you look at the breakdown, you find that, post-recession, the number of forced part-timers due to "slack work or business conditions" has decreased, whereas the number of forced part-timers who "could only find part-time work" has increased.

This is an important difference because the first category consists of individuals who never lost their jobs but were forced into part-time status as a result of low consumer demand; whereas the second category consists of job seekers who took part-time work because it was all they could get. This latter category has actually grown by roughly 600,000 since the end of the recession.

According to the L.A. Times, the economy has gained 2.6 million jobs since the end of the recession. If 600,000 of those have been forced part-time jobs given to the previously unemployed, that would mean roughly 23 percent of new jobs created have been part-time.

I'm running out of online time and this requires further thought, but I'm posting what I have so far, for what it's worth.

At the BLS web-page below, check the four boxes titled "part-time for economic reasons, all industries" and then "retrieve data" to get the tables I used.

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab8.htm

Major announcement: THERE ARE NO JOBS. We have electrical engineers, plumbers, lawyers, nurses, cashiers, burger-flippers, and others sitting at home with nothing to do. Most new college graduates are not getting jobs.

The folks at the unemployment office where I live staunchly argue that the actual unemployment rate is north of 20%. Florida really sucks, though, and is likely worse off than most of the rest of the country. Florida is a red state run by Republican crooks, but I digress.

There are groups that track the supply of pharmacists vs the demand, and they will tell you that we have a surplus of pharmacists. Hospital nursing directors and professors in schools of nursing say that there is a huge surplus of nurses. The colleges of education in Florida say that there is a huge surplus of teachers. This is true in every profession or trade. There are too many electricians, sewage plant operators, waiters, janitors, and everything else.

So do we tell them all to go starve to death??? Would it be more civilized and merciful to just give them a cyanide tablet? (I'm being sarcastic there....)

With great respect, I think Emil forgot to mention the birth-death model and how unemployment numbers are managed, massaged, and manipulated....Mike Shedlock has published numerous posts on how insane the government's calculations are.

There are some irrefutable truths here....

1) Unemployment is higher than the government will ever admit.

2) At this time there is virtually no hiring at all. Don't believe it? Then point out employers who are hiring large numbers of people.

3) The United States has a surplus of workers in every profession or trade. It is fantastically easy to point out well-qualified, capable people in every field who absolutely cannot get jobs. I bet no one can show me employers who just can't find anyone to work...........unless the jobs pay so poorly that no one with any sense would take the job.

I cannot contain myself: THERE ARE NO JOBS.

The United States is finished. Mass suffering has already begun, and will get worse. The right-wing will convince people that the unemployed bums deserve to die. The Republicans will want to link the US with a global economic union that will morph into a global government and then the planet will burn........

Yeah, Mick, they can't kill the babies fast enough at Planned Parenthood either. Waddayagonnado?

I don't know about Planned Parenthood, but I vote against every Republican. I encourage people to vote against anyone who supports globalization, free trade, or amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Maybe we ought to emigrate to Canada? Europe?

People would need to wake up and vote against the globalists. I doubt that will happen.

Maybe if enough people starve the rest will get angry???

How duplicitous is it to argue against illegal immigration but then ask if we should emigrate elsewhere? And likely not legally since Canada and Europe wouldn't welcome a large influx with open arms; not with their current troubles: The Euro is tanking as we speak.

"I'm running out of online time and this requires further thought, but I'm posting what I have so far, for what it's worth."

Within an hour after posting that, I realized that part-time jobs as a percentage of net new jobs are probably substantially higher than the preliminary figure of 23 percent I suggested. The two reasons for this each revolve around the distinction between new jobs and newly hired workers.

First, while each of the 600,000 new workers in the "could only find part-time work" category got at least one part-time job, some of them could have more. If each had two such jobs (while the total hours worked remained 34 or less), that would double the percentage of new jobs created that are part time. While this seems a bit much, a revised estimate of 1/3 rather than 1/4 could be within the ballpark.

Second -- and this is really important -- someone unemployed who lands two part-time jobs providing a total of MORE than 34 hours would not be classified as a part-time worker at all, hence would not be classified as forced part-time. So part-time jobs as a percentage of new jobs created could easily be substantially higher still. I'll see if I can get some reliable figures on this.

So, back to the drawing board, but we're a little further along: not only have we established a floor, we've also established two sound reasons why the actual percentage is substantially higher than this floor.

A third, complicating factor is the difference between jobs per se and payroll jobs. The 2.6 million net new jobs created since the recession ended in June 2009, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, are payroll jobs. But there are self-employed workers also and some of these may be among the new forced part-time workers, since the worker figures use the Current Population Survey whereas the payroll jobs figures use the Current Employer Survey.

A few more pieces of the puzzle. The question was, what percentage of the newly created jobs since the end of the recession (official end, June, 2009) are part-time.

First, the issue of multiple jobholders. It appears that multiple jobholders, both as a percentage of the employed and in absolute numbers, have declined since 2009. This was important because if individual part-time or full-time workers take more than one job (where the hours of each job are part-time, whether the total hours qualify those workers as part or full time), the number of new "can only find part time work" workers might seriously understate the number of new part-time jobs added. So, that seems to exclude one complicating factor.

Second, the number of independent (non-payroll) workers. Remember, I was concerned that these might have pushed up the number of "could only find part-time work" workers added since the end of the recession (about 600,000). I needn't have worried: both incorporated and unincorporated self-employed workers have declined since the end of the recession. Another simplification of the problem.

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab9.htm

Third, if we want to compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges, we need to consider the number of "could only find part time work" workers as a percentage, not of payroll jobs created since the end of the recession, but of total workers added since the recession (i.e., as a percentage of total employment levels).

Even though the recession technically ended in June of 2009, employment levels actually bottomed out in 2010: the annual figure for 2010 was 139 million (139,064,000). The annual figure for 2011 is 139,869,000 for an increase of just 805,000. However, the figure for every month this year is significantly higher. If we compare June 2009 (140,826,000) to June 2012 (143,302,000) we get an increase of total employment (16 and older) since the technical end of the recession of 2,476,000. (Of which 600,000 is about 24.2 percent.)

If we do a similar month to month comparison from June 2009 to June 2012 in the "could only find part time work" workers category (instead of a somewhat confused combination of annual average in 2009 with June 2012 figure as previously) the number of new forced part-time workers in this category is 336,000.

We could also try comparing the number of new "could only find part time work" workers with the increase in total employment in a single year from 2010 (when total employment bottomed) to 2011. In 2010 the annual average for the "could only find part time work" workers was 2,375,000 and in 2011 the same figure was 2,514,000 for an increase of 139,000. In 2010 the annual average for total employment (16 and older) was 139,064,000 and in 2012 it was 139,869,000 for an increase of 805,000. As a percentage of this, the new "could only find part time work" workers is 17.2 percent.

So far, try as I might, I'm having difficulty supporting the contention that part-time jobs account for most of the newly created jobs since the recession. However, it could easily be that I'm simply not analyzing this properly (e.g., the question of multiple jobholders).

Thank you for your research Emil. It is greatly appreciated.

Typo correction. I wrote:

"In 2010 the annual average for total employment (16 and older) was 139,064,000 and in 2012 it was 139,869,000 for an increase of 805,000. As a percentage of this, the new "could only find part time work" workers is 17.2 percent."

That should read 2011, not 2012.

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