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Friday, November 4, 2011

Real (Unadjusted) Unemployment Best in Two Years

This is the best time to look for a job in more than two years -- although you wouldn't know it from the government's most recent unemployment report. Today the government reported that the not-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.5% in October, down from 8.8% in September, and continuing a steady decline from 9.3% in July -- and was the lowest unadjusted unemployment rate reported by the government since January 2009. Gallup reported a similar not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment number beginning in mid-October and on Thursday noted that the month ended at 8.4%.

The government's own numbers show that the number of employed Americans increased by 485,000 in October from September 2011 following an increase of 267,000 in September from August.

All of this is hidden because this is BLS household survey data, and most observers focus on what is reported in the survey of businesses known as the BLS establishment survey. The real unemployment situation is also disguised as the BLS adjusts the data for seasonal hiring in an effort to reveal what some might consider the underlying trend.

Given the length of the current recession/slowdown, observers can argue over seasonal adjustments and how they are used for analytical purposes. Regardless, it is clear that Americans are telling Gallup and the BLS that companies are hiring right now and the real (unadjusted) unemployment rate is at its lowest point in more than two years. While this may turn out to be temporary, it is also a tidbit of sunshine that the millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans deserve to know is happening.


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