By Felix Salmon
November 6, 2009

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In October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 million. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points.

Well, at least give the BLS credit for not trying to sugar-coat the data. This is truly awful, and makes it obvious why the Fed will keep rates at or near zero for the foreseeable future. You just can’t raise rates when unemployment is in double digits.


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Felix –
Why, precisely, should people who have been unemployed for a long time no longer count as part of the unemployment statistic? They’re still out of a job. Speculations as to their mental state (“They gave up searching!”) are both condescending and incorrect.

The BLS models are just as inaccurate as the EMH. The unemployment stat is intentionally “sugar-coated” already through the gratuitously arbitrary exclusion of people who lost a job that wasn’t replaced in their town.

Why is it sugarcoated? If unemployment was reported accurately, big business wouldn’t continue to receive its tax breaks for “outsourcing.”

I can’t wait for you to arbitrarily reject my analysis but continue to not question the “wisdom” of the politicized BLS.

Posted by Unsympathetic | Report as abusive

The job market is becoming a leading indicator.
A second round of fiscal stimulus is even necessary.
The situation on the labor market is important both for the monetary policy of the Fed and for the fiscal policy of the government.

Unsympathetic, I keep telling you, it is all the wine.

Posted by Casper | Report as abusive