April Jobs Report


The numbers provided by government

The government reported that the economy added 165,000 jobs in April, 2013. And the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5%.

Let let us look in the numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to see the real state of employment (click here to access data prepared by the BLS).

(Numbers in thousand—all figures are seasonally adjusted)

                                    Jan                   Feb                  March             April

Civilian labor force:   155,654           155,524           155,028           155,238

Employed:                  143,322           143,492           143,286           143,579

Unemployed:              12,332             12,032             11,742             11,659

Unemployment rate:  7.9%                7.7%                7.6%                7.5%

Not in Labor Force:    89,008             89,304             89,967             89,936

Not in Labor Force—

But want a job:           6,750               6,631               6,821               6,413

Numbers that stood out in this month’s report (from table A-8) is the number of people working part-time:

—the number of part-time workers due to non-economic reasons increased by 163,000 from 18.745 million to about 18.908 million.

—the number of part-time workers due to economic reasons (including unable to find full-time jobs) increased by 278,000 from 7.638 million to 7.916 million. These are  people whose hours have been cut back or were unable to find full-time jobs.

Hence, in April, economy gained a net of 165,000 jobs while there were 278,000 more part-time jobs—a net loss of at least 123,000 full-time jobs. Why? Let’s assume all 165,000 new jobs were full-time positions, the economy then lost a total of 278,000 full-time jobs—i.e. 278,000 people had their hours cut back. If we assume 165,000 were all part-time jobs, then the economy lost 123,000 full-time jobs.

Also, the number of people not counted in labor force decreased by 69,000 and the government counted 408,000 less who were not in the labor force but wanted a job—and could not find one. This helps bringing the true number of unemployed persons down to 18,072,000 (11,659 + 6,413) in April. One must wonder what happened to these 408,000. Did they really give up looking for jobs? 

The good, bad and ugly news in the employment market

The good news is the economy added a net gain of 165,000 jobs—though part-time jobs. Even so, with over 18 million wanting a job, it will take over 100 months at this rate of 165,000 a month.

The bad news is the number of part-time workers stayed at a high level 26,824,000. This Obama economy is full of part-time jobs—once may ask “where is the beef?” in the job market. And the really bad news is the net loss of 123,000 full-time jobs.

The ugly news is the trend of shifting to part-time jobs in this economy has continued. This may be due to companies avoiding the health-care benefits to their employees—can we all say ObamaCare!

That recovery summer is finally coming?

Ch3 Nguyen


2 comments on “April Jobs Report

  1. Hi two cents…I don’t think that you understand how the BLS counts jobs and people employed. The jobs numbers do not indicate how many people are or are not working full-time; they come from a sample of employers (called the CES). The employment/unemployment numbers come from a survey of people conducted by the Census called the Current Population Survey. It includes people who are self-employed and agricultural workers. Over time the results of these two surveys are close, but in any one month, they may be off.

    It is never a good idea to make any kind of assumptions from one month of CPS data because it is fairly volatile, much more volatile than the jobs numbers (CES) data. That’s because the CPS is a smaller sample than the CES.

    In any event, the number of people who usually work full-time increased by 150,000 this month. The number of part-time workers went up by 107,000 this month.

    The 278,000 reflects wonky seasonal adjustments, which make it very hard to “balance” part-time worker numbers with “full-time” worker numbers as reported in the A-8 and the A-9 reports. I can explain this further if you wish, but it’s 1 in the morning, so that’s all I will say for now.

    Over the past year, we have added about 1.6 million full-time workers and 70,000 part-time workers.

  2. Thanks for your comments.
    To quote the BLS’s Employment Situation Summary (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm):
    …In April, the number of persons employed part time for economic
    reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers)
    increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million, largely offsetting a decrease in
    March. These individuals were working part time because their hours
    had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
    (See table A-8.)

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