Saturday, May 3, 2014

5 Things the New “Low” Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Show Us Read more:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the current unemployment rate is lower than it has been in six years: 6.3%. While that’s good news, you may want to resist the urge to fully celebrate because the figure only tells part of the story. Here are some other critical numbers that help to paint a more complete picture:
1. 806,000 People Dropped Out of the Labor Force in April
It’s no secret why the job rate hit a low – nearly a million Americans gave up on looking for work altogether last month alone. In its official statistic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include people who aren’t looking for work as “unemployed,” meaning that millions of people who have been discouraged by repeated rejections and a poor economy are conveniently left out of the equation entirely.
After last month’s massive drop in job-seekers, that means 92 million Americans are out of the labor force in total. While that figure includes retired individuals, that still leaves far too many working-age adults who have given up hope on securing employment.
2. 344,000 New People Filed for Unemployment Benefits Last Week
It’s interesting that in the same month where the government is heralding record unemployment rates that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has also been increasingly high. For three consecutive weeks, the number of new applicants has risen, jumping from 320,000 to 344,000 just last week.
Though some economists have dismissed the job as a “seasonal shift,” the numbers could also indicate that people who were hoping to find work on their own for some time are finally realizing that they need government assistance to get by since their job prospects are not looking good. That’s not good news because…
3. 2 Million People Were Forced Off Unemployment Benefits
As of the beginning of March, 2 million still actively seeking for jobs were no longer able to receive unemployment benefits. Thanks to Congress opting not to renew long-term unemployment benefits this past December, people who were depending on this money to get by abruptly found themselves out of luck.
Looking forward, the prospect for helping these does not look all that good. While the Senate (including a handful of Republicans) has agreed to give more financial support to the long-term unemployed, the House’s Republican stronghold continues to dismiss the idea of re-extending these benefits. Considering the average person who loses his or her job goes a full 35 weeks before finding work again, the existing benefits do not even cover that gap.
4. 1/3 of Breast Cancer Survivors Remain Unemployed Years Later
Although this statistic pertains to a small subset of the U.S. population, it does demonstrate that Americans facing health crises have a difficult time reentering the workforce. According to a study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, one-third of women who were working prior to their diagnosis are still unemployed.
Those who underwent chemotherapy were especially likely to still find themselves jobless years later. Evidently, as “inspiring” as people consider breast cancer survivors, employers don’t view them as viable candidates. For the record, more than half of the unemployed women were interested in returning to a job, with most actively looking for employment.
5. 64% of Long-Term Unemployed Still No Better Off More Than a Year Later
The longer someone is unemployed, the worse his or her chances of ever landing a job become. Long-term unemployment figures paint a frightening picture of people who have seemingly been disregarded by hirers permanently.
Researchers looked at job-seekers who had been unemployed for at least six month, and then checked up on them again 15 months later. For most, the year had not been kind. 30% of these people were still unemployed and looking for work, while another 34% weren’t working or looking for work anymore. Of the 36% who were now considered “employed,” only about 1/3 were in full-time, stable positions.

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Ukraine worries pull US markets down

US stocks eased on Friday as concerns about more violence in Ukraine prompted profit-taking ahead of the weekend and offset optimism about the fastest job growth in more than two years.
Healthcare shares were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, including drugmaker Pfizer Inc. Its shares fell 1.3 per cent to $US30.75 after its sweetened bid for AstraZeneca was rejected.
Adding to market pressure, more than 40 people were killed in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on Friday in the worst violence in the Black Sea port since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in February.
"Geopolitical tension has come back into the market. You're going into a weekend and obviously events can unfold, so you've got profit-taking," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, in Newark, New Jersey.
All three major indexes posted gains for the week. The Dow was up 0.9 per cent, the S&P 500 was up 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq added 1.2 per cent.
Oil prices rose on the Ukraine violence, lifting shares of Exxon Mobil and other energy companies, which limited some of the S&P 500's decline.
Before the opening, data showed US job growth picked up at its fastest pace in more than two years in April, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter. The news was dampened by a sharp increase in people dropping out of the labour force, however.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 45.98 points or 0.28 per cent, to 16,512.89, the S&P 500 lost 2.54 points or 0.13 per cent, to 1,881.14 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.554 points or 0.09 per cent, to 4,123.897.
LinkedIn Corp shares dropped 8.4 per cent to $US147.73, a day after the social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below expectations, the latest company to disappoint on sales this reporting period. Expedia shares fell 3.7 per cent to $US71.15, also after results.
So far in this earnings season, 75 per cent of companies have beat earnings expectations, above the 63 per cent long-term average. But just 51.3 per cent have exceeded sales expectations, below the 61 per cent long-term average, continuing the recent trend, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Shares of Exxon, which reported results this week along with ConocoPhillips and Chevron, were up 0.6 per cent at $US102.01. Shares of ConocoPhillips gained 2 per cent to $US76.52 while the stock of Chevron, which posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, dipped 0.2 per cent to $US124.72.
The S&P 500 healthcare sector, down 0.8 per cent, was among the day's weakest sectors. Several multi-billion dollar deals and offers have been announced in the sector in recent weeks.
The Pfizer news "certainly has been a catalyst for profit-taking on big pharma," Krosby said.
Shares of Ares Management, the first US private equity firm to go public in about two years, closed at $US18.60 after pricing at $US19, well below the expected range of $US21-23, in a turbulent IPO market.

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  1. I read several articles picking apart the statistics after last week's unemployment numbers, including one in the New York Times. (But that was from one of their online columnists, not a "serious" business section printed-on-paper story from one of their top-line reporters.) More people, not just John Williams of ShadowStats, are glomming that the official figures are fcuking lies.

    More than 800,000 people in ONE MONTH dropped out of lookng for work?!? That's the population of a medium-sized city! It's 1/4 of 1% of the number of American citizens. That's almost three times as many people as the number of jobs supposedly created. How many of them are Baby Boomers who are legitimately retiring, and how many have just given up or been scrubbed from the ranks of people the government bothers to count?

    Individuals like you, QB, are the non-people. TPTB have decided that you are not included in the official figures, that you will not get any assistance. I worry for the future of you, and millions of other living, breathing Americans like you, because once you've ceased to count, the eliminationist pressure from the police state starts being applied...

  2. "But corporations are people, my friend! They're the only people that count"

    Indeed, and if they are large financial corporations, they have more rights than all the citizens combined.

    The official "figures" are not lies, they are just wholly fact-free content, mere observations, provided for entertainment value only. The public does not want the truth, they want the pretty lies, or else they might realize everything they are told is in fact a lie.

  3. As a pair of famous philosophers* once said: "Only my mama loves me and she might be lyin' too."

    *Cheech and Chong

  4. Thank you Bukko. I know that I am now dependent on family and government checks. I don't think creditors can force foreclosure on my home for medical bills, but barring some major issue, I will get to Medicare age December 1, 2020. In the meantime, I will have to hope Yvonne stays alive and I do too. A healthy diet and exercise seem my only option. I cannot imagine how many Eleanor Rigby's are out there feeling depressed as hope for a better life eludes them.

    The elite 1% don't care as they are now billionaires instead of millionaires. That makes it hard even for the middle class to stay above water. Fortunately, I have no rent or debt and I have money saved so I will get by barring a major illness.

    Don't cry for me Argentina. There are a lot of people who will die in the next 10-20 years for lack of food shelter and access to health care. It is an embarrassment for the US to be in such a lopsided income state. But as George Carlin always said "nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care."