Sharp Drop in Underemployment

The most encouraging item in todays jobs report was the sharp drop in underemployment (which includes not only those who are unemployed but also marginally attached workers and those who are part time for economic reasons). The underemployment rate fell to 16.5%, down from its peak of 17.4% last October and from 17.3% in December:

The headline unemployment rate also declined; it now stands at 9.7%, down from its 10.1% peak in October and from 10.0% in December.

These declines are encouraging, but the labor market obviously has a long way to go. Just how far was reinforced by BLS’s updated figures on the number of payroll jobs. Total job losses now stand at 8.4 million since the recession began at the end of 2007.

4 thoughts on “Sharp Drop in Underemployment”

  1. Well, that’s the first bit of good news this country has had in a while. We’re not fixed yet, but it looks like we’re headed that way. The upcoming election was looking like a sweep to the Republicans, but if this trend continues, we may find that sweep becomes a slide, or maybe even just and edging. Guess we’ll find out.

  2. I’m curious as to your thoughts about a “double dip,” or I guess, a “double peak” in unemployment. There are a lot of “disheartened workers” sitting on the sidelines, having withdrawn themselves from the labor market after being unable to obtain employment. As soon as they hear that the economy is picking up, they may re-enter the workforce. This would mean we could be experiencing economic recovery and creating jobs while our unemployment rate would continue to rise.

    1. Hi Geoffrey —

      Yes, I certainly expect (and hope) that as the economy rebounds, workers will move back into the labor force. And, as you note, that should keep the UE rate elevated (maybe even increasing) even as the economy starts to create jobs.

      I think most of this would show up at the UE rate going sideways rather than up, but we will see.

  3. The Economic Fractal’s Second Modest Proposal: The IRDC US Political Party

    The IRDC Super Party: The Independent Republican Democrat Centrist Super Party

    The global monetary-banking-financial system that forms the basis for possibilities of reasonably fair and socially beneficial economic growth is …. simply … broken.

    The self designated defacto fixers of that broken system are in fact both the principal causal elements of the broken system and the members and beneficiaries of the current broken system.
    With the old system’s failed and bad rules enforced by its current principal beneficiaries, the broken system will never be fixed.

    There will only be more disproportional rewards for the owner of the broken system: the self acknowledged too big to fail financial industry.

    Kindly consider this. The rewards and benefits of the members of the financial cartel are in reality much greater than the often quoted nominal 2009 over 2007 gains. That 2009 purchasing power of the cartel’s members’ earnings is denominated in surviving dollars in an environment of a 20 percent reduction in US citizen net household wealth over the last 30 months and a 5-6 percent increase in unemployment that reduces the demand side cost of wages. Real estate can now be purchased for both 15 percent less and with lower interest rates.

    (The leveraged damage done to US citizens are relatively greater than other world citizens and their fiat currencies… any questions regarding a rising dollar relative to other fiat currencies?)

    Those 2009 dollars earned, but for congressional intervention and tax-payer re bankrolling, by a bankrupted financial industry, can now buy 20 percent more than in 2007 more and likely 30-40 percent more later in 2010.

    The Financial Industry members have made out like the bandits they are.

    Cicero two millennium later speaks: Res ipse loquitor….

    What would be a sine qua non metric target for a successful stable fair real economy? One possibility would be a working citizen benefited monetary financial system where, for example, graduates going into an engineering careers or teaching careers earn more than graduates going into the financial industry.

    With the owners of the monetary system firmly in control of congress, is there any possible hope for remedy?


    Perhaps it is time for the establishment of a coalition super party – the IRDC party.

    The IRDC party, the Independent Republican Democrat Centrist party (the C could also represent Constitutionalists) likely already includes the philosophical, if not the I want to be re-elected – majority of US congress people.

    The Centrist IRDC platform is simple. Create a fair economic system that values hard work and economic creation of useful real goods and services and conversely implements effective new rules which restricts private citizen or corporate wealth creation from manipulation of the monetary system.

    Politicians could run either as an IRDC candidate, an independent, a republican, or a democrat supporting the centrist principal platform of restoring real fairness and worth to the economic system. After successful election republicans, democrats and independents who ran on their respective republican, democrat, and independent tickets and who supported the IRDC platform could then join a majority IRDC caucus and be a member of a majority party entitled to chairmanship of key committees.

    Think about it. The IRDC Super Party – a great reckoning for Wall Street and the Wall Street run world.

    The establishment of a Super Party Constitutional and Centrist majority offers the chance to begin anew with new rules and underlying new principles to engender fairness and a rationale allocation of wealth for the 21st century. (A drop in the bucket of time but so good for the world’s grand children.)

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