Archives for January 2015

Unemployment Down but Fewer People Working?

On Friday January 9th the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Unemployment Data for December 2014. According to the BLS the Current Unemployment Rate (Seasonally adjusted) for December was 5.6% down from 5.8% in November.

Along the same lines we see the Unadjusted Unemployment rates fall from 5.5% to 5.4% at first that seems to make sense. But if we look at the Current Employment Data we will see a different picture. According to the BLS there were 141,256,000 people employed in December and 141,321,000 employed in November that is a net loss of 65,000 jobs… some of that can be explained by the typical employment peak which ends after Black-Friday. Because employment typically peaks in November the “Seasonally Adjusted” numbers adjust for that and so it is understandable that the Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate could fall while actual employment was falling… but how can unadjusted unemployment fall with fewer people actually working?