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What Do These Jobs Numbers Really Tell Us Anyway?

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November’s jobs numbers came out Friday weaker than expected.

Trump’s twitter feed was strangely silent on the jobs report. Generally, he likes to tout unemployment as an accomplishment, even though he poo-pooed the same numbers when he was campaigning against Obama.

As Peter Schiff pointed out in his most recent podcast, the official numbers significantly understate unemployment.

Economists expected the US economy to create about 190,000 jobs last month. The number came in at 155,000. The Labor Department also revised the October number down from 250,000 to 237,000. Unemployment held steady at 3.7%. Average hourly earnings came in slightly weaker than expected at 0.2%. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.9%.

The market initially rallied on the wage news, assuming that slower wage growth would indicate less inflation and take some the pressure to slow rate hikes off the Fed. But as Peter noted, the rally was short-lived. The stock markets quickly rolled over and got clobbered “because this is a bear market and this is a negative sign.”

Peter said he thinks an even bigger negative sign was the increase in the U6 unemployment number, which climbed from 7.4 to 7.6%. This is a pretty significant jump in a single month.

The U6 number includes people who are working part-time but want to work full-time, along with discouraged workers who have been unemployed less than a year. As Peter noted, this should be the actual unemployment number, “but in order to pretend that it’s lower, we use a different rate.”

If you’re looking for a full-time job and you don’t have one and you want one – you’ve got some crappy part-time job – you’re unemployed.”

Peter made an interesting point that is lost on most people who talk incessantly about today’s “historically low” unemployment.

When Donald Trump now wants to say we have the lowest unemployment rate since 1968 — no we don’t because we’re comparing apples to oranges. Back then, they used an unemployment rate that counted all the discouraged workers, all the people who were working part-time who are looking for full-time jobs. Except Donald Trump knows this. How do we know he knows this? Because when he was a candidate for president, he pointed it out. He said that the official unemployment rate was a lie, it was a scam, it was a joke, it was fraud, it was a con, except now it’s his con, his joke, his fraud, his lie, because he is repeating the same lie that the Obama administration was touting which helped him get elected because he was telling the truth. People knew that the real economy was in much worse shape than these phony numbers. So, now he’s hiding behind these same phony numbers.”

When you boil it all down, the unemployment headlines in the mainstream media don’t really tell us all that much about what’s going on in the jobs market. You have to dig much deeper into the number. The mainstream keeps using unemployment to tell us everything is great. But if you look at the internals, it’s not all the great. And it really hasn’t been great for years.

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