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Why can't Obama bring the corn to the pigs like Clinton could? Putting the Repub case in clear simple terms: "their argument goes like this: we screwed up the economy, Obama hasn't fixed it fast enough, so you should put us back in charge".

On the employer side, the current numbers say that over the past year the economy added 150,000 jobs a month, and revisions will probably push that number up significantly. But isn’t that just because people have given up looking for work, and hence no longer count as unemployed? Actually, no. Remember those aging baby boomers: the fraction of American adults who are in their prime working years is falling fast. Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011.

Leading the charge of what were quickly dubbed the “B.L.S. truthers” was none other than Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric, who posted an assertion on Twitter that the books had been cooked to help President Obama’s re-election campaign. His claim was quickly picked up by right-wing pundits and media personalities.

It was nonsense, of course. Job numbers are prepared by professional civil servants, at an agency that currently has no political appointees. It is, quite simply, frightening to think that a movement this deranged wields so much political power.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/krugman-truth-abou...
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But isn’t that just because people have given up looking for work, and hence no longer count as unemployed? Actually, no. Remember those aging baby boomers: the fraction of American adults who are in their prime working years is falling fast. Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011.

And yet we read from the BLS:

http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

DB2
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Well Bob, the trend you are reporting has been going on for thirty yaears now, and trickle down Reaganism has done squat to change the trend.

We just keep bouncing from administration to administtration believing the buffalo is coming back. Meantime a larger and larger segment of the American population gets trashed.

Hey, I got an idea lets do more Reaganism.
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Well Bob, the trend you are reporting has been going on for thirty yaears now...

Are you saying that the number of people who are underemployed (working part time because they can't find a regular job) has been going up for 30 years? Got any data?

Krugman seemed to be saying that things would look better if the boomers weren't starting to retire. Since the oldest of them is only 66, that would seem to be a marginal effect at best.

At any rate, if older workers are dropping out of the workforce then shouldn't that create more opportunities for younger workers?

One in Three Young U.S. Workers Are Underemployed
http://www.gallup.com/poll/154553/One-Three-Young-Underemplo...
32% of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed in April, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment. This is up from 30.1% in March and is slightly higher than the 30.7% of a year ago.

DB2
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db2: "At any rate, if older workers are dropping out of the workforce then shouldn't that create more opportunities for younger workers?"

I recently read somewhere that the answer to your question, according to most economists, is no. It's described as a variant of this fallacy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lump_of_labour_fallacy

Apparently you can increase the number of total available jobs by keeping older workers productive because that grows the economy and you can decrease the number of available jobs by retiring too many older workers too soon because that shrinks the economy.

It's apparently not a zero sum game.
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At any rate, if older workers are dropping out of the workforce then shouldn't that create more opportunities for younger workers?
---
I recently read somewhere that the answer to your question, according to most economists, is no. It's described as a variant of this fallacy...


I'll have to think about that one for a while.

But back to Krugman. He writes:
"But remember those aging baby boomers: the fraction of American adults who are in their prime working years is falling fast. Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011."

The Gallup data indicate that the youth underemployment rate was 31% in September. In September 2011 it was 29% and in April 2011 it was 31%.
www.gallup.com/poll/157499/payroll-population-rates-higher-a...
www.gallup.com/poll/154553/One-Three-Young-Underemployed.asp...
Few would call that a 'substantial improvement in the employment picture'.

DB2
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Remember those aging baby boomers: the fraction of American adults who are in their prime working years is falling fast.

Or not so fast. The boomers retiring were born in 1946 and 1947.

Births
1946 3.4 million
1947 3.8
Total 7.2

And for comparison, those entering

1993 4.0
1994 4.0
Total 8.0

http://www.bbhq.com/bomrstat.htm

DB2
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heh heh..

so that is why half of all new college grads can't find a job in their field?

Face, it..Obama doesn't understand business, is out to redistribute wealth, kill the small businessman (they don't donate to him), kill non-union jobs (unions donate megabucks - especially when you can force folks to join them)......

Obama's policies have failed. Face it.

He just can't lead.

The only thing he is good for is 'running' for office, not being in it.

In IL, he voted 'present' (an empty chair, basically)...

In the Senate, he was gone half the time, campaigning for his next job.

Now, he's doing the same. Letting the ambassador be killed. Hasn't met with this job council in six months, but time for vacations, 140 fund raisers, travel all over the country, appearances on multiple TV shows, interviewing DJs, etc.....

He's just so incompetent as the leader of the USA>



t.
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The OP is right...the lagging Labor Force Participation Rate is not all due to the economy. As Baby Boomers have been retiring, that brings down the percentage of Americans in the labor force. The number has been falling since about the year 2000, as the first Baby Boomers started to hit their 60's. The link below is a report from the Chicago Fed that shows that the LFPR will continue to fall through 2020 *no matter what* happens in the economy. So no president can be expected to move this number upward, and while it's true that SOME of the decline is certainly due to discouraged workers, primarily it is an unavoidable long term demographic trend.

http://chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/chicago_fe...

Involuntary part-time workers did rise, like you say:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-H1oeXA9wuXg/UG7vJ4lA00I/AAAAAAAASU...

But this doesn't mean the picture has gotten worse. Overall, full time employment did grow, while it was part time employment that fell.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm

Which is to say that the "all the new jobs are part time jobs" talking point you've heard batted around in the WSJ and elsewhere since the Sept jobs report is simply not true.
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Face, it..Obama doesn't understand business, is out to redistribute wealth, kill the small businessman (they don't donate to him)

This one did. His policies helped me and my business a lot, and continue to do so.
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telegraph's alternate reality:
Face, it..Obama doesn't understand business, is out to redistribute wealth, kill the small businessman (they don't donate to him)

This one did. His policies helped me and my business a lot, and continue to do so.

This one did too.
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The OP is right...the lagging Labor Force Participation Rate is not all due to the economy. As Baby Boomers have been retiring, that brings down the percentage of Americans in the labor force.

I know the labor participation rate peaked in the late '90s and has been going down since. However, what I don't follow is Krugman's conclusion that "Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011."

If a third of the young are underemployed or unemployed, how does Mr. K get to 'a substantial improvement'?

DB2
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If a third of the young are underemployed or unemployed, how does Mr. K get to 'a substantial improvement'?

"Improvement" =\= "good".

It would depend on what numbers he is comparing to. We appear to have substantial improvement from the 2008-2009 time frame. The article specifies summer 2011. If he says we've improved since then, I can believe it. If he says it's all a bed of daffodils (roses have thorns!), I wouldn't buy that. 7.8% is still too high. But it beats the heck out of 10%.

1poorguy
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The article specifies summer 2011. If he says we've improved since then, I can believe it.

Ipg, don't be quite so ready to go along. The Gallup data indicate that the youth underemployment was 31% last month. A year ago it was 29% and in April 2011 they found it was 31%.

No improvement is this critical segment of the population.

DB2
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If a third of the young are underemployed or unemployed, how does Mr. K get to 'a substantial improvement'?

Because the factor you are pointing to is only one of many that go into the full picture.

UNDERemployment, quite obviously improved from last year:
http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/USUDMAER:IND

Unemployment rate, almost a full point down:
http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&...

Median duration of unemployment, up in the last few months, but substantially down from a year ago
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.png?g=bBH

Participation rate up among 16-19 year olds
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

I'm not partying, and I don't think things are great, but it's pretty clear that things are better now than they were 1 year ago, and a ton better than they were three years ago.
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No improvement is this critical segment of the population.

That's not what the latest BLS data shows.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t10.htm
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Quoted: But isn’t that just because people have given up looking for work, and hence no longer count as unemployed? Actually, no.

Actually, yes.

[T]he fine people at the BLS do their best to collect the data is accurately as possible and make it available as quickly as possible. The formulas by which they interpret the data are well-known. To suggest otherwise demonstrates a lack of understanding of the process and essentially defames the people involved. If you don’t like what the data says, don’t shoot the messenger.

This is not a recent problem. In 2003-04 Democrats were constantly deriding the positive statistics coming out of the BLS. Dr. Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s ex-chief economic advisor, accused the government of “cooking the books” on the unemployment number in a New York Times article in late 2003 entitled “The Index of Missing Economic Indicators; The Unemployment Myth.”

Now, with that out of the way, it is totally fair game to question the basis for the interpretation of the data. The way the government derives the unemployment numbers has changed significantly over the last 30 years. No surprise, then, that whatever administration is involved, the new equations for determining unemployment result in a lower unemployment rate than they would have if the 1980s methodology were still in place.

You are not counted as unemployed if you have not looked for a job for the last four weeks, by the current BLS methodology. That policy is very clear, and to my knowledge the policy was the same during the Bush administration.

I find that methodology rather bizarre. There are many people who have not looked for a job in the last four weeks but, if you asked, I bet just about every one of them would consider themselves unemployed. They would take a job if they could find one. That, to me, should be the definition of unemployed. And if you use the raw data, you can come up with that number on your own. Or you can create whatever definition of unemployment you want. [...]

Now we can come to the question of how we can have a drop in unemployment that is consistent with a very slowly growing economy. Bill King noted that employment taxes actually fell in September, then asked, how can 873,000 jobs have been generated, according to the Household Survey?


Hmmm....

More at John Mauldin's newsletter

http://www.mauldineconomics.com/images/uploads/pdf/mwo100812...
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Once you take the effects of an aging population into account, the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011.

Persons who currently want a job:

Sept 2011 5.9 million
Sept 2012 6.4 million an increase of 8.5%

www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Not a 'substantial improvement'.

DB2
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Persons who currently want a job:

Sept 2011 5.9 million
Sept 2012 6.4 million an increase of 8.5%


So then what you're saying is "I can pick through a BLS report and find at least one number that looks worse now than it did, therefore the economy is worse."

Sorry, I thought we were talking about the economy here.
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Persons who currently want a job:
Sept 2011 5.9 million
Sept 2012 6.4 million an increase of 8.5%
---
So then what you're saying is "I can pick through a BLS report and find at least one number that looks worse now than it did, therefore the economy is worse."
Sorry, I thought we were talking about the economy here.


And we are. Mr K claimed that if one backed out the effect of baby boomers aging out of the job market then "the numbers show a substantial improvement in the employment picture since the summer of 2011."

Now, one could do a Clinton-type dance around the meaning of 'substantial improvement' but if there are a half-million more people now than a year ago who want a job and if Gallup surveys show no improvement in the 30% of youth (not boomers) who are underemployed then to say there has been a 'substantial improvement' is to substantially spin things.

It is true that the total number of people aged 25-54 (not likely to be aging out or retiring early) working has increased from a year ago, 93 to 94 million. While that 1% or so growth is an improvement, I would not say it's a substantial one.

DB2
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Now, one could do a Clinton-type dance around the meaning of 'substantial improvement'

Clearly!

It is true that the total number of people aged 25-54 (not likely to be aging out or retiring early) working has increased from a year ago, 93 to 94 million. While that 1% or so growth is an improvement, I would not say it's a substantial one.

Ok. But I would guess most economists, and most other people, think a drop of 1.2 points in the unemployment rate is substantial. Unemployment is down, underemployment is down, discouraged workers are down, part time workers declined while full time workers rose, those marginally attached to the workforce has stayed flat.

What you are looking at (and what I hope is not the ONLY thing you're willing to look at) is a tricky number - how many people want a job. That's all. There's a lot of reasons to not want a job. People with babies decide that its better to have a parent at home for a while. People give up job hunting and decide to go to college instead. Later, those people decide they want jobs again. What this number tells you is NOT that the job market has gotten harder for any certain segment over the last year. It tells you ONLY that there are more people job hunting now. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it would be extremely odd to see that number NOT go up in an economy recovering from a period of high unemployment, wouldn't it?
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