Hunger Games: The Labor Edition

There is almost no question that the October employment numbers, when coupled with September, sets up a “Hunger Game,” where the under-employed are competing with the unemployed for available jobs.

The “under-employed,” those working part time because they cannot find anything else (U6), is at 5.9%. The U.S. official unemployment rate is now 5.8 percent.Last month U6 and the standard unemployment rate were the same at 5.9%. So this month, under-employment has increased.

But more than that, consider this: many of those working part time for economic reasons are working more than one part time job. This displaces people who have no job at all.

Also consider the labor force participation rate isn’t moving from its lowest level since 1978 (62.8%). So there doesn’t seem to be any incentive for people to come back into the workforce who had previously left after giving up any hope in finding a job. This may be good news for those trying to enter the U6 labor force.

And the sorry explanation that baby boomers retired as accounting for the lowest LFPR since 1978 doesn’t hold up to statistical evidence. A) not that many baby boomers retired, and B) over 12 million college students graduated last May, and is assumed to have entered the task of looking for a job. That doesn’t count the millions who graduated from high school that decided not to go to college.

Populations also increase. As this article points out, the working population has increased by 8 million people. And that’s only half of the overall population increase of 15 million since 2008. People have babies. And we can only assume that people want to be able to feed their babies. That brings the labor force population to 156 Million. How many jobs are there to feed those babies? Not enough:


5.8% (U3) of 156 million = 9.05 million people looking for a job.

5.9% (U6) of 156 million = 9.2 million people looking for a BETTER job.

That’s 18 Million people looking for what accounts for 3% of the labor force (4.7 Million jobs).

How will people compete? It’s yet to be seen. There should however, be no question at this point that there will be competition in the labor force in order to eat.


This entry was posted in Economics, Labor, Macroeconomics. Bookmark the permalink.

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