Friday, July 2, 2010

June Employment Report: Where are the Graduating Students?

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. We have coined this term to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government, which involve unprecedented money printing. This is the official blog of the New York Investing meetup.

Every May and June millions of students graduate from high school and college and enter the U.S. labor force swelling the numbers. Yet in the just released employment report for June, the BLS claimed the labor force decreased by 652,000 last month. This followed a decrease of 286,000 in May. This of course is not possible unless the U.S. economy is in the midst of a depression.

So where did the all the recent graduates go? One place most of them didn't go was to a place of employment. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found only 40% of new college graduates had a job offer before leaving school in 2010. This compares to two-thirds in pre-recession 2007.  High school graduates not going to college probably didn't do much better. The BLS lists the unemployment rate for those between 16 and 19 as 25.7%.

According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 3.3 million students graduated high school and another 3.3 million received college degrees in 2010. While not all of these people would have entered the labor force, it can be assumed that at least a few million did in the last two months. Nevertheless, the BLS claims that there were almost a million less people in the U.S. labor force in June than there were in April. This huge drop in participants caused the reported unemployment rate to drop to 9.5% in June since people who leave the labor force aren't counted as unemployed. The Bureau explained these disappearing participants as people who gave up looking for jobs because none were available for them - not exactly an indication of a recovering job market.

BLS figures further show that there were 301,000 less employed Americans in June than there were in May (see The headline number reported a loss of only 125,000 jobs however. The BLS explained this away as a loss of 225,000 census jobs and claimed that the private sector added 83,000 jobs. If you use the 301,000 figure though, it looks like there was a loss of approximately 83,000 private sector jobs.

The insane contradictions in the BLS figures can partially be explained by 'seasonal adjustments'. This is one of the statistical tricks the bureau utilizes to try to make a sow's ear look like a silk purse. Seasonal adjustments make it possible for millions of graduating students to enter the labor force and the BLS to report that the labor force shrank while this was happening.

The employment numbers should be seen for what they are - absurd results created by gross manipulation. Many people however don't wish to believe this takes place despite all the evidence. Those are the people who really need to worry about the current state of the U.S. economy. If the labor force can decline by a million when millions or graduating students are entering it, this means it really lost maybe four or five million workers in a two-month period. That indicates that things are worse in the U.S. now than they were during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Disclosure: None

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer, New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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