Jobs Report: Fuzzy Math?

Takeaway: Unemployment is likely in the 10.8-11.1% range, not 7.8%. The government needs to go back and check the math it's using.

Today’s jobs numbers don’t add up when we take a closer look at what’s been going on during the last four years under the Obama administration. The headline today was that unemployment rate was 7.8%, a suspiciously low number that any American would second guess. Stripping away the government’s window dressing, we believe that the number is somewhere in the range of 10.8-11.1% depending on the methodology used.

Jobs Report: Fuzzy Math?  - unemployment1

We continue to think the headline US unemployment rate is being artificially deflated through generationally-low labor force participation rates. Hedgeye Senior Analyst Darius Dale explains why the numbers that came out today don’t display the true state of America’s jobs and employment landscape:

If you adjust the headline figure for a 10yr average LFPR, the US unemployment rate for September would have been 10.8% in September; a decent improvement over the 11.3% rate in August, but still elevated nonetheless – particularly relative to the elevated 8.9% adjusted rate Obama inherited from President Bush. 

Interestingly, if you adjust the headline figure for the LFPR on Obama’s first day in office, the September unemployment rate would have been 11.1% – substantially elevated from the comparable 7.8% figure he inherited from Bush. What this suggests is that, over the last four years, President Obama has seen the US unemployment rate tick up 3.3% when accounting for all the disgruntled civilians who’ve completely given up looking for work since the president took over the leadership reigns of the US economy.”

Take a look at the two charts below for a visualization of the range in which we believe the unemployment rate truly lies.

Jobs Report: Fuzzy Math?  - unemploymentA

Jobs Report: Fuzzy Math?  - unemploymentB

While this is not the appropriate setting to debate whether or not this material erosion in the US labor market is A) a function of President Obama’s failed economic policies or B) a function of the failed Policies To Inflate out of Washington D.C. in general, we can be sure the dismal state of the US labor market should continue to give Mitt Romney the upper hand in any economic exchange. The next two presidential debates are October 16 and October 22; the former will be Romney’s best chance to capitalize on his momentum from Wednesday night’s big win, as it focuses on both domestic and foreign policy, rather than just the latter as the October 22 debate does.