Today the Department of Truth's NFP numbers came in a bit shy of the estimates on the various seasonal and birth death adjustments of 250,000. Wonder why the unemployment rate is at an artificially low 8.9%? Three simple words: Labor Force Participation. At 64.2%, it was unchanged from last month, and continues to be at a 25 year low. Should the LFP return to its 25 trendline average of 66.1%, the unemployment rate would be 11.6%. And indicatively, the Birth/Death adjustment was +112,000.
On the other hand, we have Gallup which actually does real time polling without a procyclical propaganda bias. And Gallup doesn't have any good news: "Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, hit 10.3% in February -- up from 9.8% at the end of January. The U.S. unemployment rate is now essentially the same as the 10.4% at the end of February 2010." And the one indicator that nobody in the mainstream media will touch with a ten foot pole: "Underemployment, a measure that combines part-time workers wanting full-time work with those who are unemployed, surged in February to 19.9%. This resulted from the combination of a sharp 0.5-point increase since the end of January in the percentage unemployed and a 0.5-point increase in the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work. Underemployment is now higher than it was at this point a year ago (19.7%)."
There is essentially no difference between the unemployment rate now and the one at this time a year ago; January's rate, in contrast, showed a 1.1-percentage-point year-over-year improvement. This suggests that the real U.S. jobs situation worsened in February. That is, jobs are relatively less available now than in January. January's year-over-year improvement of 1.0 points became -0.2 points in February. In turn, this suggests job market conditions in terms of underemployment also worsened during February.
This deterioration in the jobs situation combined with surging gas prices, budget battles at the federal and state level, and declines on Wall Street tend to explain the recent plunge Gallup recorded in consumer confidence. They also align with the continued "new normal" spending patterns of early 2011. Although Gallup's Job Creation Index has improved over the past year and showed modest improvement in February, the improvement has not been significant enough to positively affect underemployment and unemployment.
Warren Buffet said Wednesday on CNBC that the U.S. unemployment rate should be in the low 7% range by late 2012. If that is going to be the case, the job creation environment must change dramatically from what it is today.....