Freedomnomics

Article published Saturday, February 3, 2012 at Fox News.

The bad news behind the January jobs report

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Three years after Obama became president, even the official unemployment rate still remains high. The newly released 8.3 percent unemployment rate is still a half a percentage point higher than when he took office.

But that still might be looking at the bright side. If we include those who have given up looking for work and those who could only find part time work, the unemployment rate stands at almost an entire percentage point higher than when Obama entered office.

In January 2009, 11.6 million Americans were out of work and 23 percent of them had been unemployed for more than six months.

Today there are 12.8 million unemployed and 43 percent have been out of a job for more than six months. The average length of unemployment has increased dramatically since even the recovery started. Back in June 2009, “only” 29 percent of the unemployed had been unemployed longer than six months.

The number of unemployed Americans last month fell by 339,000, the fifth largest drop since January 2009. But there was an even much more shockingly large number -- almost 1.2 million additional Americans were classified in January as not being in the labor force (see figure here). Unfortunately, that has been the consistent story that has made this “recovery” unique as more and more Americans have just given up looking for work.

This last number not only means that the official unemployment number is misleading, but it will also likely determine where the unemployment rate ultimately goes. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office just last week released its projected unemployment rate for the next couple of years. They predicted that the unemployment rate will be at 8.9 percent during the last quarter of 2012 and rise to 9.2 percent for the last quarter of 2013.

The Congressional Budget Office was so concerned about these people leaving the labor force that they warned that the current unemployment rate that reporters so breathlessly await at the beginning of each month is quite misleading.

At the end of last year, the CBO cautioned that the official unemployment rate was about 1.25 percentage points lower than the real rate. In January, that gap was about 1.6 percentage points.

Let’s not forget the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work or been forced to take part time jobs.

John R. Lott Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. He is an economist and co-author of "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.".

Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Home

Johnlott.org (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

---------------------------------
List of my Op-eds
---------------------------------

Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article

Links

Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper