The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the March 2010 unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7% and that nonfarm payrolls increased 168K. Politicians and court economist lauded this as signs that “the economy appears to be moving towards escape velocity.” Of course, the less salient aspect of the announcement, which renders their views as inappropriate, we left out.
For example, notice the following:
- The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) in-creased by 414,000 over the month to 6.5 million. In March, 44.1 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.
- The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes re-ferred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased to 9.1 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
- Employment in federal government was up over the month, reflecting the hiring of 48,000 temporary workers for the decennial census.
The announcement figures are merely statistical noise. The employment situation continues to be dismal.