On Friday, the BLS announced that unemployment in November had edged down to 10%, which was WAY better than analysts had been expecting. The report was, arguably, the first major green shoot on the unemployment front.
(Though ominously, it came even as other measures of economic activity showed signs of backsliding in November.)
But before you crack open the champagne about one month, you should get some perspective
Nathan A. Martin at Nathan’s Economic Edge has gone through all of the employment data, most of it out of the St. Louis Fed, and it paints a grim picture about how bad the employment situation really is. The scope of the problem — which has now become an obsession in Washington — truly remains enormous.
The Civilian Employment Population ratio is arguably the purest measure of unemployment there is. It's simply, the percentage of civilians that are working. And it's only going down.
Here's the same measure, but going back longer. We're at a level not seen since the 1980s, and the same level we were at in the 40s.
Durable goods workers, again, the raw number is where it was in 1942 (and the total population has doubled since then).
Finally, continuing unemployment claims has turned down BUT it's largely due to workers falling off the rolls.
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