By John Ruberry

1977 was the year that music came out of the concert halls and into the streets; when independent labels sprang out of the woodwork to feed new tastes; when rock music once again became about energy and fun; when the majors’ boardrooms lost control. Suddenly we could do anything. —Liner notes to Streets, a collection of punk singles, 1977.

That snippet comes from Greil Marcus’ “Anarchy in the UK” chapter in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Such as it was nearly forty years ago in Great Britain with punk rock as it is with Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Do you want proof? Just nine days ago the ultimate GOP insider, Karl Rove, hosted a meeting of Republican governors at the ultimate insider’s hotel, the Willard in Washington, where, the New York Times reported, George W. Bush’s Darth Vader, sitting at the end of a boardroom table, said it was not too late to stop Donald Trump.

Well if it isn’t too late now it will very likely be so by Tuesday night when the Super Tuesday results come in.

Republican politics has escaped the boardroom and it’s not just on the streets, it’s at the home computer keyboard, it’s in the employee cafeteria, and at the check-out line at the local Walmart.

Like the music industry “experts” in the late 1970s, the Republican Party has ignored what its bases really wants. And the base opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, ObamaCare, and crony capitalism. Despite promises of eliminating the first two, the Republican Party has at best only offered shadow boxing attacks on them. The last one, crony capitalism, is seemingly esoteric, but it’s a cousin of illegal immigration. I mean, why are we bringing in computer and software developers from Asia on H1-B visas? Are there no computer science programs in the United States? Of course there are. But the US Chamber of Commerce and its members, or as Mark Levin calls the group, the US Chamber of Crony Capitalism, is behind this importation of high-paid workers because it knows big corporations will pay these indentured foreigners a lot less than qualified Americans, who often have to train their cheaper replacements.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

And it’s not just American tech workers suffering. It’s happening at Disney World too.

And the US Chamber of Crony Capitalism is in bed with Republican Party. How many votes on Election Day come out of it? Maybe a few dozen.

While there are millions of Trump supporters.

And suddenly they can do anything because there is Anarchy in the USA.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.


For the first times since I lost my job an Stacy McCain lost his Twitter right we’ve had a setback in our quest for $61 to make a living back here at the blog. Yesterday DaTipJar was completely and utterly silent.

Today we’re doing a tad better we’re $12 toward our $61 daily goal with $49 dollars to go in the next 9 hours to get us back on track for the day without denting our current deficit for the year at 21 days and $1335 dollars.

If less than 1% of yesterday’s readers kicked in $10 our goal for the day would be made with ease and to those who already have thank you so much. For those who can’t afford it, don’t worry about it but I do ask you to promote the site.

To those both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.

Olimometer 2.52

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By Steve Eggleston

It’s been a few months since I’ve been writing, and the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Recession seemed an appropriate time to return to the ranks of the punditry. I jumped into the middle of a Twitter mini-discussion over the part-time portion of the workforce, specifically the apparent paradox of 319,000 more people working part-time for economic reasons on a seasonally adjusted basis last month than in October while 765,000 fewer people were working part-time for economic reasons on a seasonally-adjusted basis (746,000 fewer on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis) last month than in November 2014. Something Charles Franklin said sent me into this particular tangent of comparing the current level of part-time work to the recent past.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as part of the Current Population Survey that measures unemployment, estimates the number of people working part-time, both the total number and those working part-time for economic reasons. Indeed, the latter is the last part of the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment, the U-6 measure. Unlike most portrayals in the press, it is not a measure of part-time, or full-time jobs. Rather, it is the number of people who, at however many jobs they have, are working less than 35 hours per week for part-time status, or at least 35 hours per week for full-time status.

I do have a word of caution on the seasonal adjustment of the part-time measure of employment, especially the economic reason portion. More often than not, a wild swing in one direction is followed by an essentially-equal swing back. The November rise in the number of people working came after drops of 447,000 in September and 269,000 in October.

With that noted, I decided to calculate the percentage of the employed who were working part-time and the percentage who were working part-time due to economic conditions since the current version of the CPS began in 1994:


Part-time economic reasons
Click the images for the full-size versions

In short, while things have been improving, there is still quite a ways to go to get back to where we were before the Great Recession on the employment front.

By Steve Eggleston

Before I get to the bad news, I do have some good news, indeed the best news though it is almost 2,000 years old. Jesus Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Have a blessed Easter.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March jobs report, and it was a stinker. The non-farm payroll increased by only 126,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the fewest since December 2013. More telling, the number of employed increased by only 34,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis, with 96,000 people leaving the workforce.

The seasonally-adjusted labor force participation rate slipped by a rounded tenth of a percent to 62.7%, tied with Decmeber 2014, October 2014, February 1978 and December 1977 for the lowest since October’s 1977’s 62.4%, though each of those 4 months had a lower LFPR when rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. While the employment-population ratio remained at 59.3% for the third consecutive month, it was a weaker 59.3% as it slipped from 59.35% in January to 59.34% in February and to 59.31% in March.

Lest one believes that the Great Baby Boomer Retirement spree has started, ZeroHedge has the contraindicators, even if the more-shocking contraindicator is vastly understated. Those over 55 accounted for far more than the 34,000 increase in employment over the last month, with a gain of 329,000 jobs between February and March.

The understated portion is the comparison between the official start of the Great Recession in December 2007 and last month. I can’t duplicate his math, and the differing seasonal adjustments among the age groups make comparing different months of the year problematic, so I’ll use not-seasonally-adjusted numbers and compare March 2007 (the pre-recession March high) and March 2015.

In March 2007, there were 145,323,000 people employed, 119,838,000 of them between the ages of 16 and 54 and 25,485,000 of them aged 55 and older. In March 2015, there were 147,635,000 people employed, 114,375,000 between the ages of 16 and 54 and 33,260,000 of them aged 55 and older. While there were 7,775,000 more people aged 55 and older employed last month than 8 years ago, there were 5,463,000 fewer people between the ages of 16 and 54 employed last month than in March 2007.

If one thinks that is because there are fewer young people around, guess again. There were 816,000 more people between the ages of 16 and 54 in the civilian noninstitutional population last month than in March 2007. Yes it is true that the elderly comprise the vast majority of the population increase, with 18,231,000 more people aged 55 and older in the civilian noninstitutional population.

The employment-population ratio bears that out. In March 2007, that was 73.6% for those between 16 and 54 and 37.4% for those aged 55 and older. Last month, while it slipped to 69.9% for those between 16 and 54, it rose to 38.5% for those aged 55 and older.

By Steve Eggleston

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the November jobs report, and everybody focused on the seasonally-adjusted gain of 321,000 jobs, 314,000 in the private sector. I’ll join the club and start there. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, that is the best overall and private-sector 1-month gain since January 2012, when the economy added 360,000 jobs overall and 364,000 in the private sector. Further, it’s the best overall November since 2005 (a 337,000-job add) and the best private-sector November since 1994 (a 396,000-job add).

However, as I’ve learned with any government report, things are rarely as good as they seem. John Crudele of the New York Post took a look at the seasonal adjustments, and he came away rather disillusioned. On a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy added 497,000 jobs overall and 380,000 in the private sector. Though both numbers are the third-best November of the 21st Century, they actually were behind last November’s add of 523,000 jobs overall and 398,000 in the private sector, which was seasonally-adjusted to adds of, respectively, 274,000 and 272,000.

Crudele asked the Labor Department for an explanation, and their economists were perplexed. A partial explanation comes from Tom Blumer, who remembered that the October seasonal adjustments were as unkind as November’s are kind.

The growth in jobs didn’t exactly translate to either a change in the unemployment rate or in the number of employed. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate (5.8%), labor force participation rate (62.8%, still a multi-generational low) and employment-population ratio (59.2%) all remained unchanged when rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, with the number of employed increasing by 4,000, after last month’s equally-anomalous 683,000 add, and the number of unemployed increasing by 115,000.

Blumer also noted that, on the full-time front, we are still very short of where we were in November 2007. Even though, on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, there are 548,000 more people employed now than there were in November 2007, there are 2,405,000 fewer people working at least 35 hours per week now, with 396,000 more people working multiple part-time jobs presumably to reach full-time status. On the positive side, 2,566,000 more people were working full-time last month than in November 2013.

Autumn pipes
Next stop Atlantic Ocean?

By John Ruberry

President Obama may soon find out what how it feels to be un-upped by Canada in a hockey-style shootout.

Since his inauguration nearly six years ago, Obama has been dragging his feet in regards to approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed pipeline will bring much-needed petroleum from our friends in Alberta in Canada to the United States, which will lessen our need to import oil from hostile regimes such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. I can’t imagine America buying oil from the Islamic State, but more oil on the market means cheaper prices, which will of course harm ISIS and bolster our national security.

The northern segment of Keystone will pass through the Dakotas and Nebraska. There is a smattering of local opposition in the Cornhusker State and some legal obstacles, but let’s be clear: Obama, the man who bragged earlier this year that he doesn’t need Congress to make things happen because, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” would have found a way to break ground for Keystone XL by now if that’s what he wanted.

But Obama is of course more concerned about the needs of his wealthy environmentalist donors, who either believe that the era of fossil fuels is over or that the use of this Canadian oil will contribute to global warming. Obama, who once promised to heal the planet, is on the verge of being outmaneuvered.

TransCanada Corp., the mover behind Keystone, is strongly considering an-all Canada pipeline for the Alberta petroleum, Energy East, the terminus of which will be at St. John, New Brunswick on the Atlantic Ocean. The oil can be shipped from there to America or to western Europe, which will be welcomed with open spigots by countries fed up with buying petroleum from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.Canada

Bloomberg News is reporting that the supporters of Energy East are very confident that it will be built. A proposed western Canadian pipeline could still be constructed, although that route faces opposition from some Canadian First Nations people.

But if Keystone is built, it will mean up to 40,000, good paying–and are you reading this Obama?–union jobs. If the new pipeline from Alberta never crosses American soil, those jobs will taken by Canadians. Meanwhile, we have to go back to the sad Jimmy Carter years to find a time where the American labor participation rate has been lower than it is now.

I can imagine Obama looking north soon, as Jay Gatsby did from West Egg at the green light at the end of Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s pier, at those thousands of new jobs north of the border.

The last words are for the environmentalists: Despite your numerous protests and your arm-twisting of Obama, that oil is going to be pumped from the sands of Alberta whether you like it or not. Your Canadian War is over.

You lost.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By Steve Eggleston

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August jobs report, and the news was not good. The seasonally-adjusted 144,000 non-farm jobs added, with 134,000 in the private sector, broke the 8-month streak of at least 200,000 jobs added per month, and was unexpectedly worse than the expert consensus of 220,000-230,000 jobs added. The prior two months’ worth of jobs gains were revised down by a net 28,000.

Meanwhile, even though the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 6.1%, that was due almost exclusively to more people departing the workforce. Only 16,000 more people were employed on a seasonally-adjusted basis in August, while the labor force declined by 64,000. That drove the seasonally-adjusted labor force participation rate back down to its multi-generational low of 62.8%, a level that, prior to October 2013 (and again in December 2013, April 2014, May 2014 and June 2014), was last seen in March 1978. The seasonally-adjusted employment-population ratio remained stuck at 59.0% for the third consecutive month, a level not seen between February 1984 and August 2009.

As usual, the deeper one digs into the numbers, the worse the news gets. Once again, there is a disconnect between the estabilshment survey, from which the jobs numbers come and the household survey, from which the unemployment numbers come. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, while there were 354,000 non-farm jobs added since June per the establishment survey, there were 168,000 fewer people working in non-farm jobs in August than in June per the household survey. That continues a multi-year trend – while there were 2,512,000 non-farm jobs added on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis since August 2013, there were only 2,064,000 more people employed in non-farm jobs on a not-seasonally-adjusted.

Staying with the non-seasonally-adjusted numbers, the 63.0% labor-force participation rate is the weakest August since August 1977’s 62.7%. The 59.1% employment-population ratio is, other than August 1982’s 58.7%, the weakest August between August 1977’s 59.0% and August 2010’s 58.8%. In fact, a larger percentage of the population was employed in August 1969 (59.2%) than was employed last month.

One more item – had each 5-year age group participated in the labor force at the same percentage as that group did in August 2008 (with the youth participating even more to cover the fact that the employed portion of the 60-64, 65-69 and 75+ year old population is larger than the entire population of those age groups back in 2008), the unemployment rate would have been 8.8%, not 6.1%.

Revisions/extensions – Related to this, the Los Angeles Times has a story on the booming street vendor phenomenon that has grown well beyond its traditional recent immigrant base to include, among others, laid-off professionals. While the Times has a short memory and didn’t make the connection, those with a sense of history might note the similarities to the last “Great” economic downturn, the Great Depression.

CanadaBy John Ruberry

For over five years President Obama has been dithering in regards to building the Keystone XL pipeline, which if constructed, will bring petroleum from the oil sands in western Canada to America’s heartland.

Over in Iraq, Obama is utilizing token measures in an attempt to slow the terror group ISIS and to give some relief to the religious minorities being attacked by the Islamo-fascists.

For the time being, ISIS seems content in selling oil, earning $3 million per day. But the jiadists appear to crazed enough to destroy oil fields, which would–duh!–drive up the price of oil.

Which is why America needs to lessen its dependence on oil from the Middle East.

There is much at home Obama can do. Rather than bow to his environmentalist donors, the president can expedite the approval of drilling and fracking on federally-owned land and open up more of our continental shelf to oil exploration. Obama can also alter the tone of his administration, which is decidedly anti-fossil fuel.

We don’t know if the president took an economics course at Occidental or Columbia because he hasn’t released his college transcripts, but the macroeconomic equation is simple. More petroleum in the marketplace means cheaper oil.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

More drilling and fracking in American means more jobs. Building the Keystone XL pipeline also means more good-paying jobs.

The Obama recovery is dominated by low-paying, low-skilled, and part-time positions.

Obama has to ask himself if  he will be burdened by leftist ideology for the remaining two-and-a-half years of his presidency–or will he be a leader?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By Steve Eggleston

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the July jobs report, which says that on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy added 209,000 jobs with the unemployment rate ticking up 0.1 percentage point to 6.2%. That marks the 6th month in a row that there were at least 200,000 jobs added, the first time that has happened since 1997.

Regarding the unemployment tick-up, it is as much a factor of people looking for work again as it was people losing jobs. While 131,000 more people were working on a seasonally-adjusted basis in July than in June, and 209,000 people were added to the 16-and-older civilian noninstitutional population (not seasonally-adjusted), 191,000 more people were officially listed as unemployed.

The bad news – that 6-month surge appears to be as good as it gets. From American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis:

Overall, it was a bad report for the job metrics “dashboard” of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. As economist Robert Brusca points out, ” … we see that the unemployment rate has risen, the U-6 rate is up. The long-term unemployed share of total unemployment is up. Part-time workers are up, part-time workers looking for full-time work is a higher ratio. Marginally attached workers are greater in number. There are more discouraged workers.”

Then again, what can you really expect from an economy that has expanded by just 2.4% over the past four quarters, and a mere 2.2% over the five years of the expansion? Now there are signs wage growth could be ready to accelerate. And maybe the 4% GDP growth in the second-quarter means above-trend growth for the rest of the year. But as Barclays puts it, “Overall, we view this report as consistent with a return to more moderate job growth in Q3 14 after the Q2 14 surge.”

Indeed, this is the 63rd consecutive month, going back to May 2009, that the seasonally-unadjusted employment-population ratio (59.4% in July) has been below the same month in 1979. It also is, other than July 1982 and July 1983, the worst July between 1977 and 2010. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, at a seasonally-unadjusted 63.5%, is lower than every July since 1977.

On a related tangent, the first read of 2nd-quarter GDP, released on Wednesday, was that real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth grew at an annualized 4.0% rate, with a comprehensive revision of GDP data going back to 1999 knocking up 1st-quarter GDP change from -2.9% to -2.1%. That growth is not supported by the monthly releases of data of various components of GDP, though those montly releases are not comprehensive.

That revision contains a hidden admission – the first 4 years/16 quarters of recovery from the Great Recession, covering the 3rd quarter of 2009 through the 2nd quarter of 2013, was not only worse than any post-World War II recovery, but also worse than the recovery from the 4-year-long recession that started the Great Depression. Tom Blumer’s analysis shows that the both the peak-to-peak real GDP change of 4.1% (from the 4th quarter of 2007) and the trough-to-peak real GDP change of 8.7% (from the 2nd quarter of 2009) are the worst performances on record.

The last year didn’t help the comparisons much. While the 2.4% growth since the 2nd quarter of 2013 allowed the 5-year peak-to-peak real GDP to grow by 6.6% since the Great Recession, which does beat the post Great Depression’s 4-year peak-to-peak estimated 4.3% real GDP growth, it is still signifcantly worse than the worst post-WWII peak-to-peak recovery, 10.9% in the 14 quarters after the 1953-1954 recession. Notably, the 16-quarter mark following the 1953-1954 recession had a GDP level that was 6.9% better than the pre-recession high-water mark, and that was the low-water mark of the 1957-1958 recession.

The 5-year post-Great Recession trough-to-peak real GDP growth of 11.4% is still short of the previous 2nd-weakest 4-year trough-to-peak trough-to-16th-quarter recovery, 12.8% GDP growth following the 2001 recession, and well off the 15.3% 5-year growth following the 2001 recession.

Revisions/extensions – While the trough-to-peak recovery following the 1953-54 recession was +13.8% at the 14-quarter mark, the 1957-58 recession knocked the trough-to-16th-quarter growth to +9.7%, lower than the 5-year trough-to-peak recovery from the Great Recession and higher than the 4-year trough-to-peak recovery from the Great Recession. However, the trough-to-20th-quarter growth following the 1953-54 recession was 17.8%.

By Steve Eggleston

The political forces that gave us the 40-hour workweek have been working at its destruction for quite a while. The delayed employer health insurance mandate that is part of PlaceboCare was designed to force employers to cover those employees who work at least 30 hours per week. Just last month, the Democrat Party of Wisconsin, as part of what I called the French Resolution, called for a 35-hour workweek.

Earlier this week, they got an endorsement of sorts from Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecom magnate who, depending on the measurement, is the richest or second-richest private citizen in the world. The Financial Times reports that, at a business conference in Paraguay, Slim called for a 3-day workweek so that there would be more time to relax. The other two parts of his call, an 11-hour workday and a retirement age of 75, aren’t exactly a part of the Left’s playbook, but even with an 11-hour workday, that would mean only 33 hours would become the new standard for a “full” workweek.

Perhaps they’re just justifying the continued lack of full-time jobs since the Great Recession. In June 2007, there were 122,150,000 people working at least 35 hours per week on a seasonally-unadjusted basis. That number dropped slightly to 121,845,000 in June 2008, fell precipitously to 114,014,000 in June 2009, and continued dropping until it hit a modern rock bottom of 113,856,000 in June 2011. It has recovered some of that since, but the 119,472,000 full-time workers last month is still over 2.6 million fewer than there were in June 2007.

By contrast, the part-time workforce has increased dramatically in the Obama era. In 2007, there were 24,808,000 people working fewer than 35 hours per week. That number dropped by 4,000 in June 2008, but then it exploded to 26,026,000 in June 2009. It has only increased every June since, with a June record 27,631,000 people working fewer than 35 hours per week last month.

If it weren’t for people working multiple part-time jobs to, presumably, get to at least 35 hours worked per week, that “full-time” workforce drop would be even worse. After 5 of the previous 6 June measures of multiple jobholders whose jobs are all part-time bounced between 1,781,000 and 1,812,000 (with June 2009 well below that), and June 2013 seeing 1,808,000 multiple part-timers, that number spiked to 1,888,000 last month.

By Steve Eggleston

Because Independence Day fell on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the June employment and jobs report on Thursday. On the surface, much of the report seems strong, especially considering the jobs numbers for April and May were revised upward. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, there were 288,000 more non-farm jobs and 262,000 more private-sector non-farm jobs in June than in May, and the number of employed actually began to catch up to the 5 months of 200,000+ job growth with 407,000 more people employed in June. That dropped the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate to 6.1%, the lowest since August 2008.

On the good half of the non-seasonally-adjusted side of the numbers, the job gain was close enough to Tom Blumer’s targets for him to say that it might be the beginning of the long-awaited breakout, at least if certain other fundamentals changed. Compared to June 2013, the number of employed grew to a June record of 147,104,000, an increase of 2,263,000 and 1,000 more than the increase in the civilian non-institutional population. The number of non-farm jobs increased by 2,566,000 to 139,761,000, also a June record.

Scratch a bit deeper, though, and there’s still plenty to be concerned about. Even though the number of employed grew by more than the growth in population, on a seasonally-unadjusted basis, the labor force shrank by 92,000 over the past year to 156,997,000. The resulting 63.35% labor-force participation rate (LFRP) is the worst June since June 1976, after the first 4 months’ worth of LFRP came in as the worst since the respective months in 1978 and May’s LFRP came in as the worst since May 1979.

Similarly, the number not in the labor force but who want a job shrank by 458,000 over the past year to 6,694,000. Given the non-adjusted employment-population ratio of 59.4% is, other than the past 4 Junes, June 1982, and June 1983, the lowest June since June 1977, that is a sign people have simply given up on the economy.

In another flashing neon sign of that despair, if one were to adjust the 66.6% non-seasonally-adjusted LFRP from June 2008, the last month prior to the start of the traditionalists’ definition of the Great Recession, for the aging demographics and apply it to the population and number of employed in June 2014, the resulting seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate would have been 8.5%, not 6.1%. Of note, June 2008’s unemployment rate was 5.6%.

Expanding on one of Tom’s updates of his look to include jobs in the accomodations (i.e. hotels) sector, the number of jobs in temporary services and accomodation/food services (i.e. hotels, restaurants and bars) increased by 559,000 over the past year, which accounted for 21.8% of all job growth over the last year. At this point last year, what was derided during the Bush administration as McJobs accounted for only 11.1% of all jobs.

President Barack Obama took the time to gloat that the drop in the unemployment rate was the fastest since 1999. Not much of that can be attributed to any positive developments in the larger economy, whether he was refering to the drop from the 10.0% unemployment rate in October 2009 or the 9.9% unemployment rate in April 2010.

Since I want to be fair, I’ll assume Obama was talking about the drop from October 2009 because the comparisons to April 2010 are even more damning. If the seasonally-adjusted LFPR in June 2014 would have been the 65.0% it was in October 2009, the unemployment rate would have been almost unchanged from then at 9.2%. To put it another way, the economic positives are only responsible for 0.8 percentage points of the 3.9 percentage-point drop in the unemployment rate.

Of course, the aging population means there necessarily will be fewer people working due to retirements. Because I needed to “freeze” the various age groups’ LFPRs at October 2009 rather than either June 2009 or June 2010, I had to use broader data than what I usually use to estimate the effects of the aging population. Instead of having data from 5-year age groups between 25 and 74, I had to use data from 10-year age groups between 25 and 54, and the rather broad 55-and-over group (to go along with the seasoned and unseasoned 16-19 and 20-24 age groups). After gathering that data, to get what the unadjusted number of unemployed would be if the only thing that affected the LFPR was changing demographics, I calculated what the unseasoned LFPR would have needed to be in June 2014 to match that age group’s October 2009 seasonally-adjusted LFPR, calculated what the unadjusted labor force would be for each age group, summed them up to get a total calcuated labor force, and subtracted the unadjusted number of employed from the that total calculated labor force to get a calculated number of unemployed.

Taking both the very marginal improvement in the economy and changing demographics into account, but not the additional departures from the potential labor force, the June 2014 seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate would have been 7.1%. That implies that 2.1 percentage points of the unemployment rate drop would have happened no matter what. It also implies that a full 1.0 percentage point of the drop was due to people just giving up on work.

In sum, over 1/2 of the drop in unemployment since October 2010’s (post-)Great Recession high is because of the aging population, and over 1/2 of the economic-related drop was not because of any positive developments but because of the abandonment of the desire to work. What a shock, SHOCK that is in the wake of the elimination of work-search requirements for food stamps.