The monthly unemployment number this morning fell from 9% to 8.9% with 192,000 jobs added.
Rick Santelli of CNBC commented, “I can’t be as happy breaking the 9% as I would have been before last month with all the changes to these numbers. I’ve lost my GPS. I think the unemployment rate is a very disingenuous piece of information. No conspiracy, that’s just the way they do it.”
Economist Diane Swonk picked up on this point. Asked if she thought there’s something strange at play here, she said, “Well, they have a completely different data series than the 9.8% we saw in November. I”m really concerned…what is the labor force participation rate? It’s just not been moving.”
Others acknowledge that the labor force participation rate is as low as it has been in 25 years.
Gallup seems to concur. Yesterday they reported their assessment of unemployment at 10.3%. They said “the U.S. unemployment rate is now essentially the same as the 10.4% at the end of February 2010.”
Blogger Mark Noonan adds this: “But now with gas and food prices rising and all the effects of stimulus and money printing fading away, the impetus behind ‘not getting worse’ is dying down. Unless something happens to remarkably change the economic prospects, things will start to get worse pretty soon – and keep getting worse for a long time.”