Definitely not data

Kevin Drum last week summarized the most recent monthly jobs’ report:

The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 5.9 percent, due to a combination of more employment and more people dropping out of the labor force. However, the labor force participation rate stayed about the same as last month, so this jobs report isn’t primarily about people giving up on looking for work. It’s basically good news.

Last Friday, I went out for a couple of beers with my former team to celebrate the final project which I owed them being wrapped up.   I asked my boss if they had hired to replace me yet.  He said that the position is posted, and they are getting a good number of resumes.  They made an offer to a candidate for roughly my final salary and responsibility scope two weeks ago.  She laughed at them, as she should have. and countered with basically what I am making now with the additional stipulation that she can maintain a healthy work-life balance.  Nothing has come back from HR on the counter-offer.   My old manager has been saying that they can either find my skill set or they can find someone willing to take my previous salary, but not both.  So besides being told that I was being dramatically underpaid, this is tentative data that perhaps the labor market is finally starting to shift back as workers can afford to say either no or ask  if the offer is a joke.  Another year of 200K plus net new jobs a month, and the possibility of the labor share of national income could start increasing.

And since it has been a while, let’s make this an open jobs thread…..

79 replies
  1. 1
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    But…but I thought Obummer had ruined the economy and given all America back to the Negroes as reparations.

    Oh well, I’ve still got Benghazi and Ebola.

    /media

  2. 2

    I suspect the experience of someone with your replacement’s skill and education level is not representative of the average American worker.

  3. 3
    greennotGreen says:

    Considering the typos in your piece, there is an opening right now for an editor.

  4. 4
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    Richard, typo alert! “Definitely”.

  5. 5
    jonas says:

    This has been going on for a couple of years, actually, and what a lot of companies have simply decided to do when they find that competitive wages/salaries are going up is that they just eliminate the position and have everyone else in that office/division pick up the slack.

  6. 6
    w3ski says:

    I left a job to move and called the old employer to say Hi. Turned out he actually had to hire Two people to replace me. Best recommendation I ever got. Wish he had paid me twice what I earned, too.
    w3ski

  7. 7
    C.V. Danes says:

    So besides being told that I was being dramatically underpaid, this is tentative data that perhaps the labor market is finally starting to shift back as workers can afford to say either no or ask if the offer is a joke. Another year of 200K plus net new jobs a month, and the possibility of the labor share of national income could start increasing.

    Although the Republicans will just counter that this is why unemployment needs to be abolished, because if workers start getting the power back to demand higher wages, then they are obviously not starving hard enough.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    Via Steve Benen, noted economic analyst Rush Limbaugh informs us that these good job numbers are all lies:

    “[T]his today is just as illegitimate. This 5.9% number is even more illegitimate than the 7.9% number. There’s no way that this country has an economy producing jobs with an unemployment rate of 5.9%. It just isn’t happening…. [I]t isn’t real.”

    Refute that!

  9. 9
    rea says:

    A healthy work-life balance? That’s commie talk!

  10. 10
    HRA says:

    First of all they are hiring temporarily for the season during this part of the year. Last week I gave it up and retired from a university. When I started there in 1986, there were 67 employees. It dwindled down to 19 through the years. I began having to cover the work of 3 employees without a pay raise. Now they are restructuring all the departments by a plan submitted in the Spring of this year and was slated to be in place by July. The positions are posted for interviews from the general population although it is common knowledge they will be filled with present employees. I am so glad to be out of there.

  11. 11
    Belafon says:

    @HRA: For which season?

  12. 12
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    When I started there in 1986, there were 67 employees. It dwindled down to 19 through the years.

    @HRA: I went from 9 to 2 in four years. However, the two remaining (I’m one) have gotten massive raises every year since, and apparently the other guys weren’t doing that much as us two leftovers are still getting out after an 8 to 8.5 hour day.

  13. 13
    Someguy says:

    Deafunitly good noose.

  14. 14
    NCSteve says:

    After forty years of beating down wages with anti-union legislation and propaganda and outsourcing and appropriating the entire benefit of increasing productivity for themselves by simply firing workers and redistributing their workload just a bit faster than productivity technology can keep up with, the very idea that they might have to pay someone higher wages has become as inconceivable to our Galtian Overlords as the concepts of progressive taxation and deficit spending during economic downturns. They’ve developed an economic dogma that’s utterly divorced from empirical reality and mere necessity isn’t going to penetrate their bubble.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    So unemployment has reached 5.9% in less than 6 years under Obama and Ronald Reagan is still dead. Still won’t change the minds of any GOPers I know.

  16. 16
    David in NY says:

    Well, I’m retiring next week — so there’s another job opening, for a highly-qualified lawyer who can write, to do federal criminal appeals for poor people. Time for me to go, though.

  17. 17
    Tone In DC says:

    @dmsilev:

    “[T]his today is just as illegitimate. This 5.9% number is even more illegitimate than the 7.9% number. There’s no way that this country has an economy producing jobs with an unemployment rate of 5.9%. It just isn’t happening…. [I]t isn’t real.”

    I cannot spend more than a few seconds listening to Flushed Limburger. If I do, most likely (with apologies to Brian Bendis) I’ll heave up my own feet.

    In this reality, in our shared Orwellian nightmare, millions of people actually believe what that beached sperm whale tells them.

    Did someone mention a meteor?

  18. 18
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Refute that!

    @dmsilev: He got his economics degree from…oh wait, he doesn’t have one.

    Hey, actually, I’ll be the first to admit he has a point. It’s not the point he thinks he has, but he does have one. The government’s numbers on both inflation and employment are so hopelessly rigged in favor of results that make the government look good that they are worthless, if you actually want to know what’s going on with an economy. The bad news for Rush Dickhead is that the government has been doing this forever, at least since the rule of St. Ronald Maganus, and for probably far longer.

    It’s not a new thing.

    So yeah, he can refute, but he’s just as full of shit as everyone else talking about the same subject, because they’re all working off the same set of massively flawed data.

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    @HRA:

    First of all they are hiring temporarily for the season during this part of the year.

    Believe it or not, but economists do realize that there are seasonal fluctuations in employment, and they have detailed methods for working out how much of the change in employment is because of real job growth and how much is seasonal fluctuation. The headline number, like the 5.9% in this case, is always the seasonally adjusted rate.

  20. 20
    satby says:

    @NCSteve: This.
    I know I can go back to IT, but the dog-eat-dog environment, coupled with the constant lay-off cycles and endemic overwork has kept me away, even though I’m currently not at a “job” (interview this week though). I don’t see the point in the “better paid but still not what you’re worth” job if I drop dead from stress before I can even spend the money. Each of the last 3 accounts I was on had a fatality, usually a heart attack, in people too young to even retire (one was 45). That’s nuts.

  21. 21
    aimai says:

    Years ago I was offered a one year job up at Colby or some place like that. When I figured out what it would cost me to move there and work for just that one year, even though it would have looked nice on my resume, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I would have ended up essentially paying for the privilige of teaching those courses. When I declined the head of the department who was offering the job to me gave a huge sigh and said it was quite unusual for people to refuse this kind of job on those grounds but he wished that more people would (since it would force the University to pay people more).

  22. 22
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I was once a participant in a series of surveys about employment run by the Dept of Labor. Someone interviewed me FTF the first time, and then they phoned me at, I think, three month intervals.

    Because I was college prof., seasonal stuff made some questions hard to answer. Did I work in July? I didn’t get paid, so did I have a job? The interviewer had some means to categorize those answers.

  23. 23
    TXkid says:

    Man, if anyone knows of any positions in the Chicagoland area for spectroscopy, microscopy or nano tech, I would be grateful. I’m rather tired of sending out resumes that go into some server black hole.

  24. 24
    Mike E says:

    I’m getting more part time hours after a full time hiring spree that didn’t include me (sadly, they went to insiders) which speaks to the duct tape/baling wire approach…still no job with bennies for me since the end of Bush II. Feh.

  25. 25
    askew says:

    That is excellent news. I haven’t experience a job market like that since 2001 before Travelers/St Paul Cos merged. That merger really hurt the insurance job market and I ended up having to change careers because of it. Worked out in the end, but I do miss the days when the job market was more robust.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    FWIW, I’ve been seeing more and more “Help Wanted/We’re Taking Applications!” signs at the various big box stores around here, which is usually a good sign overall. I would like to change jobs myself, so it makes me feel a little more hopeful about my prospects.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @askew:

    2001 sucked ass here in California, too. I think I worked about 6 weeks total as a temp. Luckily, I had already applied for and been accepted to graduate school so I didn’t feel completely hopeless since I was able to start that in August 2001, but it was bad. I do not do well without a job.

  28. 28
    New Deal democrat says:

    To back up your non-data, here’s some actual data:

    Prof. Tim Duy: http://economistsview.typepad......uzzle.html
    – summary: this time it’s not different

    http://bonddad.blogspot.com/20.....ading.html
    – summary: this time it’s not different

    http://bonddad.blogspot.com/20.....ol-of.html
    – summary: this time it’s only a little different (involuntary part time workers), but it’s not different from how wages and unemployment behaved following the last severe recession in 1982.

    Bottom line: expect increased growth in nominal wages, and hope the price of gas cooperates (and as of now, the price of gas is being very cooperative).

    Hope that helps.

  29. 29
    David Hunt says:

    @dmsilev:

    Refute that!

    There’s a story I once heard about a famous philosopher (i can’t remember which) was presented with an argument that there is no such thing as reality and that everything is just an illusion. He said “I refute it, thus!” and kicked a rock. In that context I think it is necessary to come to the defense of Mr. Limbaugh against those people who say the man has no brain. I would be more than willing to refute that argument.

  30. 30
    Xantar says:

    We had a very long conversation with my uncle who runs a food truck business with two other partners. He has 50 employees (some are part time, so I don’t think he qualifies as a large business) and managing them all while also doing the upkeep on the trucks and making sure all the food deliveries happen in proper order while also taking care of the accounting has run him ragged. He’s just grown too fast and he needs to take on more employees. He definitely recognizes it, and he understands that he’s not putting out job postings because he wants to do a favor for people. He’s doing it because he needs workers for his business who will increase his profits.

    He’s an actual case of a small business owner who is creating real jobs. And the minimum wage doesn’t bother him. He’s hiring for well above minimum wage because he needs quality people.

    The only problem right now is he’s a micro-manager who has trouble letting go. When he hires someone, he’s going to spend a lot of time watching over them to make sure things are done just right and complaining to the rest of us that the new employee doesn’t do it as well as he does.

  31. 31
    elmo says:

    We have been trying to hire a decent proposal writer/manager at my firm for many, many months. We’ve hired three, none of whom could write worth a damn or think their way out of a wet paper bag, and none of whom lasted more than a few months. We’re in the greater DC area, so you would think the pickings would be sweet, but nothing doing.

    The hiring VP has a strong bias in favor of “top school” education. I, who will be advising the hiring VP, do not – I have a strong bias in favor of writing ability and brains. He wants a pretty resume; I want writing samples and a writing test.

    If we get the right candidate, I will win, because his approach is what has given us the last three fails.

    The email I use for this website is a spamtrap, so I never check it. If anyone is interested, email me at LMHAGAN (at) ATT (dot net).

    Fair warning: we are a tough company to work for. We pay well and provide good benefits, but there is no work life balance (ha!) and some of the higher ups, including me, can be a little, hmmmm… impatient and blunt.

  32. 32
    Barry says:

    @The Other Bob: “I suspect the experience of someone with your replacement’s skill and education level is not representative of the average American worker.”

    Irrelevant; the average American worker is not applying.

  33. 33
    divF says:

    Madame Dr. divF is in the process of hanging up her spurs. Despite the shortage of Primary Care Docs, made more acute by PPACA, she just can’t take the bureaucracy and paperwork of geriatrics (mostly Medicare / Medicaid), and did not go into medicine to be a clerk.

    Meanwhile, the gummint continues to fund my research, so I’m now a constant five years off from retiring (down from a constant ten years off).

  34. 34
    raven says:

    My organization is doing a salary survey project right now. I had a 20 minute interview and the guys said, “wow, you were really thorough in filling out the survey instrument”! Duh. Anyway the chances of this helping me are pretty remote. Our retirement is pegged to our two highest years and I doubt seriously if anything will happen with this in time for it to do me any good. Oh yea, I lost my goddamn wallet yesterday too!

  35. 35
    Barry says:

    @w3ski: ” Wish he had paid me twice what I earned, too.”

    I would say that he’s regretting not giving you a 10-20% raise, but probably not. He could probably justify two new hires more easily.

  36. 36
    Mike in NC says:

    I can state with confidence that within a 100 mile radius of where I live, nobody over the age of 50 can get hired unless they have a very rare skill set that’s in demand.

  37. 37
    Barry says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: “Hey, actually, I’ll be the first to admit he has a point. It’s not the point he thinks he has, but he does have one. The government’s numbers on both inflation and employment are so hopelessly rigged in favor of results that make the government look good that they are worthless, if you actually want to know what’s going on with an economy. ”

    In terms of inflation, you’re lying – see Krugman’s comments on the Billion Price Index (or Project?).

  38. 38

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    The government’s numbers on both inflation and employment are so hopelessly rigged in favor of results that make the government look good that they are worthless

    Proof, please. That is a pretty serious accusation.

  39. 39
    Barry says:

    @Xantar: “The only problem right now is he’s a micro-manager who has trouble letting go. When he hires someone, he’s going to spend a lot of time watching over them to make sure things are done just right and complaining to the rest of us that the new employee doesn’t do it as well as he does.”

    Then he’s a f—ing idiot. Among his current employees will be several who are good workers, have good people skills, and are clearly ripe to be put in charge of something. He has a choice of promoting them and giving them a raise, or losing them to somebody who will. Then he gets to hire 1-2 people to replace each of them, because some of the new hires will be duds.

  40. 40
    aimai says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Right: CONGRATULATION’s point makes no sense–how can the government’s numbers always be rigged “to make the government look better” when definitionally the numbers have looked horrible for years now, making the government look bad. Did they only just now, suddenly figure out how to cook the books?

  41. 41
    RSR says:

    labor market not good if you’re a teacher in Philadelphia:

    SRC cancels teachers’ contract

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    @elmo:

    The hiring VP has a strong bias in favor of “top school” education.

    The hiring VP’s name wouldn’t happen to be Rafael Cruz, would it? Came to the US from Cuba by way of Canada?

  43. 43
    Ruckus says:

    @Xantar:
    A lot of small business owners micro manage, when they start they are the business. Frequently it becomes their entire lives, When they grow they can’t seem to let go and allow people to do their jobs. It is a hard thing to do and requires a certain amount of faith that people will actually do OK at their jobs. Once you try it and can stand back and see things work it takes a ton of pressure off, but that’s a big cliff for some to jump off of.

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike in NC:
    If you drop your percentage 2-3 points I bet you could enlarge your distance by about 3000 miles.

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    perhaps the labor market is finally starting to shift back as workers

    This is merely an illusion. Although there may have been, and perhaps will be, brief periods when employees – blue-collar, white-collar, whatever-collar – gain some benefits they might not have had in the period prior, the game is rigged, and the employers Jaahb Creators always win. I haven’t worked out the ratio – five years of employer screwage to one year of wage-slaves getting a little back? Ten years to one? Fifteen? – but it’s a significant imbalance. Maybe not as bad as betting against the house – today. But it’ll be that way before my kids reach my age.

    Unless we nuke China back to the Stone Age. Which ain’t very likely. And, no, I’m not advocating it, just saying that’s what it might take.

    However, a good interim step would be to regulate the shit out of the banksters and their brethren and cistern.

  46. 46

    BTW, hate media is using both the ISIS and Ebola hysteria to fan anti-immigration flames.

  47. 47
    David Fud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Actually see U6 vs U3 for your answer. It is already known to be rigged in thr sense that the reported numbers don’t include the discouraged long term unemployed. Might not be the same point they were making in a more conspiratory tone, but they aren’t necessarily wrong. Nixon was the one who started the BS practice of reporting U3 I believe.

  48. 48
    Elmo says:

    @SFAW: LOL no.

  49. 49
    SFAW says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    You know, you could have just left blanks where “ISIS” and Ebola” were, and you could re-use that statement every week, because there’s always something for the shrieking children in the Rethug Partei to be victims over. (With apologies to shrieking children everywhere.)

  50. 50
    SFAW says:

    @Elmo:

    That’s good. I’d hate for you to have to work with a lying, hate-filled, insane motherfucker like that.

  51. 51
    Barry says:

    @SFAW: ” I haven’t worked out the ratio – five years of employer screwage to one year of wage-slaves getting a little back? Ten years to one? Fifteen? – but it’s a significant imbalance. Maybe not as bad as betting against the house – today. But it’ll be that way before my kids reach my age.”

    I’d say at least 5:1, and the the 1 is weak, while the 5 is really, really strong.

  52. 52
    JasonF says:

    Didn’t Mitt Romney promise he would get unemployment below 6% by the end of his first term? Looks like President Obama has done it two years ahead of schedule!

  53. 53
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jonas:

    This has been going on for a couple of years, actually, and what a lot of companies have simply decided to do when they find that competitive wages/salaries are going up is that they just eliminate the position and have everyone else in that office/division pick up the slack.

    Or like my workplace start a denialism cult and continue taking on more clients while having ever less employees (and less qualified ones, as they bring in people desperate just to have a job, and train them in-house, declare them qualified, and then cross their fingers as they let them loose on the world).

    Most job offers in the last several years have been utter jokes, especially for people with skilled and in-demand qualifications. Depression porn aficionado managers and job creators looking for a bargain out there.

  54. 54
    Trollhattan says:

    I’m sure Bill Krystal and Karl Rove will tell us, in stern authoritative tones, that this is the Bush Economy(tm) “Working for America!”

    Also, too, vote Jeb–“The Smart One!(tm)”

  55. 55
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @NCSteve:

    They’ve developed an economic dogma that’s utterly divorced from empirical reality and mere necessity isn’t going to penetrate their bubble.

    This.

  56. 56
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: And you still wouldn’t be able to compare apples to apples because of very real changes in labor force participation across decades since the Great Depression.

    Sure, the devil is in the details, just look at unemployment figures for young Black men, it’s Euro-style unemployment without the social safety net. Of course if Limbaugh brought that up it might raise the question of why that is. He’d rather wank about “culture” and “race realism”.

  57. 57
    Trollhattan says:

    Random jobs data point. Couple years ago my office had two engineer openings and received more than a hundred applications, and those were the ones that survived HR’s quals vetting. “So much for shaming our kids into STEM” sez I.

    This year the apps/opening are perhaps a quarter of that. Must be a good thing, right?

  58. 58
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @David Hunt: It was David Hume. Truly, a wise man.

  59. 59
    StringOnAStick says:

    My husband is a software developer, and he’s been seeing signs of an improvement for about a year now; things like people being willing to quit and go on to other companies instead of lying low and staying where it is safe, if a bit crazy (run by marketing debt, not by logic). Since he’s 56, there’s now way he’s going to do that, plus his benefits are too good to walk away from (it’s a European firm, with much better benefits than most US companies). Even better, he decided he needed to make an emergency trip to help care for his brother and semi-senile father on less than 24 hours notice; his boss had no problem with that and is extremely understanding, plus he knows my husband will work remotely every chance he gets.

    Not everyone is getting screwed by US business practices, though many/most are. It sure helps that my husband’s company has a more European work culture, and that’s the problem with being an employee in the US. I work at a top engineering school, and like all US higher ed, all the money is going into more and prettier buildings though mostly to ever increasing layers of middle-level management, while increasing class size and cutting the number of GTA’s plus increasing the number of students they are responsible for. Most US college students are probably not aware that most western European countries have free or nearly-free higher ed. When staring down a 5 and 6 figure college debt, that fact would sting a bit extra I’d suspect.

  60. 60
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Trollhattan: Only make your kids do STEM if they like it because only a lucky few will ever make a decent living off of it. There are too many people who are good at figurin’ good at computerin’ and who are willing to work for grad student poverty wages. And remember, you have to keep those credentials up.

    There have been periods of time where STEM people made big money and had a good life. You probably have to be from a certain group (cis white male), lucky cohort club (older boomer or silent gen), have gone to the right schools and basically be lucky enough to pick THIS concentration and not THAT.

    It’s grim out there right now. Tax law changes took away any incentive for US co’s to have Bell Labs and Xerox Park and those sorts of things, and Newt Gingrich and his merry band of gov’t breakers demolished most of the gov direct hire and grant funded sciency jobs.

    You can work for the Koreans; their gov’t is very, very interested in R&D, or was when I was coming up.

  61. 61
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    Most US college students are probably not aware that most western European countries have free or nearly-free higher ed. When staring down a 5 and 6 figure college debt, that fact would sting a bit extra I’d suspect.

    I was aware. I learned that taking a foreign language class. They kind of gatekeep with finals, if you fail you’re out for six months or a year. Despite that, seems like a better system to me. If you look at what state colleges are charging now, it’s criminal.

    Maybe John Oliver ought to do a segment. The thing about the English language world is that as far as I know Oxford and Harvard are private and structured very similarly, with each college having to make their own bank or die. However the continental universities are run by the state. England has a long history of educational institutions being captured by the elite (see: public schools). Since most Americans think it’s an affront on their dignity to learn to read any other language but 3rd grade English, ignorance rules. (I suspect Spanish-speaking Americans have a slightly different perspective.)

  62. 62
    Barry says:

    “@Another Holocene Human: “…and basically be lucky enough to pick THIS concentration and not THAT.”

    Or work at THIS company and not THAT one; or work with THIS technology and not THAT one.

  63. 63
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    They made an offer to a candidate for roughly my final salary and responsibility scope two weeks ago. She laughed at them, as she should have. and countered with basically what I am making now with the additional stipulation that she can maintain a healthy work-life balance. Nothing has come back from HR on the counter-offer

    That’s been my job search experience – lots of jobs, few qualified candidates and many HR’s that still want to believe the Recession is still on.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I hate those newspaper articles that feature some contractor saying they cannot find workers, and then it comes out they want master carpenters at minimum wage. Well, duh, of course you can’t find THOSE workers.

  65. 65
    Barry says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: “That’s been my job search experience – lots of jobs, few qualified candidates and many HR’s that still want to believe the Recession is still on.”

    I doubt the second, but will believe the third.

  66. 66
    Xantar says:

    @Barry:

    Well yes, and we have told him as much (minus the idiot part). But what are you going to do? It’s his business and there’s only so much we can do to push him to do the smart thing.

  67. 67
    geg6 says:

    Penn State Beaver now has an adult/transfer admissions counselor position and head basketball coach position open as of today. Current head basketball coach was also adult/transfer counselor. You don’t have to do both. The big perk is that you get to work closely with me. ;-)

    Marcess Williams, the current counselor/coach, is a great guy with whom I’ve worked for 9 years now. He has a great record as coach but we are only in the USCAA. So getting a Div II head coaching job is a wonderful thing for him. I’m happy for him, but I’m very sad my big teddy bear buddy is leaving for Clarion.

  68. 68
    andy says:

    We’re already there (as far as jobs go- about 4% unemployment) up here in Minnesota. We really came roaring back in the 2 years we kicked the shitbag republicans out of both houses of the Legislature, balancing the budget, giving the “job creators” a tiny tax hike, and paying back the schools. Now we have enough for a rainy day fund, to freeze tuition at state universities, start on rebuilding our infrastructure, and help make property taxes outstate a little less regressive.

    Turns out if you invest in your own state, you get back big dividends!

  69. 69
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @David Fud: that is not hiding data — U3 and U6 are asking related but not identical questions so of course it makes sense to have two different data series for slightly different questions. Most of the time, they correlate well as one would roughly expect, but they are different answers to different questions.

    now if the US govt stopped asking U-6 or redefined U-6 dramatically, then you would have a point, but the set is reasonably constant

  70. 70
    mike in dc says:

    Well, in 2000, the most recent employment high water mark, U3 dipped as low as 3.8 percent, and U6 to 8.8 percent. The lowest on record was around 1950-52, and it was 2.5 for one month and 2.93 for the year. Economists generally think it was below 2 percent at some point during Dubya Dubya Two. 5 percent or lower will generally exert an upward pressure on wages. We would need FDR/China like growth rates to get below 3 percent. I am optimistic that we will go below 5 before Obama leaves office, though.

  71. 71
    grumpy realist says:

    @TXkid: Are you on Linked In? I’m in Chicago and involved with a start-up dealing with nanotech which we’re going to see if we can get viable over the next six months. What’s your expertise?

    P.S. the email listed above for me won’t work–does yours?

  72. 72
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    My personal anecdotes are that nothing has changed if you’re the long term unemployed. Even in low unemployment Minnesota you’re shit out of luck.

  73. 73
    Sad_Dem says:

    @Another Holocene Human and David Hunt: I heard it was the good Sam Johnson who refuted Bishop Berkeley with a kick to a rock.

  74. 74
    Sad_Dem says:

    When my hardworking boss died of cancer (does stress contribute to cancer?) my benevolent overlords did not replace him. Now I’m doing most of his job and mine.

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    Jeffrey says:

    @Belafon:

    I would assume he was referring to Christmas. In about two weeks, if not already, stores will start gearing up for the month of madness between Thanksgiving and December 24th.

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    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Richard Mayhew: And most of the difference between U3 and U6 is that U6 includes part-time workers. Including discouraged workers is U4, and it’s supposedly only 6.4 percent. Not a huge difference. (I haven’t looked into how they measure discouraged workers, though.)

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    SFAW says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    That’s been my job search experience – lots of jobs, few qualified candidates and many HR’s that still want to believe the Recession is still on.

    @Barry:

    I doubt the second, but will believe the third.

    EVT was probably accurate, after a fashion. It all depends on how one defines “qualified.” In a rational world, the Hiring Manager and HR drone realize that if they get someone who has an 80-90 percent match on the skills and experience required to do the job, that’s pretty damn good, and if it costs 5 percent more than they’d like to pay, that’s still a good deal.

    In the current environment – or at least, the environment as it’s been for the last 10-plus years – where the Jaahb Creators hold most, if not all, of the power, “qualified” means “Candidate X can step into Former Employee A’s old position, and do exactly the things A did, and be as productive as that traitor was, within one week – two weeks at most.” That definition of “qualified” is irrational, but it explains why it generally takes most companies a long time to hire someone new.

    Fucking clowns.

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    Matt McIrvin says:

    @mike in dc: Probably the only reason U3 was that low even during the Fifties was that women were artificially excluded from most paying jobs. If you look at the labor force participation rate by gender, it’s been consistently declining for men ever since the 1950s; the rise up to the early 2000s was all women entering the workforce, though they never got to parity.

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