The half-empty unemployment report

There’s a current of conservative caterwauling today that the Obama administration “cooked” the unemployment report that shows the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8 percent. The theory is that the figure helps the incumbent on the issue of the economy.

And it could, so long as the media doesn’t bother to actually read the tables and numbers in today’s report because there’s actually very little in there that is much for the nation to be proud.

Here are a few of those things:

* The good news was mostly for white people. But for blacks (13.4 percent) and

Hispanics (9.9 percent) there was no improvement in a bad jobs picture.

* The decline in the rate was mostly because of people who only recently lost their jobs, finding another one. But the picture for those who’ve been out of work longer than 27 weeks is bleak. Forty-point-one percent of all unemployed people — about 4.8 million people — are in this category and their unemployment rate didn’t budge.

* The number of people who had to work part-time jobs rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These people took the jobs because their hours have been cut back or they couldn’t find full-time work.

* There were job losses (16,000 of them) in manufacturing. In September, job losses occurred in computer and electronic products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

* Almost 10 percent of Iraq war veterans are unemployed.

* The average weekly wage in the transportation sector dropped from $839.64 in August to $833.34 in September.

If the Obama administration cooked the numbers in the unemployment report, it did a fairly bad job of it.

  • BJ

    They are also in alignment with the adjusted numbers from August.