Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Only 47% Of Working Age Americans Have Full Time Jobs

By Ilargi on The Automatic Earth.

VK, roving reporter for The Automatic Earth, has been playing with the numbers from the January 7 employment report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It seems valuable to look at unemployment from this, a different, angle. Some of it may even surprise you.
The total non institutional civilian labor force (Americans 16 years and older who are not in a institution -criminal, mental, or other types of facilities- or an active military duty) is reported as 238.889 million. Of these, we see:
  • Employed: 139.206 million people (58.3% of labor force)
  • Unemployed: 14.485 million people (6.1% of labor force)
Obviously, that can't be the total picture, we're only at 64.4%. This is why:
  • Part time employed for economic reasons: 8.931 million people. This concerns people who want a full-time job but can't get one.
  • Part time employed for non-economic reasons: 18.184 million people. Non-economic reasons include school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, but also childcare problems and family or personal obligations.
But the by far largest category "missing" from both the Employed and Unemployed statistics is the "Not In Labor Force": 85.2 Million people.
The BLS definition states: "Not in the labor force (NILF). A person who did not work last week, was not temporarily absent from a job, did not actively look for work in the previous 4 weeks, or looked but was unavailable for work during the reference week; in other words, a person who was neither employed nor unemployed." (Clearly, this does include lot of unemployed people).
To summarize: 108.616 million people in America are either unemployed, underemployed or "Not in the labor force". This represents 45.5% of working age Americans.
If you count the "Part time employed for non-economic reasons", you get 126.8 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, working part time or "Not in the labor force". That represents 53% of working age Americans.
So only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs. While the official unemployment rate is 9.4%. Something's missing somewhere.
A few more factoids on the topic:
  • Today, the long term unemployed make up 42% of total unemployed. That is to say, of course, those who are actually counted as unemployed instead of "Not in the labor force".
  • 43.2 million Americans receive foodstamps. That's 18.1% of all working age Americans. If they all have on average 1.5 dependents, which is probably a reasonable estimate, a full one third of the US population receives at least part of their food through this system.
Of course, these are not really stamps anymore, or any sort of paper, they’re now "food stamp debit cards". Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse dug up an ABC News article from April 2009, which deals with the fact that JPMorgan Chase is one of the main servicers of the "food stamp debit cards" (in 26 states). JPMorgan also services child support debit cards (in 15 states) and unemployment insurance cards (7 states).
Granted, some things may have changed somewhat since the article was written, but even just the very ideas that are the foundation of schemes like these are worth looking at. Because, naturally, JPMorgan does this to make a profit. Says ABC:
Take Indiana. JP Morgan gets 62 to 64 cents for each food stamp case handled monthly there. With 296,245 cases right now, that means the state is paying JP Morgan $183,672 a month on top of any other fees it collects. Indiana eliminated 100 full-time employees when it hired JP Morgan to make the program cost-neutral [..].
But the greatest statement the article makes, and the reason ABC looked into this in the first place, is that JPMorgan outsourced its call and service centers for the "food stamp debit cards" to India. If that isn't indicative of the level to which ethics and morals have sunk, I don't know what is. You could conceivably create a lot of jobs for Americans in these service centers, which would get them off food stamps! For starters.

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