Labor secretary on super-low participation rate: Eh, these things bounce around, you know

posted at 12:41 pm on May 2, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

As promised, the casual downplaying-the-downsides/overplaying-the-upsides reaction from Labor Secretary Tom Perez upon being queried, “The participation rate down by 0.4 percentage points, lowest it’s been since 1978 — I mean, c’mon, what is going on here?” Via the WFB:

Look at the participation rates over the last few months, and, they bounce up, they bounced down. What I saw about last month’s numbers is that the number of discouraged workers did not go up. And what we usually see this time of year is that seasonal workers are preparing to enter the workforce, and what we saw last month is that they may not have prepared to enter then. And so, I’m going to be watching this number carefully next month, as I do every month, but this is the household survey, and the participation rates have been bouncing up and down over the last six months, and we’ll certainly be monitoring that. But, you look at the payroll survey and you see 288,000 jobs and you see the adjustments from last month. You know, the economy is clearly moving in the right direction and we want to continue to pick up the pace and have more months where we’re seeing almost 300,000 jobs being created, which we almost saw last month.

“What I saw about last month’s numbers is that the number of discouraged workers did not go up.” Well, I guess we can go ahead and break out the bubbly, ya’ll, ’cause this economy is scootin’ right along!

Or not. Via Neil Irwin:

A dynamic that seemed — maybe, possibly — to be taking shape for 2014 was that of some of the millions of people who had given up on even looking for a job during the recession and the slow recovery were finally returning. That trend might have acted as a floor underneath the overall unemployment rate. People returning to the work force might not find a job immediately, joining the rolls of the unemployed, but it would be good news for the long-term prosperity of the American economy.

The details of the April job report, though, threw serious cold water on that proposition. The number of people in the labor force fell by a whopping 806,000, wiping out the February and March gains and a bit of January as well. …

And the number of people reporting they were unemployed fell by 733,000, which sounds good on its surface, but paired with the similar-sized decline in the labor force points to job seekers giving up looking rather than finding new employment.


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Beltway Bubble-Head.

Joe Mama on May 2, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Bounce around? The floor just fell out.

Tom Perez please pick up the red courtesy phone. It’s reality calling to remind you that 92 million people out of the labor force is a record breaking number. That would be the worst level on record.

Marcus Traianus on May 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

The number of people in the labor force fell by a whopping 806,000, wiping out the February and March gains and a bit of January as well. …

These individuals have been liberated from the slavery of job-lock, able to pursue the now-more-than-ever-crucial demand our society has for more poetry writers …

ShainS on May 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Yep, it’s amazing how bouncy those numbers get whenever Barky needs to cook the books.

tommyboy on May 2, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Job Lock…..
Mobility….

I expect a ton of new poetry this year….

Electrongod on May 2, 2014 at 12:54 PM

How many bounces can you get out of a dead cat?

HumpBot Salvation on May 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM

…bullshit bounces?

KOOLAID2 on May 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Tom Perez is in that position not because of any real skill, knowledge, or intelligence. He’s there because he’s simply another loyal Obama ideologue / sycophant who embraces and seeks to establish progressive fascism as this country’s system of government.

That’s why his efforts to spin the ‘new-normal’ are as lame, vapid, and mendacious as those of Jay Carney to spin Benghazi and the Rhodes email.

Athos on May 2, 2014 at 1:02 PM

We have known for decades that the labor force would shrink significantly as the baby boomers reached retirement age.
 
This is no surprise – it’s exactly what was expected.
 
everdiso on May 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

 
From the link:
 

Host David Faber put it to Perez directly, noting the labor participation rate drop is not due to people retiring given the participation rate for individuals 55 and older actually increased.”

 
How did I hear it put?
 
Oh, yeah
 

No matter how many times it blows up in your faces, you keep repeating the same idiocy.
 
everdiso on May 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

rogerb on May 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

rogerb on May 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Once a week, we should vote a troll off the island, then open up a 1hr registration for new ones. Need better quality idiots.

nobar on May 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM

In 20 years, liberals will be demanding an end to abortion, right after they realize you need people (alive) in order extract taxes from, in order to fund Utopia.

BobMbx on May 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Once a week, we should vote a troll off the island, then open up a 1hr registration for new ones. Need better quality idiots.

nobar on May 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM

I’ve not seen an idiot of this magnitude in quite some time.

bigmacdaddy on May 2, 2014 at 1:16 PM

“Dude, like, it goes up and down. Dude!

Ward Cleaver on May 2, 2014 at 1:18 PM

I had this argument with a liberal moron on another board.

1 year ago there were 7 studies on the dropping LFPR:

4 Federal reserve studies
1 from the CBO
1 from the liberal EPI
1 from the Heritage Foundation

All of them found that the declining LFPR was due to economic conditions and not retirees. The range was 50% to 90%.

The interesting thing was both the EPI and the Heritage Foundation came up with 75%

Chuck Schick on May 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM

You know, the economy is clearly moving in the right direction and we want to continue to pick up the pace and have more months where we’re seeing almost 300,000 jobs being created, which we almost saw last month.

Show of hands of anybody who thinks the economy is moving at all? We’re stuck in this perpetual theme where some administration toad gets up there and pretends a nudge up or nudge down is movement. But this critter really takes the cake with his claims that we’re looking at super awesome numbers. There was one month during the Reagan years where ONE MILLION jobs were created. And yet this troll is happy with a paltry 288K.

Happy Nomad on May 2, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Eh, these things bounce around, you know.

Are you sure he wasn’t thinking about some boobies at the moment? Because participation rate did no “bouncing” lately but steadily progressed in the direction of the floor.

Rix on May 2, 2014 at 1:26 PM

800,000 people in one month. That’s an army, in many places a nation. There was a scene in 5th Element where Gary Oldman quibbles with a minion over whether to fire 500,000 or 1 million people. To screenwriters in 1997 that was supposed to represent a dystopian economy centuries in the future, but we got there in under 20 years.

JeremiahJohnson on May 2, 2014 at 1:33 PM

So, Rix, you are saying that the LFPR is like quickly aging boobies?

giscwo on May 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

The participation rate has fallen because 800,000people are no longer job-locked.

agmartin on May 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

I don’t see much “bouncing” at all. I see 92+ Million people NOT working. And it keeps growing.

I see 95%+ of new job creation being part-time and temp jobs. I don’t see much “bouncing” around of this number either.

Meople on May 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

I don’t know if the BLS takes these into account, but the participation rate lows may in some part be a creation of the Boomers who are retiring in droves. The retirees are now those born between 46 and 51 with more to come every year. The combination of prolonged life expectancy and the Baby Boom from 46-62 will see a great increase in the %age of retirees among the population. If these numbers have not been accounted for in the participation rate that could account for the very low and disturbing participation rate.

xkaydet65 on May 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

we want to continue to pick up the pace

Huh? What freaking planet is this pompous a..hole living on?

GarandFan on May 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Look at the participation rates over the last few months, and, they bounce up, they bounced down.

They’ve dropped for the last five YEARS, and we’re still waiting for the dead cat to bounce.

Steve Z on May 2, 2014 at 2:16 PM

In 20 years, liberals will be demanding an end to abortion, right after they realize you need people (alive) in order extract taxes from, in order to fund Utopia.

BobMbx on May 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Ya know, all those 20+ million babies aborted between 1973 and 1995 would be young adults now, and most of them would be paying income and payroll taxes. Instead Social Security is Roe v. Wading in debt.

Steve Z on May 2, 2014 at 2:23 PM

xkaydet65 on May 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Here you go.

Host David Faber put it to Perez directly, noting the labor participation rate drop is not due to people retiring given the participation rate for individuals 55 and older actually increased.”

LastRonin on May 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM

NO MYSTERY

The goal of the Obama administration is to have every American resident, legal or illegal, on the government dole. Food stamps, disability, unemployment payments, Medicaid, student loans, obamaphones, social security, medicare, or whatever.

If you want HUGE government, the easiest way is to have everyone depending on government for food, shelter, and entertainment.

Who will pay? We’ll just print more money, or borrow it.

pilsener on May 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

We are paying this idiot to “watch the number every month”? Hell, I watch the number every month too. Where’s my check? And limo?

MTF on May 2, 2014 at 4:43 PM

92 million NOT working in this country tells us the administration needs to change gears and policies fast.

Amazingoly on May 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM

They’ve dropped for the last five YEARS, and we’re still waiting for the dead cat to bounce.

Steve Z on May 2, 2014 at 2:16 PM

They thought it bounced in November, after the 17% Shutdown ended. They thought it bounced in January, when December’s low was blamed on…wait for it…wait for it…harsh weather.

It seems more like it’s bouncing off outcroppings sticking out from the cliff than the canyon floor.

Steve Eggleston on May 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

I don’t know if the BLS takes these into account, but the participation rate lows may in some part be a creation of the Boomers who are retiring in droves. The retirees are now those born between 46 and 51 with more to come every year. The combination of prolonged life expectancy and the Baby Boom from 46-62 will see a great increase in the %age of retirees among the population. If these numbers have not been accounted for in the participation rate that could account for the very low and disturbing participation rate.

xkaydet65 on May 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Pay attention – that was already discussed upthread…

I had this argument with a liberal moron on another board.

1 year ago there were 7 studies on the dropping LFPR:

4 Federal reserve studies
1 from the CBO
1 from the liberal EPI
1 from the Heritage Foundation

All of them found that the declining LFPR was due to economic conditions and not retirees. The range was 50% to 90%.

The interesting thing was both the EPI and the Heritage Foundation came up with 75%

Chuck Schick on May 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM

A couple of times last year, I did my own analysis here on HA, and my conclusions were in the same ballpark.

Steve Eggleston on May 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM