Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review of Last Week's Labor Market Commentary


From my posts over the past year, you all now know that I spend 3-4 days prior to the first Friday of each month pouring over statistics in preparation for the release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment rate and payroll employment growth.

The monthly report also contains information on the length and type of unemployment. For example, in December, 44% of the unemployed have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. We have almost 9 million Americans that are working part-time, but want a full-time job. Counting them as unemployed raises the jobless rate from 9.4% to 16.7%. Many call this the "real" unemployment rate.

My commentary on the labor market started with an early Wednesday morning interview on NPR's "The Takeaway". Ryan Wineland, a Block Buster Video manager and I reacted to a new study that found that 84% of those surveyed said they planned on switching jobs this year, up from 60% last year.

Thursday (Jan. 6th) was a first. I did a short commentary for the Nightly Business Report. The piece expressed my concerns about a new surge in income inequality in 2011 and beyond. The commentary presents a broad framework for us to consider. (

On Friday, I spent the morning and early afternoon at CNN. University of Maryland economist Peter Morici and I commented on the falling of the December unemployment rate form 9.8 to 9.4% for Your $$$$. (

I also served as a resource for Mary Snow's Situation Room piece "On the Front Lines of a Job Search." She highlighted the job search experiences of not only the unemployed, but also the 9 million Americans that want to work full-time, but only have part-time hours.

My last bit of input was to help CNN staff writer Aaron Smith shine a greater light on the disparate impacts that the recession and now the weak jobs recovery are having across age, race and gender.

If there is a common thread to my commentary, it is to remind us of the recovery's various contours of experience.