U.S. adds 145,000 jobs in December, unemployment flat at 3.5% : Economics


Interesting tidbits that don’t find their way into this summary:Seasonally adjusted Black labor force participation rate is within a hair of white labor force participation. This hasn’t ever happened before, or at least not since the BLS has data for black LFPR (starts in 1972). Moreover, this happened as part of a big jump in black LFP in December, going from 62.3 to 63.1 (a bit shy of 300,000 African Americans joining the labor force).This is accompanied by an increase in the black unemployment rate from 5.6% to 5.9%, but if you look at the numbers that’s ~90,000 people, much less than the number joining the workforce. On the population level it mostly looks like people starting to job hunt after being out of the labor force and just taking a while to find one.Overall, this is actually a pretty amazing situation. Being black in America has always been a pretty bad experience, on the whole. But now, for the first since the BLS has data, blacks are able to participate in the labor market at ever higher numbers with ever higher success. The current expansion pulling ever more marginal workers into the labor force is turning into an ascendance for black America. Provided the expansion continues, we may be looking at the best time to be a black worker in the US ever in its history.This shows up in the summary above but isn’t adequetely defined to correctly highlight the meaning: The gap between U-5 and U-6 shrank by a tenth of a percentage point. The definitions of the two:U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor forceandU-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor forceIn other words, fewer people today are stuck in a part time job when they’d prefer to be working full time. This can be seen in table A-8 where the total number of these people shrank by ~140,000.All in all, this expansion is starting to reach deeper and deeper down on the socio-economic scale and the benefits are starting to show up for people who often haven’t seen any benefits to economic expansion for decades. I can’t be anything but happy to see some of the least fortunate benefit like the rest of us.


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