Friday, April 5, 2013

½ Million More Americans Disappear from Work Force

U.S. employers hired at the slowest pace in nearly a year, with steep job cuts in the retail and government sectors, including 12,000 at the U.S. Postal Service.

The labor-force participation rate --- the percentage of people eligible to be working and/or are still looking for work --- fell to 63.3 percent, the lowest level since 1979 (when the middle-class in America was at its peak).

But even still, the reported unemployment rate recently fell from 7.7% to 7.6% --- that's because, the government said 496,000 people "left the labor force completely".

That's like Bill O'Reilly on Fox News saying millions of Americans left their jobs to go on Social Security disability.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost another ½ million more Americans are now "discouraged workers" and claim they are no longer looking for work --- and so therefore, are no longer counted in the official (U-3) unemployment rate.

I have estimated that there are close to almost 8 million Americans who "left" the labor force since the beginning of the recession. That's about the same number of jobs that were lost from December 2007 to October 2009 due to mass layoffs (attributed to cutbacks, down-sizing, automation and outsourcing.)

The roughly 6 million net new jobs created since the recession ended is about the same number of high school and college graduates we've had during that same period of time.

So job growth has barely been keeping pace with natural population growth, and the unemployment situation is almost exactly the same now as it was in October 2009 --- when the unemployment rate was at 10.2% with 15.9 million reported unemployed (only now, millions more just aren't are being counted any longer.)

I have also estimated that approximately 8 million Americans or more have already exhausted 99 weeks (or less) of unemployment benefits over 2 years ago --- and like myself, still remain both unemployed and not counted in ANY measure of unemployment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (in the U-6 rate or otherwise).

That would also help account for a rise is Social Security disability applications (just "claims", not actual "awards"), both because of an aging population AND because of the continued high unemployment situation --- and why so many older unemployed workers were forced to take early Social Security retirements at age 62, instead of at 65 or 67. (Robert Reich currently has a petition saying "NO" to chained CPI on Social Security).

The rise in the REAL number of Americans who are without jobs or any other form of income would also help account for the rise in other "entitlements" as well, such as food stamps and Medicaid. If you can't find a job, just because you wish to eat and receive healthcare, it doesn't necessarily mean one is too lazy to work if fewer and fewer full-time jobs that pay a "living wage" are unavailable.

And if you don't have the financial means to pack up your personal possessions and drive across the country from California to New York to get apply for that job at McDonald's that you might quality for, it doesn't necessarily mean you're refusing work --- and also because, many (like myself) have already lost their cars.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of March 2013) 142.7 million Americans are now in the work force. If this is true, then we might also see a drop in the number of federal tax returns filed with the IRS for FY2012 (see chart below).

Of 142.7 million in the work force, 113.9 million are full-time and 27.5 million are part-time --- and of those, 7 million are multiple job holders --- while 8.8 million disabled workers received SSDI --- and NOT 14 million as Fox News reports.

According to the Social Security Administration, half of all U.S. wage earners earned $26,965 a year or LESS after taxes for a "median" annual net income --- meaning half earned more and half earned less. The annual "household income" (before taxes) is now $51,404.

*According to, H-1B, TN-1, J-1 and E-3 VISA eligible occupations have seen a distinct upward trend. Are H-1B workers also included in the labor participation rate? I ask because according to Robert Cringely, after annual quotas are met, many of these VISAs are extended --- so at any moment there are about 700,000 H-1B visa holders working in the USA. (Also see  H-1B Willful Violators List and H-1B Debarred Employers List)

* * HELP! Would someone else care to complete and assess the chart below? After 35 years of being in the labor force, for the past 2 years I am no longer required to file a federal tax return. I'm trying to determine how many more Americans are also exempt, by comparing the number of tax returns filed, previous jobs lost, and the net new jobs that were created from January 2008 to the present. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 8.7 million jobs were lost between the start of the recession in December of 2007 and June of 2009. (The years below are linked to original IRS documentation).

Before and After the Recession
Federal Tax Returns Filed With IRS
Fiscal Tax Year # Individual Returns (+/-)


Jobs Created
2006 138,420,499 n/a n/a n/a
2007 143,030,461 + 4,609,962 n/a n/a
2008 142,350,256 - 680,205 - -
2009 140,532,115 - 1,818,141 - -
2010 142,856,282 + 2,324,167 - -
2011 145,579,530 + 2,723,248 - -
2012 Not Available - - -
Balance/Total - - - -

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