There are seven million people in this country who are officially “unemployed”. The Unemployment Rate ratcheted up a tenth to 4.4% this morning, even though the BLS Jobs Report shows that there were 43,000 more jobs created than had been expected. That seems erroneous at first glance until you see that 361,000 people entered the workforce but only 245,000 jobs were created.
Now look at the same report which shows that 69% of men and 57% of women who are eligible to be employed are actually in the workforce. That’s an average Labor Participation Rate of 62.8%, which is well under what the headline 95.6% “Employment” rate might make you believe. The difference between the Unemployment Rate and the Labor Force Participation Rate is complicated, but boils down to whether that person really wants to be working or not.
Those of us who are working average $26.25 per hour and put in 34.5 hours per week. That keeps wage-based inflation steady at a 2.5% year-over-year growth rate.
After starting to slide upward for no apparent reason over the last ten days, hopefully interest rates will settle back down now that the confusing but uneventful Jobs Report is behind us.