Mike the Mad Biologist

The Deceptive Statistics of Unemployment

Before I dive in, I really do want good news. But misinterpreting bad economic news as good news doesn’t help. You might have heard that, last week, jobless claims dropped (i.e., the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits decreased). This is a good thing, right?

Not so fast. Barry Ritholtz:

Those of you (who can still afford the luxury of) a trusty Bloomberg will note the ‘exhaustion rate’ for jobless benefits – EXHTRATE – reveals that people are not leaving the pool of continuing unemployment claims because they are getting new jobs; Rather, they are leaving because they have exhausted their benefits.

They are now unemployed AND broke. That is hardly a green shoot…

And a picture to show this:

Presentation2

(data from here)

But, by all means, let’s keep worrying about inflation due to rising wages….

Off topic observation: You’ll notice that the exhaustion rate surged during 2008. That probably did not help Republicans. Something Obama should probably remember.

Comments

  1. #1 Moderately Unbalanced Squid
    June 25, 2009

    Would it be possible to get some units for the y-axis of the graph? I have trouble seeing what we’re getting into here.

    Thanks!

  2. #2 ilahiler
    June 26, 2009

    Thank you for this information

  3. #3 Chad
    June 28, 2009

    I know a lot of people who are in this boat. Hell, I would be too if it weren’t for grad school starting up in September.

  4. #4 招聘
    December 26, 2009

    I know a lot of people who are in this boat. Hell, I would be too if it weren’t for grad school starting up in September.