Job Reports for December, 2010: Continued Dropping out of the Labor Force

103,000 jobs are created, with unemployment dropping from 9.8% to 9.4%.   That drop is boosted by increased in jobs from new estimates for previous months, as well as with a large number of people dropping out of the labor force (which is the employed and unemployed) to the “Not in Labor Force” category, particularly from the unemployed.    As you can see, the net movement between the Not in Labor Force and the sections of the labor force is towards dropping out of the labor force.

Following on previous analysis in September, the trend where it is more likely someone will drop out of the labor force than find a job continued through the rest of 2010:

Felix Salmon has more on the state of the long-term unemployed, who will likely also drop out of the labor force in number as their unemployment benefits expire. Here’s Annie Lowrey on the fate of the 99ers as their UI expires. It’s going to be a long 2011.

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6 Responses to Job Reports for December, 2010: Continued Dropping out of the Labor Force

  1. Dan says:

    I think there’s an error in your chart; both sides of the U/N arrow are labeled U to N.

  2. Mike says:

    Fixed! Thanks for pointing it out Dan.

  3. Sue Hall says:

    So adding up the totals, the civilian noninstitutional populations were approximately
    U+E+N (11/10) = 238,715,000 and
    U+E+N (12/10) = 238,890,000
    i.e. an increase of about 175,000 people between November and December.

    From the other numbers you gave, it looks like of these 175,000 new folks,
    146,000 became part of N;
    20,000 became part of U;
    and only 9,000 actually got jobs.

    Is this analysis correct?? If so, that’s pretty daunting if you’re just trying to enter the labor force.

  4. Mike says:


    According to the data:

    For those turning 16 (which are people entering the labor force) and adjustments to population, so those who are entering the three states from outside entirely, 33 went to E, 21 to U, and 332 to N. That’s to be expected since many 16 year olds will be outside the labor force generally. I’ll play around with the numbers you bring up later today and see what I can find and comment.

    • Sue Hall says:

      Yes, now I see that the 175,000 must be a net, including people who left the system (by dying, joining the military, other ways?). So, of the new people (16-year-olds and immigrants?? anyone else?),
      33,000 went to E;
      21,000 went to U;
      and 332,000 went to N.

      This would imply that
      24,000 employed people died/left;
      1,000 unemployed people died/left;
      186,000 people not in the labor force died/left.

      These numbers are roughly consistent with the US annual mortality rate of about 8.2 per 1,000. Thanks for the link to the table of flows.

      • chris says:

        I would hope that the military counts as “employed”; they do work and collect a paycheck.

        Emigration is another means of leaving the system; although it’s certainly less common than immigration, there is some.

        Also, if “not in labor force” includes retired, that would explain why most of the outflow from the whole system comes from that category.

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