Unemployment in September

There are times I wish I could cry out “Uncle” here at Atlas.  Not because I want to give up, but because sometimes an indicator will flop around like that fish I caught the summer after kindergarten which my Uncle Glenn had to help me land.  Details in the Labor Department’s unemployment report for September were all over the place, just like my trout I took from that stream up near Rock Creek.
First off the report said America’s unemployment rate remains unchanged.  And then, flop!  It added that our country lost 95,000 jobs!  But wait, flip! the private payrolls grew by 64,000.  Oh no, here comes a flop! The “under-employed” figure grew from 16.7% to 17.1%.  Long-term unemployment however, defined as those out of work for more than 27 weeks, fell by 640,000 since May.  Count that as a flip!  But wait, that still means 41.7% or 6.1 million of the unemployed have been out of work long-term. That definitely has to go into the flop! category.

As you can see, America’s labor base is flipping and flopping around like a fish out of water.  It seems likely our economy will be caught in this struggle for some time to come as we continue making adjustments to a new economic environment.  This time around though, we cannot rely on my Uncle Glenn.  Instead, now when I hear folks crying Uncle, it’s for Uncle Sam.