Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Are UK Savings Interest Rates Finally Starting to Rise? Best Cash ISA 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Inflation Tsunami - Supermarkets, Retail Sector Crisis 2017, EU Suicide and Burning Stocks - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Big Moves in the World Stock Markets - Big Bases - Rambus_Chartology
4.The Next Financial Implosion Is Not Going To Be About The Banks! - Gordon_T_Long
5.Why EU BrExit Single Market Access Hard line is European Union Committing Suicide - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Trump Ramps Up US Military Debt Spending In Preparations for China War - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Watch What Happens When Silver Price Hits $26...  - MoneyMetals
8.Stock Market Fake Risk, Fake Return? Market Crash? - 2nd Mar 17 - Axel_Merk
9.Global Inflation Surges, Central Banks Losing Control and Triggered the Wage Price Spiral? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Why Gold Will Boom In 2017 - James Burgess
Last 7 days
Foundation – Fall Of The American Galactic Empire - 27th Mar 17
Stock Market More Correction Ahead - 27th Mar 17
US Dollar Inflection Point - 27th Mar 17
Political Week Presurres US Stock Market - 25th Mar 17
London Terror Attack Red Herring, Real Issue is Age of Reason vs Religion - 25th Mar 17
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate - 25th Mar 17
Unaccountable Military Industrial Complex Is Destroying America and the Rest Of The World Too - 25th Mar 17
Silver Mining Stock Fundamentals - 24th Mar 17
A Walk Down the Dark Road of Bad Government - 24th Mar 17
Is Stock Market Flash Crash Postponed Until Monday? - 24th Mar 17
Stock Market Bubble and Gold - 24th Mar 17
Maps Of Past Empires That Can Tell Us About The Future - 24th Mar 17
SNP Independent Scotland's Destiny With Economic Catastrophe, the English Subsidy - IndyRef2 - 24th Mar 17
Stock Market VIX Cycles Set To Explode March/April 2017 – Part II - 23rd Mar 17
Is Now a Good Time to Invest in the US Housing Market? - 23rd Mar 17
The Stock Market Is a Present-Day Version of Pavlov’s Dog - 23rd Mar 17
US Budget - There’s Almost Nothing Left To Cut - 23rd Mar 17
Stock Market Upward Reversal Or Just Quick Rebound Before Another Leg Down? - 23rd Mar 17
Trends to Look Out For as a Modern-day Landlord - 23rd Mar 17
Here’s Why Interstate Health Insurance Won’t Fix Obamacare / Trumpcare - 23rd Mar 17
China’s Biggest Limitations Determine the Future of East Asia - 23rd Mar 17
This is About So Much More Than Trump and Brexit - 23rd Mar 17
Trump Stock Market Rally Over? 20% Bear Drop By Mid Summer? - 22nd Mar 17
Trump Added $3 Trillion in Wealth to Stock Market Participants - 22nd Mar 17
What's Next for the US Dollar, Gold and Stocks? - 22nd Mar 17
MSM Bond Market Full Nonsense Mode as ‘Trump Trades’ Unwind on Schedule - 22nd Mar 17
Peak Gold – Biggest Gold Story Not Being Reported - 22nd Mar 17
Return of Sovereign France, Europe’s Changing Landscape - 22nd Mar 17
Trump Stocks Bull Market Rolling Over? You Were Warned! - 22nd Mar 17
Stock Market Charts That Scream “This Is It” - Here’s What to Do - 22nd Mar 17
Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Jobs Killing Move - 22nd Mar 17
Potential Bottoming Patterns in Gold and Silver Precious Metals Stocks Complex... - 22nd Mar 17
UK Stagflation, Soaring Inflation CPI 2.3%, RPI 3.2%, Real 4.4% - 21st Mar 17
The Demise of the Gold and Silver Bull Run is Greatly Exaggerated - 21st Mar 17
USD Decline Continues, Pull SPX Down as well? - 21st Mar 17
Trump Watershed Budget - 21st Mar 17
How do Client Acquisition Offers Affect Businesses? - 21st Mar 17
Physical Metals Demand Plus Manipulation Suits Will Break Paper Market - 20th Mar 17
Stock Market Uncertainty Following Interest Rate Increase - Will Uptrend Continue? - 20th Mar 17
Precious Metals : Who’s in Charge ? - 20th Mar 17
Stock Market Correction Continues - 20th Mar 17
Why The Status Quo Is Under Increasing Attack By 'Populist People Power' - 20th Mar 17
Why the SNP WILL Destroy Scotland, Exit UK Single Market for EU - IndyRef2 - 19th Mar 17
Crypto Craziness: Bitcoin Plunges on Fork Concerns, Steem Skyrockets and Dash Surges Above $100 - 19th Mar 17
What ‘Ice-Nine’ Means for Your Money - 19th Mar 17
Stock Market 4 Year Cycle - 18th Mar 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Elliott Wave Trading

U.S. Unemployment, What if the BLS Labor Force Participation Rate Projections Are Wrong?

Economics / Unemployment Dec 13, 2012 - 04:03 AM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock

Economics

On Monday, my "question of the day" was What will the unemployment rate look like for the rest of the decade?

Click on the above link to see an interactive map that lets you select the rate of job growth up to January of 2020.



The base assumptions for the interactive map regarding the noninstitutional population, the labor force, and the participation rate came from revised BLS projections by Mitra Toossi in January 2012: Labor force projections to 2020: a more slowly growing workforce

Note that the accuracy of the unemployment forecast depends on the accuracy of the assumptions.

What if the BLS is Wrong?

Today we concern ourselves with the question "What if the BLS assumptions are wrong?"

We do have to start somewhere, and the assumption for the charts below is that the BLS is right about the size of the age 16 and older noninstitutional population, but wrong regarding the participation rate and the size of the labor force.

Certainly boomer dynamics are now understood well enough that the age 16 and older noninstitutional population projections are likely to be quite accurate. How fast baby boomers retire or drop out of the labor force is certainly much harder to predict.

Definitions and Notes
  • The participation rate is the ratio of the civilian labor force to the total noninstitutionalized civilian population 16 years of age and over.
  • The noninstitutionalized civilian population consists of civilians not in prison, mental facilities, wards of the state, etc.
  • The labor force consists of those who have a job or are seeking a job, are at least 16 years old, are not serving in the military and are not institutionalized.
  • There are strict requirements on what constitutes "seeking a job". Reading want-ads or jobs on "Monster" does not count. One actually needs to apply for a job, go on an interview, or send in a resume.
  • Please see Reader Question Regarding "Dropping Out of the Workforce" for an explanation of how the BLS determines someone is actively seeking a job.
As you can see, projecting the population accurately and projecting the labor force accurately are two different things.

Starting with the assumption that Toossi is correct regarding the noninstitutionalized civilian population, I asked Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives if he would plot unemployment rates at various rates of job growth with a participation rate of 62.5 (the base Toossi model), as well as participation rates of 60.0 and 65.0.

The charts below show startling differences as to what happens if the participation rate changes in those small increments.

Model Notes

  • In the following charts CLF stands for Civilian Labor Force. 
  • CNP stands for Civilian Noninstitutional Population.
  • Participation rates assumed to move in a linear fashion towards various 2020 projected targets (65.0, 62.5, 60.0).
  • The  labor force is derived from various projected participation rates and the civilian noninstitutional population.

Unemployment Assuming Participation Rate of 62.5
z

At 125,000 jobs a month (and that is a very optimistic forecast in my opinion), the unemployment rate would slowly sink to 6.3% by 2020.

Unemployment Assuming Participation Rate of 65.0



The current participation rate is 63.6.

A mere rise in the participation rate to 65 would require 200,000 jobs every month non-stop until 2020 to get the unemployment rate to 6.1%. Needless to say, 200,000 jobs a month is not going to happen.

At 125,000 jobs a month, every month, the unemployment rate would rise to 9.9%. Is such a scenario all that unlikely?

Unemployment Assuming Participation Rate of 60.0



Should the participation rate drop to 60, it would only take 50,000 jobs a month to get the unemployment rate down to 6.5%.

How likely is that?

The participation rate was 60.2 in December of 1955. The participation rate dramatically rose starting in the mid-60's as women entered the work force en masse.

Given that people are living and working longer (the latter because they did not sufficiently save for retirement), will the participation rate drop to 60 again?

Consider what I said on May 1, 2008 in Demographics Of Jobless Claims

Ironically, older part-time workers remaining in or reentering the labor force will be cheaper to hire in many cases than younger workers. The reason is Boomers 65 and older will be covered by Medicare (as long as it lasts) and will not require as many benefits as will younger workers, especially those with families. In effect, Boomers will be competing with their children and grandchildren for jobs that in many cases do not pay living wages.

Theoretically the participation rate could drop that low but the economy will likely be horrific if it does. Moreover, should the rate fall that low, it will be at the expense of a massive rise in those on food stamps and other social safety net programs.

Table of Projected Unemployment Rates



Note the peculiarity (and mathematical impossibility) of negative unemployment rates at high levels of job creation coupled with a participation rate of 60.

All things considered, Toossi's revised model showing the participation rate slowly dropping to 62.5 seems reasonable, but a rise to 65 is not out of the question.

At a participation rate of 62.5 it will take about 100,000 jobs a month through 2020 just to hold the unemployment rate steady.

For a look ahead to 2013, please see Small Business Owners' Hiring Intent Plunges to 2008 Lows; Don't Blame Sandy or Fiscal Cliff.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2012 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Shedlock Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife