Friday, December 02, 2016

unemployment trends (how is that for a boring title)



This is the first Friday of the month and all economic data geeks know that monthly labor force data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This includes the headline unemployment rate number that most of the business news keys off of.  So today the national unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% which is the lowest it has been since in 2007.

Something I’ve always wanted to do, and I am sure others have done this – though I can’t find quite the same graphic out there.  How has the national unemployment changed over the course of recent presidential administrations.  Since 1948 there have been 12 presidents. Truman was of course already in office in 1948, and Obama’s term is not quite over.  Of those 12, if you look at literally the month they took office (usually January data of the respective year) to the January they left office (or other months were history intervened) I have graphed the trends.  6 presidents saw the unemployment rate decrease over the course of their administration. 5 presidents say the unemployment rate increase.  6 + 5 = 11 so the 12th.   President Carter’s administration both began and ended at 7.5% unemployment, so no change. 

Here is what I get, and I've split gainers and decliners into two graphs for presentation:




Caveats as always.  I've included the inauguration, or other form of transition, month in both the beginning or ending of each time series.  The bigger question is whether it is fair to attribute - implicit in this type of graphic - unemployment rate changes to a particular president in the first few months of their administration.  They say the American economy is more cruise ship than speed boat, which means it take a long time to turn.  Probably fairer to redo these graphs based on a 6 month lag to the month of taking office.  Maybe for another day.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than Reagan, there is almost a common denominator.

Friday, December 02, 2016 5:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nasty Dems, driving down the unemployment rate so it has no where to go but up in a Republican administration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger ing said...

have there been adjustments by the government in how that number is calculated? and what about the % of work-age people that are employed so that the number doesn't exclude those who've quit looking?

Friday, December 16, 2016 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

lots and lots of trends have been impacting labor force participation rates. Age of retirement, length of schooling and changing demographics (percentage of population who are older) are just a few things folks overlook when looking at these trends. And you can't begin to infer much from the overall number given labor force participation differences in gender for example.

Monday, January 02, 2017 5:51:00 PM  
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017 8:29:00 AM  

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