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Old 02-20-2016, 03:43 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by karen1972 View Post
Well for me #1 on the list is the power grid, seriously everyone knows it needs to be fixed and its money you have to spend anyway.. so chop chop..
+10

The grid as well as bridges, roads, etc. are all going to have to be done sooner or later.

This would be better than a lot of the crazy things we spend on and more likely benefit the middle class.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:21 PM   #122
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I do not want to politicize the discussion, especially because I am an independent voter, deciding during debates, but all those articles heavily influencing public toward who the author is associated with. Here is an opposite article on unemployment rates.
Stockman: Why the Bulls Will Get Slaughtered
Also over 94 millions not participated in the labor market do not necessary need or can work. Like over 40-41 millions are retirees and early retirees(like ourselves), another 11 millions are disabled, there are about 10 - 11 millions not working moms or dads and college students who do not work may add 5 or more millions. Then there are: 94-68= close to 26 millions working age adults who is not counted as unemployed. Did I miss something(possible)?
The BLS wrote an article titled "People Who Are in the Labor Force, Why Aren't They Working?" and had the following breakdown of those "not in the labor force."


Not In the Labor Force 87,419
Ill or disabled 16,309
Retired 38,530
Home responsibilities 13,511
Going to school 16,018
Other reasons 3,051

PS View skeptically any pundit who argues that the government bean counters are cooking the books, as David Stockman does in your linked article.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:04 PM   #123
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It looks like the ol' "Stay in school and get a degree!" mantra is finally showing up in the labor participation stats.

It is interesting that the age starts at 16 even though all those folks should still be in high school. I can understand as I had a full-time job at age 16.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:11 PM   #124
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The BLS wrote an article titled "People Who Are in the Labor Force, Why Aren't They Working?" and had the following breakdown of those "not in the labor force."
Here's something I found interesting.

For the age group of 55-64, 13.8% of them retired early, and 12.6% of them could not work due to disability or illness.

Going past 65, 23% of them still work.

For what it's worth...
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:17 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
The BLS wrote an article titled "People Who Are in the Labor Force, Why Aren't They Working?" and had the following breakdown of those "not in the labor force."


Not In the Labor Force 87,419
Ill or disabled 16,309
Retired 38,530
Home responsibilities 13,511
Going to school 16,018
Other reasons 3,051
PS View skeptically any pundit who argues that the government bean counters are cooking the books, as David Stockman does in your linked article.
Official SSA statistic for disabled people receiving benefits 8,899,047 (not 11 millions) what is counted temporary disability not covered by SSA.
https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/dibStat.html
There is 18.2 million students in all US colleges and according to this study 70% of them working (mostly part time) what makes the number of not working college students 5.46 millions.
More college students are working while studying
Home responsibilities is hard to count as in many households even without small kids it is common so I will accept the number you provided. Other reasons simply is not possible to count or accept because every individual needs some income to live on. Then the number I provided of not counted adults who do not work and not counted as unemployed is even higher than on my post above.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:53 PM   #126
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Official SSA statistic for disabled people receiving benefits 8,899,047 (not 11 millions) . ..
Different sources, different questions, different numbers. So what?

9 MM people get disability checks and 11 MM people say they're not working because they have a disability, some of whom don't get a check. What's so hard to reconcile?

There is no conspiracy.
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Old 02-20-2016, 09:47 PM   #127
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Different sources, different questions, different numbers. So what?

9 MM people get disability checks and 11 MM people say they're not working because they have a disability, some of whom don't get a check. What's so hard to reconcile?

There is no conspiracy.
The point is about the official and unofficial unemployment what most of us contribute to economy health. And if we have over 26 millions working age people who do not work or operate their own business, are not retired early and not counted as unemployed then there is something wrong with economy and official stats numbers.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:52 PM   #128
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16-19 year-olds are in the stats, so one cannot just count college students, but must also add some high school students.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:20 AM   #129
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The point is about the official and unofficial unemployment what most of us contribute to economy health. And if we have over 26 millions working age people who do not work or operate their own business, are not retired early and not counted as unemployed then there is something wrong with economy and official stats numbers.
Statistics is hard. And especially so when trying to estimate something like the unemployment rate of a 320MM population or calculate the inflation rate in an economy with well over 1 billion prices.

What's easy is to second guess delicately decided and sometimes technically complex questions of methodology from 30,000 feet and spin the resulting misunderstandings as either deliberate manipulations or proof of incompetence.

It's so easy, in fact, that some folks have made lucrative profession out of it - see Stockman, David; Shadowstats, etc.

If nothing else, take comfort in the fact that investors with billions of dollars on the line (some of which is their own money) analyze and pick apart every possible detail of economic data. If there were some glaring error in the government stats, something so obvious you could unearth it with a couple of Google searches, it would already be common knowledge.

And if the government numbers were as bad as you fear we'd also see widely respected alternative measures of government statistics produced by the investment community. What we see instead is the investment community waiting with bated breath for each government stat release. Why? Because the government bean counters are pretty freaking awesome at their job and their numbers represent the gold standard. They're not perfect, because the task is hard, but they're the best economic data the world has managed to produce and by a very large margin too.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:02 AM   #130
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:04 AM   #131
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I agree that the true accurate data is a hard thing to deliver. The Government is manipulating the data in some cases to keep consumer confidence high while opponents of the Government economic policies (Jim Rickars, Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Mark Faber etc) are manipulating the data in order to gain popularity and sell their books, guidance, attract more customers. Yet the weak signs of our economy are obvious and will be very foolish to ignore. U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:18 AM   #132
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The Government is manipulating the data in some cases to keep consumer confidence high
No.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:23 AM   #133
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It's interesting, though, that the official figures come out and are not that bad. Then later, more quietly, they get revised more toward bad. Maybe that's my confirmation bias, though.
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:20 AM   #134
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It's interesting, though, that the official figures come out and are not that bad. Then later, more quietly, they get revised more toward bad. Maybe that's my confirmation bias, though.
I think it's probably confirmation bias. I don't know if there's any research looking into the the direction of the revisions, but from my experience those revisions tend to go both ways.

Here, for example, are the unemployment revisions for the past several months . . .

Quote:
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +252,000 to +280,000, and the change for December was revised from +292,000 to +262,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 2,000 lower than previously reported.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +256,000 to +271,000, and the change for October was revised from +214,000 to +243,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 44,000 more than previously reported.
The more sophisticated users of government data (i.e. not the talking heads on squawk box or elsewhere) will look at the direction of the revisions as well as the revised numbers themselves as pretty important indicators.


The reason we have revisions is because data collection isn't instantaneous. The govt. agencies release their initial estimate when most, but not all, the data is available. They'll then update those estimates as trailing data becomes available.

Again, this is nothing sinister. It's just an attempt to be timely, and therefore, useful.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:24 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
Statistics is hard. And especially so when trying to estimate something like the unemployment rate of a 320MM population or calculate the inflation rate in an economy with well over 1 billion prices.

What's easy is to second guess delicately decided and sometimes technically complex questions of methodology from 30,000 feet and spin the resulting misunderstandings as either deliberate manipulations or proof of incompetence.

It's so easy, in fact, that some folks have made lucrative profession out of it - see Stockman, David; Shadowstats, etc.

If nothing else, take comfort in the fact that investors with billions of dollars on the line (some of which is their own money) analyze and pick apart every possible detail of economic data. If there were some glaring error in the government stats, something so obvious you could unearth it with a couple of Google searches, it would already be common knowledge.

And if the government numbers were as bad as you fear we'd also see widely respected alternative measures of government statistics produced by the investment community. What we see instead is the investment community waiting with bated breath for each government stat release. Why? Because the government bean counters are pretty freaking awesome at their job and their numbers represent the gold standard. They're not perfect, because the task is hard, but they're the best economic data the world has managed to produce and by a very large margin too.
+1000
Thanks for your very thought post. It is often difficult to see the obvious when it is so much more fun to see treachery and conspiracy.
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:57 AM   #136
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This article in the NYTimes explains a recent survey which shows the dichotomy between places that have poor economic prospects and those that have recovered well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/bu...udy-finds.html

So it also explains the differences between what people are reporting in this thread.

The solution (not from the NYTimes article): Move out of the poor areas. This is because it appears there is nothing better to do in those doomed areas. It is basically impossible to have places like Detroit, Newark, Camden stage a comeback. One might see that the refugee crisis in Europe is a manifestation of the same thing: Escape from Poverty.

For those reading this thread who think there is not healthy economic growth, please read the article because it clearly shows healthy economic growth.

For those who think there is healthy economic growth, please read the article because it clearly shows that many places do not have any growth.

Quote:
“The most prosperous areas have enjoyed rocket-shiplike growth,” said John Lettieri, senior director for policy and strategy at the Economic Innovation Group. “There you are very unlikely to run into someone without a high school diploma, a person living below the poverty line or a vacant house. That is just not part of your experience.”

By contrast, in places the recovery has passed by, things look very different.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:12 AM   #137
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P.S. Those blips in 2000 and 2010 are temporary census workers.
We need a census every year. That would fix things.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:05 AM   #138
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We need a census every year. That would fix things.

Gee, when you put it like that. So instead lets try deliberately adding 1.5 percentage points of displaced workers to the unemployment rolls at the same time we were trying desperately to reduce unemployment. That sounds like a much more intelligent strategy to "fix things" because, you know, "gubmint."
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:11 AM   #139
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20 years ago, I would have been in favor of the French idea of 35 hour weeks. And since we can always do better than the French, I would have liked 30 hour weeks (or less). That would create jobs.

Now that I am near FIRE, paying people over 55 not to work seems like a better idea. It would open up more j*bs for the younger folks. It seems like they are the only ones crying for work...
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:39 AM   #140
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20 years ago, I would have been in favor of the French idea of 35 hour weeks. And since we can always do better than the French, I would have liked 30 hour weeks (or less). That would create jobs.

Now that I am near FIRE, paying people over 55 not to work seems like a better idea. It would open up more j*bs for the younger folks. It seems like they are the only ones crying for work...
Yes, we've already learned in this thread that "We mustn't become the French, the French, I say!" Not because anyone is actually suggesting that we do so but because simple appeals to stereotypes are always easier than thoughtful arguments.
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