U3 unemployment data for March mixed

People re-entering the workforce in March raised the Bureau of Labor Statistics U3 (headline unemployment rate) from 9.69 percent to 9.75 percent while Admiral Janeway’s U3 declined from 12.82 percent to 12.71 percent. Since the BLS counts part-time workers as employed for its U3 statistic, these changes cannot be fully accounted for with Census Bureau hiring. More people might be actively searching for work because, in response to mainstream media propaganda about an improving economy, they believe there is opportunity, or because they are desperate. What this means is that more people are chasing what few positions are opening up.

In calculating Admiral Janeway’s U3, I use the maximum yet realized labor force participation rate to indicate the optimum labor market size which would be achieved if labor market conditions were good.

Gallup’s poll continues to show 20.4 percent underemployment, suggesting no real improvement in the situation. But there was enough hiring last month to raise the employed portion of the noninstitutionalized civilian population aged 16 and over from 58.50 percent to 58.57 percent. The Current Population Survey counted 572,000 more people as employed in March than in February. At least some of this is due to Census Bureau hiring for temporary part-time positions which will disappear in a few months.

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