US unemployment drops to 9% — Was that good news?

I'm still amazed that professional market pundits, who have spent many many years working in the financial industry, still do not manage to do that extra mile required to distinguish between a brainless-lemming and a real human being with a real brain.

For example, the fact that experts still listen to the official figures that come out of various government entities (anywhere in the world) is still gutting. But even worse, not only do they listen to the figures, but they take them at face value, never digging deeper than what the face value is.

So what happened with the drop in official unemployment? Does it mean that Obama and Bernanke, by  wasting private capital and printing money managed to improve the economy?

On the 4th of Feb, non-farm payroll came at +36k, missing the +146k "expected" by the "experts". Yet unemployment managed to drop to 9%. How is it possible to have so little jobs created, and yet have decreasing unemployment? It all resides on tricks and lies.

But (and there's always many of them with government provided figures) the real measure of unemployment in the US, the U-6 rose from 16.6% to 17.3%. The official, headline figure is the U-3 and doesn't include all the people who work part time but would like to work full time, nor does it take into account all the people who have given up on looking for a job, etc.

Another important trick that the government uses is what is called the labor force participation rate. Basically, they decide who is considered to be in the Labor Force, and who is not. Then, they divide that number by the total number of civilian population and get the labor force participation rate. This way, they have been able to reclassify millions of civilians from unemployed to irrelevant. The participation rate has dropped to the 1984 levels now — see chart below, courtesy of ZeroHedge.com:

To get an idea of the numbers involved, there are currently 6.6 million people not in the labor force, but who want a job now — see the chart below, again, courtesy of ZeroHedge.com:

Finally, to get an idea of the real sorry state of the US economy, it's better to have a look at the two charts below — courtesy of CalculatedRisk. Does it look like it's your average recession? Does it look like the recession is over? That we are ready for great economic expansion? 

These show how governments fudge the data, report misleading figures, and put more bluntly, simply lie.

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