Since we have the NFP report at the end of the week, I thought it might be instructive to use our lunchtime chart slot each day to look at assorted employment data.

Today’s chart comes to us from Jim Bianco of Bianco Research.  The chart looks at the Total number of employed people in the US.

Note that in 2011 we are back to levels last seen 1999, 2001 and 2003. But the caveat is that the population has grown substantially since then; On a percentage basis, employment is considerably worse than it was in any of those years . . .


Invictus adds:  To put this into context, see the Civilian Employment-Population Ratio (EMRATIO)

click for larger chart

via FRED

Category: Economy, Employment

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

13 Responses to “Employed Persons: 1999, 2001, 2003, 2011”

  1. BusSchDean says:

    Which is why so many (way too many) young men and women are going back home to live with mom and dad after graduating college. One young lady said to me that it was “OK because I really like my house and living at home.” If you have college age kids….don’t turn their rooms into offices yet.

  2. buddhabucks says:

    Does the employed number include self employed/proprietors? There has been a big shift in that direction of late. Also, isn’t there some downward influence from baby boomers beginning to retire? I fit the above and do not believe (or know if) I’m counted as employed (I keep a low profile :)

  3. [...] The weak employment rebound in one graph.  (Big Picture) [...]

  4. James says:

    Note that in 2011 we are back to levels last seen 1999, 2001 and 2003. But the caveat is that the population has grown substantially since then; On a percentage basis, employment is considerably worse than it was in any of those years . . .


    Of course, that big spike in employment was the result of a bubble . . . not unlike the smaller spike on the far left. One other observation is that many of the jobs being created now are of the lower wage variety, so a comparison of employment numbers only doesn’t tell the whole story.

    > Which is why so many (way too many) young men and women are going back home to live with mom and dad after graduating college

    This becomes a real reality check for both parents and children. Many of these young people are in for a jolt looking for jobs in the current environment, and will have to do some major re-adjustment of expectations. Many will also have loan payments beginning in six months to add to the pressure, and this will often bounce right back to mom and dad.

  5. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Note how the Civilian Employment Ratio chart Invictus added has a clear Head & Shoulder Top that broke down and hit and exceeded its measured target. Now look at the total number of employed persons chart and note the possible right shoulder forming.

    While I do not believe the possible H&S top on the total number of employed persons chart will break down, you may be interested to know that there were some long term chart patterns in statistics like this that suggested the unemployment rise we saw in the Great Recession, including the one Invictus posted.

    Technical analysis patterns are useful in more than just markets that are traded by humans. These patterns often work in statistical charts that are the product of human behavior.

    If humans are involved, these patterns appear to have a probability of having a predictive value much greater than statistical chance would suggest.

  6. Conan says:

    Looking at the Employment Population Ratio chart it was notable that it stuck in a range of from say 55% to 58% all the way up to the late 70′s. The chart pattern then broke out and started going up. Even in the double dip recession of the early 80′s it only dropped from 60% to 57%. No where do I see a pure drop of more than 2 to 3%

    No let’s look at our lost decade. From 2000 to today a drop of about 6% or double anything else on the chart. Even looking from the last peak from say 2007 till now it fell 5%.

    This is very notable, especially considering the amount of women that have entered into the work force. I bet you have to go back to the Great Depression to find numbers like this.

    Lastly the only people who are going to get raises in this environment are skills that are in very short supply or entrepreneurs who make their own path. If you have any kind of manual job or a skill that is very well supplied by the market, you will most likely see decreases in salary.

  7. ashpelham2 says:

    Those are staggering to comprehend charts. The fall off in the work force is quite apparent. Some of it is attributed to the aging of a generation, but mostly to the massive combination of recession, which parts of our economy are still in, the lingering effects of an employment bubble, and the number of undocumented workers doing jobs that some of the documented unemployed used to do.

    How else to account for the US population’s continued growth, while the number and % of those who can work continuing to fall? Companies are still getting the work done, but doing it by paying undocumented or overseas workers far, far less, which is a win-win for shareholders.

    Note that this is a permanent change. We are going to be doing more work, for more population, using less of that population, and paying who we do use less to boot. Instant recipe for a drop in a nation’s standard of living.

  8. miamiocean says:

    There are other explanations for the large increase in labor force in the 80′s through the end of the 90′s and that would include the number of women entering into the workforce beginning in the mid to late 70′s. I believe I read somewhere that women’s participation in the workforce was around 60% for women 16 years and older in 2000 or later. It was closer to around 30% in the 40′s. Perhaps the peaks on top of that increase might be attributed to bubble economics, but I wouldn’t suspect it to be the main driver.

    I is only recently that the oldest baby boomers have reached the magic age of 65. I also read somewhere (wish I would write this stuff down), that about 10,000 baby boomers per day would be retiring starting around Jan 2011. So far this year that is would be about 1.5 million people, however that rate of retirement would not have been the case in 2008 when the steep decline began, unless you count forced early retirement due to layoffs.

    What I find striking about this chart is that the present level is bumping down around the same peak levels in the 40′s to the 70′s, before the large increase in women entering the workforce.

  9. jlj says:

    Nice chart would be more interesting if one of the axis was # of employable people.

  10. Transor Z says:

    The growth beginning in early 1980 was due to the boom in female employment. BLS is claiming the ongoing drop is related to boomers aging out of workforce.

    Invictus, do you prefer EMRATIO to CLF Participation Rate?

  11. Invictus says:

    @Transor Z

    I actually just shot that EMRATIO chart to BR after he’d posted by way of saying, “Hey, there are charts that get to the heart of what you’re trying to convey.” In that vein, I think either would have sufficed — EMRATIO was what came immediately to mind, so I sent it. It really was not something I gave more than a nanosecond’s thought.

  12. rktbrkr says:

    jobs are a lagging indicator – especially in depressions…

  13. rktbrkr says:

    I thought the Fed’s dual mandate was stable prices and full employment. The latter seems to be very low man on the totem pole.

    How about big bank profitability and high commodity prices as the dual mandate?