Weekly Roundup: Unexpected Unemployment Results

The January unemployment report is due out this Friday, and some are predicting negative news, mostly because of an annual adjustment for jobs “miscounted” last year. I heard the figure 824,000 being tossed about today, as in we really lost 824,000 more jobs last year than reported. My favorite term in these reports has become “unexpectedly,” as in, “the numbers increased unexpectedly.” Or, “the numbers were higher than experts expected.”

After a while, you have to wonder who in the heck these so-called experts are, and why are they always surprised by the results? As for the miscounted jobs, well, personally I don’t think this is a real surprise to anyone. I think these numbers were intentionally suppressed to keep unemployment hovering around 10%. I doubt that would be unexpected.

The Frugal Roundup

The Farmers Daughter. Here is a great story about how sometimes being the toughest or most driven may not be the best approach. (@Brip Blap)

Debt Update: January 2010. Adam updated his debt totals for the end of January. (@Money Relationship)

How to Identify a Shopping Addiction. Think you are in control of your spending? Take this quick test to make sure your shopping hobby isn’t hurting you. (@The Digerati Life)

Best of the Rest


  1. Thank you for all the research you do. Your posts are always informative.

    I appreciate all these links and will check them out.

    Mrs. White

  2. Ahhh that’s depressing about the job news…. 🙁

    Thanks for the links, I’m looking to expand my frugal reading so will probably check them all out.

  3. I am always just blown away by the numbers of unemployed and it scares me.I have never had just one job so the thought of no job scares me to death so I ran the numbers for the 99th time to see “how little could we live on” and how long could we stretch the emergency fund…it still did not make me feel better.I am a planner and am always trying to plan for the worst but lately because of the harshness of the economy it seems as if no one is safe.I also love the links to further expand my knowledge.

  4. The jobs report is one of the most inaccurate reports and yet it causes the greatest market volatility.

    Once the economy rebounds (and it eventually will) I wonder if Americans will continue the practices brought on or accelerated by this financial crisis. Saving, self-reliance, frugality and sustainable living? For us, we’ve learned a new way of living and I don’t think we’ll ever go back to our old extravagant ways.

  5. Thanks for the include!

    One thing people often forget about the economy is that unemployment is a FUNCTION of the economy, not an anomaly.

    When you put that into perspective, you become truly humbled at what you have… and at what others don’t.

  6. Thanks, Dad, for the mention!

    I always wonder about those “experts” too.

    Although the official rate is still at 10 percent or so, keep in mind the *real* unemployment rate (that includes, among others, those who have quit working) continues to hover around 17 percent.


    Len Penzo dot Com

  7. @Len: That’s right, and I suspect the official rate would have been much closer had these figures been reported during the time they actually occurred.

  8. Thank you very much for including my article in your article!

    It was a little intimidating revealing such personal details about my family’s finances as we paid off over $90,000 of debt, but the supportive feedback in comments and emails from your readers reinforces that it was the right thing to do!

    Thanks again, and be sure to check out the remaining articles in the series over the next week or two!

  9. I’ve gotta’ say…your round ups are the best! I’ve been introduced to so many great articles/posts and blogs via them! Thanks for the great work!

  10. @ Len / FD —

    The “true” unemployment rate is pretty hard to find. Just including incarcerated individuals (after all, they are not employed) would add roughly 1-2%. How about part-timers who would like to be full-time? Marginally attached workers?

    The way the US calculates it, you typically see a surge in unemployment when the economy is about to boom because people are re-entering the workforce (either leaving school, graduating, deciding to give up being a homemaker, etc). There is a lag associated with them making that decision and them being counted as employed. In a recession, you typically see the unemployment rates stabilize at a lower than expected rate (people give up hope, decide to go back to school, resort to crime and become incarcerated, etc).

    I don’t think there is one better way to calculate it as long as we remain consistent. If we are consistent on how we calculate the numbers, then all that really matters is the relativity of the data (versus historic data and future projections).

    Economics 😀

  11. I believe unemployment figures also cease to include those whose unemployment benefits have run out.

    Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense…

  12. I keep hearing that the recession is over, but I’m really not seeing evidence of that, you know? Seems like we’re still in a high-risk zone and could tumble again at any given time. Plus, many of the jobs we lost may never come back, so recovery is sure to be slow.

  13. I think real unemployment is much higher How can you lose net jobs and the unemployment rate go down! I would guess the real unemployment rate here in Michigan at 25% or higher.

  14. Good read. I would not have been so pleasant in my assessment of Government figures.
    How does the government know if someone is looking for work?
    Example students coming out of school.
    People finishing a two year job overseas with an overseas company.
    People forced to retire.
    People losing their businesses now looking for work.
    I say unemployment 20% nationwide 28% in Michigan.