Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wall Street Journal to Older Americans: GTFO So We Can Lower the Unemployment Rate

Pension plans are broke, Social Security is broke, the cost of Medicare is skyrocketing. Clearly, the LAST thing the country needs is a huge wave of people taking early retirement. Right? Am I right? Please tell me I'm right.

Well, not according to the Wall Street Journal:
The nation's unemployment rate may fall faster in the future than many economists assume for one simple reason: The rapid aging of the American work force is helping reduce the share of the population hunting for jobs.

For more than a decade, the labor participation rate—the share of the population over 16 that is either working or looking for work—has been falling. It stood at 64.2% in October, down from its peak of 67.3% in 2000, and economists project it to continue heading lower. Part of this decline reflects aging. As workers move into their late 50s and beyond, they are much more likely to drop out of the work force.

In today's job market, that could mean that many people now counted as unemployed may simply drop off the rolls and never return—making it easier to pull down the jobless rate once economic growth accelerates, since fewer new jobs will be needed to get the jobless back to work and keep up with population growth. Fifteen percent of the nearly 14 million jobless are 55 or older.
Because that's what's REALLY important, don't you know...getting that manipulated and utterly meaningless official unemployment number to go down. It doesn't matter that the federal government is teetering on the brink of insolvency, in part because so many additional people, particularly older Americans, are becoming dependent upon it.

To be fair, this particular example of business reporter stenography did at least mention the long term fiscal problem:
While that suggests the economy won't need to create as many jobs to bring down the unemployment rate, said Barclays Capital economist Dean Maki, the downside is that it won't have as large a work force to power it along and pay for the needs of an aging population.

"If you have a greater fraction of the population not working, that will make it harder to pay for costs that will be ballooning," he said.
We can't pay for the costs we have now without borrowing a trillion and a half dollars every year, fucknuts. So how the hell do you think we're going to be able to afford it going forward? This is yet another sad example of what passes for legitimate economic analysis in the mainstream media these days. No wonder we're in such deep shit.


  1. This doesn't feel right to me. Virtually every report I see indicates the people are delaying retirement and working longer. Jobs that would then be available to younger workers are not available, pushing up the unemployment rate of 20-somethings. That story makes more sense. Americans have anemic savings. Many thought-they-were-soon-to-be retirees lost a boatload during the financial crisis. Their nest-egg home is now not worth nearly what they had planned on (best case), or underwater (if they were borrowing against it already). Thanks to Fed ZIRP, their income investments are generating something like 0.1%, for a real rate of return of something like -2%. Where, exactly, does this reporter think these people are going to get the money to retire and live on for the next 10-30 years?

    Yup, another textbook example of modern investigative business journalism.

  2. So let me get this straight:

    1) Unemployment is high because no one is hiring
    2) Companies are either closing their doors or are cutting hundreds to thousands of jobs to save money
    3) Taking an early retirement will open your job to someone younger.

    If we implement #3 it will suddenly negate #1 and #2.

    Either give me what the WSJ is smoking or at least let me give the writing job to someone who has mastered critical thinking and fact checking.

  3. Re: Please tell me I'm right

    You're right!


    -- Dave

  4. Seems to me that to have people retire isn't opening jobs at all. We have people packing it in as fast as possible, including with some assistance from the corporation, but those jobs are NOT being refilled with young blood. The attrition rate is being used to slim down the work force, hence the labor costs. Better bottom line for the board to bullshit the investors with, more bonuses for the board members, and the customer is the end loser as there are less butts in chairs or in the field to do the work.

    It's all smoke n mirrors.