Here’s Why Summer Employment Numbers Are a Little Sketchy

Earlier this morning I mentioned that June’s rise in the unemployment rate was due to a big increase in the civilian labor force, mostly caused by people graduating from high school or college. If you’d like to see this in chart form, here it is:

Every year, starting in June and peaking in July, the labor force spikes upward. Then September rolls around, and lots of kids go back to college, thus taking themselves out of the labor force. This is basically meaningless, which is why for most purposes we always use the seasonally adjusted figures, shown by the dotted line. That helps, but some of the spike remains, as it did in June’s numbers this year. Here’s how this affects the unemployment rate:

Unemployment spikes in January, when temporary holiday workers go back home, and in July, when kids are temporarily on summer vacation. The seasonal adjustment smooths out most of this, but not all. That’s one reason among many not to get too agitated over a single month’s numbers, especially in summer.

NOTE: Like most people, I always use seasonally adjusted figures. If you see a chart, it’s seasonally adjusted unless I specifically say otherwise.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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