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(Graph deleted just to save space)

Unemployment rates and insurance claims are hitting the lowest points they've been for 20 years.
These numbers do not tell the whole story. I think the one statistic that I have seen in the last few years is the Labor Participation Ratio. A lot of people have just dropped out of the workforce. The WHY of that is complicated, I believe. (I see @rotaryenginepete made the same comment while I was typing this.)

A few reasons they may have:

1. Fear of COVID. I think this is still a reason people are out of the workforce. Not here to debate it, the validity of this reason is not mine to decide, it is up to each person. I think I have known as many people testing positive for COVID in the last few weeks as a year ago, as 2 years ago. Lot less hospitalizations, but maybe even more people I know have gotten COVID.

2. When COVID hit, people had to make a lot of hard choices. With daycares closed, schools going to remote learning, parents, or at least one parent, had to be home to watch the kids. Some of these families suddenly realized that the second paycheck wasn't that much help, too much of it went to daycare costs, to eating out because parents didn't have time to cook when they came home from work, etc.

3. It is a sub-reason from #2, but a lot of daycares have closed. They can't find workers, have to pay workers more, so parents can't afford to send kids to daycare, etc.

4, This is actually part of a vicious cycle. No one has shown me the statistics, and it doesn't play in to the political rhetoric that the media wants us to believe, but I would be willing to bet that there are a lot fewer women in the workforce (participation rate) than before COVID as they have chosen to stay home with the kids. As costs of daycares went up, it just made less sense to work at a job simply to pay for daycare.

5. Here is one that I think may have been impacting the work force participation before COVID, but maybe more people realized it with COVID. Obamacare. I can remember a job I had once, where we employed a large number of women on a production line. We were having our own issues with parts shortages of our own making. Often had to shut line down and send workers home. When I was apologizing to one of the young ladies as she clocked out, she said no problem, I don't care about my paycheck. My husband has a good job, I am just working for the health insurance. Just as one of those (stupid) politicians said when they passed Obamacare, this will free up people to quit their job and pursue other endeavors, like the arts. It was all part of the plan to reduce labor participation rates.

6. This may be a part and parcel to some of the above factors, but a lot of people just decided to retire.

There are probably many other factors in our society. In any event, I suspect the Labor Participation Rate for women and people over maybe 60, definitely 65, has declined by a measurable amount. Just because the measured unemployment rate and the new unemployment claims have fallen, doesn't tell the whole story.

And as @LastStandard has now posted, a drop of 1.6% in Labor Participation is actually a huge number. I think to understand it, we really need to look at a demographic breakdown, and then consider what is driving it.
 
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Which is down a whopping 1.6% from it's high 10 years ago.
Yes, but since 2008 (roughly) I think the BLS no longer includes that in calculating the Unemployment Rate (there was also a bunch of other changes to the math). So the true rates are actually much higher.
 

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When I drove my crossfire, on forum there where several talking about insurance companies totaling their car from small things like a dent in the fender, due to no parts available.
Insurance auctions had many crossfire and srt‐6 with very very minimal damage
 

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A few observations from over 25 years in manufacturing.

In the mid 80s, I worked in a plant with over 7000 workers, the majority of them women doing assembly work on telephones. They worked hard, were IBEW union, but the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was to get on with the UAW plant making Chevy S-10s. The work was easier from what I had seen and the pay was 50% higher.

In the late 80s, I worked in automotive components, first in the Detroit and then in San Antonio. I still remember the young black kid who was assigned to run a press I had setup in Michigan. There wasn't enough volume or profit in the job to do much, but I setup the best basic press operation I could for a delicate stamped electrical component we were making. We needed 2.4 million a year, my memory was that it was priced out around a quarter, so $600K in sales. However, more than half of that was in the raw material. We were having a quality problem based on the original process that meant we were tossing 20% in scrap, and probably should have been tossing 40%. This kid, who had no formal training to my knowledge, took what I gave him and went to work. A week later, when I went back over to the stamping facility to check on him, and thank him because the quality had improved to less than 5% scrap in just a week, I found he had taken a very boring, drudge job and made it run very efficiently using items he found in the toolroom behind his station. It was probably an even more boring job, but his initiative was unbelievable. (I put a good word in with his manager, hopefully got him a raise and maybe a shot at a job that would more adequately use his skillset.)

In the mid 90s, I was working at a plant making vacuum cleaners for Regina, and we had this special package we were doing for some retailer called K-Mart. I needed 4 people to pack out this on a special line I set up. I balanced out the work for the 4 people, but after 15 minutes, 3 of the people were working their tails off, it seemed, but falling behind, and this one young lady seemed to be almost loitering. I re-balanced the line to shift more of the work to her, and gleeful thought I got this fixed. In another 15 minutes, this same young lady had mastered the work and the other 3 were still struggling. I coined the phrase at that point that the young lady just had a "manufacturing rhythm." Some people may have a dance rhythm, others a music rhythm, she had a manufacturing rhythm.

Now, in the mid-2000s, I made a decision to go back to school and totally change my career after getting laid off yet again when work was sent offshore. In order to pay for school, I took a job as a shift supervisor in a plant. It was almost impossible to find workers. If they did show up, they were late, but often didn't show up or call in. I would spend 3 hours training in a classroom and put them on the floor. An hour later, they would clock out for lunch, and never return. Didn't even show up to pick up there paycheck for the 4 hours they were in the building. I would have been ecstatic to have some of them last a whole week like @scottL described.

I was sitting in the plant manager's office and watched a potential new hire walking up the sidewalk to the front door, and quipped to my boss, "he'll never make it." He asked me what I meant, I pointed out how the guy slouched and sauntered up to the front door, and he just shook his head and agreed.

I have been out of that world since 2006. I miss some aspects of it, but on the other hand, I am self employed. While I run all my work through one basic entity, the reality is I am working two jobs. One is an offshoot of the other, and the offshoot has to hire the main/original business in support, so I can argue I am holding down two jobs to make ends meet. But, other than a few contractors on occasions, the only employee I have can't really be fired: Me.
 

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Yes, but since 2008 (roughly) I think the BLS no longer includes that in calculating the Unemployment Rate (there was also a bunch of other changes to the math). So the true rates are actually much higher.
They're different statistics.

If you've got numbers to the contrary backed up by data, feel free to share.
 

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They're different statistics.

If you've got numbers to the contrary backed up by data, feel free to share.
Yes they are different statistics, but do you understand how they are related and calculated? If you change the definition of what is considered "looking for work", then you can easily alter both statistics to look more favorable. One way the BLS does this by utilizing six different methods of calculating unemployment, called U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5, and U-6. Each method uses a different definition of "looking for work".
 

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For me, my '22 Canyon came without the heated seats chips and I though it would be quite some time before they became available. But I did come across this article today dated 7/25/22: GM Begins First Phase of Retrofit Installation With Heated, Ventilated Seats

“Parts are being made available to dealers [today], and customers will begin receiving letters the week of Aug. 1 to begin scheduling service appointments. Other retrofits will occur in phases over the next several months.”

Glad to see some progress on this!
 
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All I know is that I get application consistently. However, many are t qualified. Yes, we work on new equipment but lot of our customers have machines that still require Straight 40 weight and the engines are on the sixth or seventh overhaul. The equipment is that old. Having some twenty something try and time mechanical injectors is just not possible. Many don’t think Straight weight even EXISTS anymore. That’s my situation but all around the repair world guys and girls can’t be found that don’t require teaching even out of these schools. That, and many get fed up with book time pay. My shop, you pay how long it takes. Book time cheats guys and girls. Period. That said, my crew are top performers and are well worth the pay. Lots of youngins want $40 an hour right out the gate or have useless degrees and mounds of debt. Many don’t enter trades because they’ve been told it’s beneath them. My nephew is a Journeyman Lineman and makes ungodly amounts of cash especially when snow storms roll through up North. 2020 wrecked and hard reset the economy and not for he better. Look on indeed and these jobs want an entry level guy to have a Masters Degree, five years experience and are offering a poverty level salary. No one will take that job. Yeah, unemployment might be low but many of those jobs are entry level, minimum wage and are a revolving door. If someone quits and is rehired in a certain period, their unemployment isn’t counted. As much as I can say without being political, Trump was a nightmare on many things but the economy he was not. Before 2020, we had more jobs than actual available workers. They were good jobs too with good pay. Now those jobs have crap pay, crap bosses and are menial as hell. Couple that with crippling school debt, rampant inflation and rent unaffordability, and unemployment might be low but people are saying screw it. Also, if you’re not collecting unemployment, for the most part, the Governemnt doesn’t count you. If you leave college and move back in wi5 mom and dad, the Governemnt won’t count you either. This is all my $.02 which isn’t worth much
 

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Before 2020, we had more jobs than actual available workers. They were good jobs too with good pay. Now those jobs have crap pay, crap bosses and are menial as hell. Couple that with crippling school debt, rampant inflation and rent unaffordability, and unemployment might be low but people are saying screw it.
Nah, you just didn't see it because people thought they "had" to take those jobs. They were still **** jobs with awful pay.

What's happened now is two things:
1. COVID broke people mentally. They've decided that they'd rather be poor than put up with some of the **** they've put up with for low pay before. Life is too short to work your ass off for no money, with no free time, and then get sick and die only to be replaced by the next cog in the machine. It's the same reason why no one (not even the R's) will "really" close the borders. We need people who are too desperate to fight back to do some jobs for the wages we "expect" to pay. Go check out a meat packing plant for example. They're all legal in there.....cough.
2. We outsourced everything to China in the last 20 years (thank you to every CEO and President/Congress for that btw). Now, with their lockdowns when one person sneezes, it's destroyed our ability to have the materials we need to make stuff here, or made the stuff itself unavailable because we not only don't have the materials, but the factory closed and moved to China in 2010. We've found out recently that one key material for critical equipment, which could be made here, is instead sourced for all 10 manufacturers from one company in China. WTF!!! It can be fixed, but someone will have to build a plant onshore and get it up and running. Hopefully we don't need new equipment for a couple years...

You want to fix it? Stop relying on China for everything from raw materials to manufacturing. Start making stuff here again. Will it suck and be expensive? Yes. But it's our only choice unless we want them to keep having us by the balls. God Forbid they invade Taiwan now.
 

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You want to fix it? Stop relying on China for everything from raw materials to manufacturing. Start making stuff here again. Will it suck and be expensive? Yes. But it's our only choice unless we want them to keep having us by the balls. God Forbid they invade Taiwan now.
Most of the good household appliances we have are made in Germany. They have good pay and benefits for the most part at those plants. I don't see why we can't do more of the higher quality stuff here. The price point some folks look for in a vacuum cleaner for example is ridiculously low, pay less than $200 and throw it away in 2 years seems to be the norm.
 

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All those numbers are at or within a few tenths of a % of the lowest they've been in 20 years.
And going back to my original point, each different method of figuring the unemployment rate necessarily changes the labor force participation rate. It's a shell game and every few years they add yet another "alternative method" to calculate it.

Our biggest clue that these numbers are bogus is the fact that none of the other economic indicators line up to or even correlate with unemployment rates. None. Take an especially close look at the negative GDP "growth" over the last two quarters, and the similarly fudged CPI statistics that underpin the inflation rate. It's all laughably unrealistic.
 

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Most of the good household appliances we have are made in Germany. They have good pay and benefits for the most part at those plants. I don't see why we can't do more of the higher quality stuff here. The price point some folks look for in a vacuum cleaner for example is ridiculously low, pay less than $200 and throw it away in 2 years seems to be the norm.
It can be hard to find good quality items at times. Go try to find a pair of pants made in the US? A shirt? Shoes?

Same can be said for appliances, etc.

It will and is bite(ing) us in the butt.

We have become a throw away society, and many manufacturers want us that way. They want us to have to upgrade every time they can sell us a new feature. Software is the same way. I run Quicken and Quickbooks. I am running Quickbooks 2014 right now, no support. But it does what I need. Spending big bucks to upgrade annually, or worse, on a annual subscription, is great for the software company, but the "upgrades" they come up with do nothing to help me make more money. I ran 2003 Quicken until about 2010, then I think I upgraded to 2014 or 2016 when I needed to share files with another user. Finally, about 2 years ago, I was forced into a subscription service. I will say that the 2014 or 2016 version improved some functionality, but the latest subscription does nothing for me, has actually resulted in certain reports no longer formatting properly, a problem they have been aware of for about a year or so. However, I lose valuable time because Quicken forces an update a couple times a month so I have to wait for it before I can input the numbers I need.

Here is my latest quality issue I have seen with workers today. Back in the 90s, I worked for a company that used a wet lay process similar to papermaking, we purchased equipment from the same equipment manufacturers, so I kind of understand the process. I was looking at my toilet paper over the last few days. You may think that a defect in the paper would show up each time the roll rotates 360 degrees. However, most defects are going to be on what ever the length of the conveyor belt on the process line is. I realized after a few days, I had seen the same defect, a hole, in the same shape and size, as I pulled out the toilet paper. And it wasn't just one hole, there are a couple of holes at least.

In probably 60 years or so of wiping my rear, figuring I was in diapers for part of my life, I have never seen such a quality defect in my toilet paper. What is this world coming to?

Go ahead and say it, my OCD is raised to the level of being a bit anal, I know.
 

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People don't want to work or don't Have TO WORK?
Yes.

I think the reasons are pretty broad, plus people discovered during COVID that the second paycheck wasn't worth it. Whether that was the spouse working, or one person working two jobs.
 
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Yes.

I think the reasons are pretty broad, plus people discovered during COVID that the second paycheck wasn't worth it. Whether that was the spouse working, or one person working two jobs.
Honestly, if the average family could get along well with only one income, that would be ideal. That's the "good old days" politicians love to refer to back in the 1950s/1960s, so if a family can get by with one income and one parent can stay home (in a "nuclear" family), then that certainly won't hurt anything.

Now whether the people at the top with 25M+ quarterly bonuses want to share a little down the line without something tragic eventually happening we'll have to see. I suspect it would take politicians that actually work for the people to do so (no, we don't really have any of those right now), but they could have a more fair tax/wage system. It exists in Europe, and I don't think any of the countries it's in have gone bankrupt or full communist China.
 
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