Tag Archives: St. Louis Fed


AUGUST 16, 2023 – I might be the only one who has thought about this. Probably because my mind never stops and I love numbers:) So, let’s get to the numbers.
We currently have about 335 million people. Looking at the US Population Clock at Census.Gov we add 1 net person every 15 seconds. Just fyi:) That site also has a World Population Clock and we are nearing 8 Billion people. More trivia for you in case you are on Jeopardy!
According to the St. Louis Fed, our current Employment/Population Ratio is 60.4%. Therefore, we have about 202,340,000 employed people. Unemployment is 3.5%. I don’t know if the Employment/Population Ratio does or does not include unemployed people. So, let’s say we have about 7.2 million unemployed people.
For decades, I have seen reports of around 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs every month. I have wondered how do we maintain an unemployment rate of 3.5% or 5% or 7% or whatever when adding say 3 million new jobs per year would employ everyone in 2 or 3 years?
Way in the back of my mind I remember reading somewhere (and about 30+ years ago) that most of these new jobs are simply due to population growth and not really more people being employed. Finally, after 30 years of this sticking in my mind (yes, I do keep things on my mind for years and even decades), I decided today to do some math:)
To population we go. Let’s say the average age of people entering the workforce is 21 years old. Sort of an average of those starting at 18 years old and those graduating college at 23 years old and then going to work.
America’s population increased by 2,660,000 between July 1, 2021 and July 1,2022. Multiplying this by today’s 60.4% Employment/Population Ratio yields 1,606,400 jobs are needed this year due to population growth. This equates to 134,000 (Rounded) new jobs per month are simply needed to employ our increasing population. Therefore, it is only the amount above 134,000 per month that is actually existing positions being filled by existing workers.
And that is why the unemployment rate doesn’t go to zero in 1-2 years. Most of the new jobs are being absorbed by the new (young) people entering the workforce.
In 2023, monthly job growth has averaged about 270,000 through July. This is almost double the amount needed each month to address population growth. That is a healthy amount of new jobs being absorbed by the existing population.
And many of you are now saying that was 15 minutes of my life I won’t get back lol The takeaway is when down the road monthly job growth slows to around 135,000 per month you will know that basically we are not adding any jobs. We are simply keeping up with population growth.
Hopefully, the next thing I think of to post about will be a bit more interesting:)
Stay cool out there.
The Mann