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Correlation: Employment-Population Ratio Vs. Real GDP Per Capita

Jul. 15, 2013 1:07 PM ET
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Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2011

Albert Sung is the author of Correlation Economics, monitoring breaking economic news on a day to day basis. He started investing in 2008 because of the economic crisis and holds a masters degree in chemical engineering. Previously, he worked several years as a process engineer at Ashland, a competitor of Dow Chemical. Today, he works as a regulatory compliance consultant at J&J, but his real passion will stay in macro-economics. His experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry allows him to monitor the economy from a process engineering standpoint, analyzing macro-economic charts, correlations and trends.

I like statistics that can't be fudged by the government and this is one of them: The Civilian Employment-Population Ratio. This measure is one of the best to evaluate the labor market. Each time when this ratio declines, we enter a recession. So this is a very good gauge in predicting bad periods in the overall economy.

A high ratio (above 70%) means that a lot of people are employed and this will result in a high GDP per capita. A low ratio (under 50%) is considered bad for GDP.

If we take a look at the percentage change per annum, we see that the trend for the employment-population ratio is down (blue chart). So the employment picture isn't improving and this translates into a declining real GDP per capita growth rate (red chart).

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