Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Lies The Media Is Peddling About Unemployment

Gallup's CEO writes about the dishonest claim of 5.6% unemployment:
Right now, we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is "down" to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.

There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There's no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.
Unfortunately, progressives are so in love with Obama for his support of homosexuality, Obamacare, and amnesty for illegals, that they will continue this Big Lie until the last legal resident has lost his job to an illegal alien.


  1. Of course, this "big lie" is not just true of Obama's unemployment statistics. It has been true for decades now. So the 5.6 figure can be properly compared to other years. Or so it seems to me.

  2. No, they will continue the Big Lie until a Republican is elected President. Then 5.6% unemployment will be too high, and the 'not counted' unemployment will be highlighted instead of hidden.

  3. This is true, but I see another lie from the right (and I am on the right): that all of the decrease in work force participation is due to negative forces.

    In fact, some of it is due to the increased percentage of retired folks.

    A little bit of it is due to folks who were working only to pay for health insurance, but now can not work since we, the taxpayers, are making sure they will be insured.

    I would like to see the real statistics - workforce participation rate only of those who actually want work, whether they are actively seeking it or not.

  4. Unknown is right - the LSM would be highlighting the falling participation rate, not the failing unemployment rate, if the GOP held the White House. Remember the so-called 'jobless recoveries' under Bush Sr and Jr?

  5. Storm chaser, you can look up, at the labor department website, the "labor force participation rate", which counts only people between 16 and 64, and has age breakdowns if you don't want to count changes in the number of people who are in school.

    Look at the charts broken down by sex, too, because women's participation in the paid workforce varies more due to non-economic factors than men's, and economic factors have different impacts. (If the cost of daycare goes up because daycare work is paid more, fewer women will work, for example.)

  6. Yes, I've seen the graphs. I'd like to see a more serious breakdown, though. The total change is only 3% units (about 5.5% of the index), after all.

    I know that if Obamacare had offered me the chance to have coverage, I'd have probably become a part time consultant 7 years before I actually did (when I could get Medicare).

    Also, note that the labor participation rate is higher than many of the best years in the American economy - all of the 50's and 60's.

    So I am not that sure of what this is supposed to be telling us.

    I think a far better issue to highlight is the erosion of white male middle class jobs. That is a very nasty trend.