HolyCoast: Can Obama Drive Enough People Out of the Workforce to Get the Unemployment Rate Below 8%?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can Obama Drive Enough People Out of the Workforce to Get the Unemployment Rate Below 8%?

I bet he can.  He's working his magic already, as the Washington Post belatedly discovers:
Typically, I try to tie the beginning of Wonkbook to the news. But today, the most important sentence isn't a report on something that just happened, but a fresh look at something that's been happening for the last three years. In particular, it's this sentence by the Financial Times' Ed Luce, who writes, "According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent."

Remember that the unemployment rate is not "how many people don't have jobs?", but "how many people don't have jobs and are actively looking for them?" Let's say you've been looking fruitlessly for five months and realize you've exhausted every job listing in your area. Discouraged, you stop looking, at least for the moment. According to the government, you're no longer unemployed. Congratulations?

Since 2007, the percent of the population that either has a job or is actively looking for one has fallen from 62.7 percent to 58.5 percent. That's millions of workers leaving the workforce, and it's not because they've become sick or old or infirm. It's because they can't find a job, and so they've stopped trying. That's where Luce's calculation comes from. If 62.7 percent of the country was still counted as in the workforce, unemployment would be 11 percent. In that sense, the real unemployment rate -- the apples-to-apples unemployment rate -- is probably 11 percent. And the real un- and underemployed rate -- the so-called "U6" -- is near 20 percent.
Since Obama appointees control the Labor Department numbers, I guarantee you they'll do whatever it takes to drive the official unemployment number down, hoping the ignorant masses won't realize that it took ending the hopes of millions to do it.

2 comments:

Larry said...

How do the people who 'give up' get by -food stamps? That would explain the ever growing number of people on public assistance -which is a great way to transform productive citizens into wards of the state.

According to the latest data from USDA (September 2011), the number of people on food stamps increased 162K in July, 492K in August and 430K in September. There were 43% more people on food stamps in September than in February 2009. Over 46 million people on food stamps -and that number is three months old! We have so many people in the soup line that it takes the US Government three months to count them all.

Cloward–Piven anyone?

Mikey J said...

The Labor statistics show that the main reason for the drop in the current unemployment numbers from 9.0% to 8.6% is due to the fact the gov't counted 315,000 less people as working than last month. It's easy to invent figures when you are manipulating the criteria.

But I don't know why this surprises anyone. This administration is making facts up about everything it does as it goes along. And their tales will only grow taller as we proceed to November 2012.