Friday, January 27, 2012

Do the Federal Unemployment Numbers Tell the Truth?

I was catching up on a show via Hulu last night, and was barraged with Obama 2012 ads. Mostly touting what a great job he has done with the economy and how the eeevil oil billionaires are lying about his record. (It was so annoying I had to give up. I put up with commercials on Hulu because it is free, but seeing the same one over and over and over again is too much. Especially when it is insane.)

So I thought I would look for this article (actually one like it, but I can't find the original). But the point is, the numbers from the government look like they are being cooked. The Jobless Effect: Is the Real Unemployment Rate 16.5%, 22%, or. . .? - DailyFinance
The June poll turned up 27.8% of households with at least one member who's unemployed and looking for a job, while the latest poll conducted in the second week of July showed 28.6% in that situation. That translates to an unemployment rate of over 22%, says Mayur, who has started questioning the accuracy of the Labor Department's jobless numbers.
It seems that the statistical shenanigans date (at least) to the Clinton Administration.
Up until the Clinton administration, a discouraged worker was one who was willing, able and ready to work but had given up looking because there were no jobs to be had. The Clinton administration dismissed to the non-reporting netherworld about five million discouraged workers who had been so categorized for more than a year. As of July 2004, the less-than-a-year discouraged workers total 504,000. Adding in the netherworld takes the unemployment rate up to about 12.5%.

The Clinton administration also reduced monthly household sampling from 60,000 to about 50,000, eliminating significant surveying in the inner cities. Despite claims of corrective statistical adjustments, reported unemployment among people of color declined sharply, and the piggybacked poverty survey showed a remarkable reversal in decades of worsening poverty trends.
So with a statistical bit of legerdemain, Clinton and Co. made it look as it the world was better, and especially for minorities in the inner city. Politics and statistics: never a good combination.

Those are past figures. What do people think the real unemployment rate is today? Well according to National Jobs for All, if you include the under-employed (those with part-time jobs who would prefer full-time, but can't find full-time employment) and discouraged workers (those who want to work, are available to work, but can't find a job) the real unemployment rate for December was not the official lie of 8.5%, but really 17.2% of the workforce. That is basically saying that the government figures are off by 100%.


The Duck said...

I've read if they counted they way they did in the 1930's it would closer to 23%

Zendo Deb said...

17% or 22% or more. The point is no one is really counting. Obama is ALREADY running on the 8.5 percent - or whatever it will be. (If you look at calculated risk - under my blog list - you will find a post about the declining world economy. REALLY declining.)

And do I really need to be seeing Obama ads. In January? I know he only knows how to campaign, but maybe he could go play more golf or something.