Unemployment at All-Time Low 5.9%… Just Kidding!

Government math takes on many forms. I think it’s the basis for Common Core math. In Common Core, 2 plus 2 plus 2 doesn’t always equal 6. Just like 18% of employable people in the U.S. equals a 5.9% unemployment rate.

The 5.9 %number is usually arrived at by simply looking at how many Americans file for unemployment every week, both new and continuing claims. You hear about the numbers of people dropping off the rolls but you never hear why. The assumption is that they found a job.

Do you ever hear them report about the number of people who drop off the unemployment rolls because they ran out of time? Or the ones who got discouraged and gave up looking because they couldn’t find employment. What about the ones who switch to disability because they are now having physical and mental issues as a result of their job search? (Insert crickets sound here.)

Most economists use another set of numbers that the government Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “U-6.” It defines the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.”

This number takes into account, by that definition, the underemployed, discouraged, and unemployed workers. This number actually did fall for the first time below 12% to 11.8%. Hey, don’t get too excited yet.

Remember, just before the election period in 2012, we were told unemployment was down. Many government math “adjustments” were made to the unemployment numbers all summer leading up to the November 2012 election. But fudging the numbers shouldn’t be a big surprise. I mean, look at the other “adjustments” that were made : Benghazi was “not” another 9/11 anniversary attack, the Obamacare rollout debacle was really just a few “minor” glitches, much like that whole “keeping your doctor” thing.

Now, back to government math. In September, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.2% to 5.9%. The number of people unemployed dropped by about 329,000 to 9.3 million.
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