Cooking the Unemployment Numbers?

Published on October 10, 2012 in Editorials, News Stories

 

In 45 months we have shrunk our employment by 783,000 jobs and increased our population by 9,000,000.

 

EDITORIAL –

Do you want to look at a glass that is half empty or a glass that is half full?  That is the real question that people should be focusing on when the talk of ‘unemployment’ and ‘employment’ gets raised.  Everyone needs to know the difference between them and exactly where these numbers come from.  Remember the phrase: “Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.” It has held true for ages, and is truer than ever in discussing ‘unemployment.’

In Europe they like to look at the ‘employment’ rate. That is, how many jobs are filled? That is because that, even though it is good to know what percentage of the population wants to work but can’t find a job, tracking this is extremely difficult and subjective. There are lots of questions regarding who specifically is counted and how are they counted. Let’s take a look.

In the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they don’t count the actual unemployment numbers themselves, but instead they create the all important “Unemployment Rate’ simply on a survey. You might like to think that they actually get them from the real numbers of each of the unemployment offices of the 50 states. But they don’t. Instead they calculate the rate on a random survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS). Instead of calling the main offices of the 50 states, they phone  60,000 households every month and then estimate the unemployment based on their questions and answers from the sample. This is just over 1,000 households per state.

This is nice, but anyone can see it is open to various interpretations and contingencies, and could really be termed just interesting information. It is obvious that it can be manipulated and is subject to interpretation. The more important question is, “How many  people have real jobs?”

Let’s take a quick look at the outcomes reported in September. This figure comes from its ‘sample.’ According to the BLS numbers, the “unemployment rate” fell to 7.8% in September.  In May the rate was 8.2%. That shows a .4% reduction in unemployment..

However, let’s look at the actual number of people with jobs in those months. To determine the actual employment rate, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys 390,000 businesses nationwide each month. It is a much more reliable figure than the ‘sample’.

In May, the actual employment number was 133,723,000. In September, the actual employment number was 133,797,000. That is an increase of 74,000 jobs. That is less than .001% growth. It is actually .0006%. How could unemployment realistically have dropped by .4%, from 8.2% to 7.8%?  It has to be in the ‘sampling’ technique.

In the sampling technique that was used and reported, it is shown that there were some 582,000 new part time jobs. But the sixty-four thousand dollar question is, where did these jobs come from? Where are they? In addition to these jobs, revisions to prior estimates added some 86,000 jobs to the 114,000 that were already reported as having been added for September. In total, the number being touted in that down-tick in unemployment is well over 800,000 after ‘adjustments.’. However, it just doesn’t jive with the actual employment number.

The sad fact of the matter is that in January of 2009 actual employment was 134,580,000. In September of 2012, total actual employment is 133,797,000, a net loss of 783,000. In January of 2009, our population was 305,529,237 and in September of 2012 it was 314,519,915. This is a growth of almost 9 million  people in just under 4 years.

In these 45 months we have shrunk our employment by 783,000 jobs and increased our population by 9,000,000. Millions are out of work, cannot find work, and have given up looking for work.

These are raw, hard facts. During that same period of time we have added almost $6 trillion to our national debt.

Anyone with even a grade school education can see that the course we are on is simply a disaster waiting for the opportunity to happen. Figures don’t lie. But liars sure can figure.

 

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