3 Lies About Jobs and the Unemployment Rate

May 31, 2012 04:40

[P]oliticians are selectively quoting numbers that make it appear the economy is doing better than it really is. Here are some of the most popular lies-by-omission when talking about jobs and unemployment. – U.S. News



By Antony Davies at U.S. News


Lie No. 1: The government knows how many people are unemployed.

We don’t know for certain how many people are employed because no one counts them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of unemployed based on a random sampling of the population. …. The problem arises when a politician pretends that the estimate is an exact measurement.


Lie No. 2: More jobs always mean less unemployment.

Each month, more people join the working age population than retire or die. Consequently, the economy needs to add about 180,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.


Lie No. 3: A lower unemployment rate means fewer unemployed people.

We think of people as being either employed or unemployed, but there is a third classification: nonemployed. If you don’t have a job but are looking, you are unemployed. If you take a break from looking, perhaps because you keep coming up empty, you become a “discouraged worker” and classified as nonemployed. The “labor force” is the number of employed and unemployed people. The nonemployed people don’t count.


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