Employment Data Doesn’t Add Up

February 05, 2010 – In a telling example of how the government’s official employment numbers don’t paint a reliable picture of the nation’s economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today announced the unemployment rate fell from 10.0 percent to 9.7 percent. Meanwhile, the same department reports that 20,000 more jobs were lost in January.


More lost jobs equals lower unemployment? To make matters worse, the BLS said that December’s initial job loss numbers were being revised downward from 84,000 jobs lost to 150,000 jobs lost.


Normally, if the unemployment rate drops and the number of unemployed decline then the number of jobs should increase. But the reemployment rate has yet to rise and remains near zero.


A more accurate reading of the nation’s employment picture would utilize payroll data, rather that the BLS practice of household surveys. The BLS data also fails to account for changes in employment among the nation’s 11.1 million farm workers or the 14.4 million who are part-time out of necessity, marginally attached or no longer counted.


The number of real unemployed workers in all four categories of unemployment – BLS, part-time-of-necessity, marginally attached, and discouraged – totals 29.3 million.


The real unemployment rate is 18.4 percent.

These are not numbers to celebrate 

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