Saturday, July 17, 2010

Unemployment Rate - 9.5% or 22%?

I guess it depends on where you get your figures.

Raghavan Mayur, president at TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, follows unemployment data closely. So, when his survey for May revealed that 28% of the 1,000-odd households surveyed reported that at least one member was looking for a full-time job, he was floored. That translates to an unemployment rate of over 22%, says Mayur, who has started questioning the accuracy of the Labor Department's jobless numbers.

In fact, Austan Goolsbee, who is now part of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a 2003 New York Times piece titled "The Unemployment Myth," that the government had "cooked the books" by not correctly counting all the people it should, thereby keeping the unemployment rate artificially low.

Judging from the real numbers from real surveys it would appear the Obama administration is intentionally keeping the truth from us in an effort to make his failed stimulus spending appear to be working. The fact is, even at the governments low number of 9.5% it still proves the stimulus failed miserably.

The danger lies in lawmakers using administration numbers instead of the true numbers in making policy decisions and passing laws. If they believe the unemployment rate is "only" 9.5%, they will not act as strongly nor with as much urgency as they would if they knew it was more than twice that. And instead of focusing on health care, financial reform or 16 other less important issues they could have been focusing on JOBS, like we, the people have been begging them to do for the last 18 months.

The president, swearing many times that he would "focus like a laser on jobs" and "not rest until the economy turns around" is currently vacationing in Bar Harbor, Maine, with plans for an extended vacation at Martha's Vineyard next month. That will be four vacations in three months, not counting the 18 golf retreats, celebrity parties and photo ops. If that is "focusing like a laser" and "not resting" then my dictionary of definitions needs updating.


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