We’ve got mail. Most people probably do not realize how state and federal unemployment figures are put together. Of course, we need to compare apples to apples when looking at historical figures, but when you’re unemployed and politicians are claiming things are getting better, it can be a hard pill to swallow.
Connecticut’s unemployment rate went down from 8.7 percent to 8.4 percent. a .3 percent drop. One way to report this story would be to claim that 15 percent of the unemployment problem was solved in one month. That sounds great does it not?
I came up with that figure by subtracting the “full employment” rate – understood in economics to be 4.7 percent – and subtracting that number from the current state figures. So that means Connecticut’s unemployment rate went from 4.0 percent to 3.4 percent. That’s a 15 percent improvement in one month!
Sarcasm. Remember sarcasm? I don’t think unemployed reader LJS would like my sarcasm, but I hope he’ll forgive me. From the mail box today, with my emphasis in bold.
I took note of the freshly cooked unemployment figures proffered for public consumption; boasting a 0.3 percent drop from 8.7 to 8.4% – yet in the very next breath we are told that the state economy only added 100 new jobs… that’s right, one hundred jobs in a state with a population of about 3.5 million.
In October, 163,894 people qualified as unemployed. I am one of them. To effect a 0.3% decrease in the rate strictly through hiring, 5,652 jobs would have to be created yet our mathematical geniuses would have us believe that one hundred new jobs did the trick. Of course we know that the premise we’re expected to accept is untrue – the reason the rate went down is because 5,552 people (5,652 minus those 100 new jobs) gave up looking because as I can personally attest, no one is hiring.
What irks me further is the spin our state government is trying to put on it… to somehow impress on us that 5,552 people becoming statistically invisible because they’ve stopped trying to fish in an employment cesspool is a good thing… though it might well be an indication that the taxing orgy initiated by the Malloy administration is working – it’ll bring the unemployment numbers down to acceptable levels once enough people currently officially counted as unemployed realize that there will be no new jobs in the offing and give up looking. They just need to discourage another 94,192 people to bring the rate down to a nice acceptable 5%.
Think of it this way in terms of political polarization – the greatest recruiting tool conservatives have is liberal policies.
Again, to be fair, the unemployment figures have always been reported this way, but LJS creates an excellent learning opportunity for those – mostly employed – who blindly think things must be a lot better since the unemployment rate is dropping “so much.”
Do you think the media and politicians should be highlighting the U-6 unemployment rate as well as the more well-known U-3 unemployment rate? From Portal Seven.
The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week. And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work.
The columns represent months, Jan. through Dec., left to right. The U-6 figures… Note the .6 percent drop from Oct. to Nov. (Good thing right?)
And the more widely used U-3 unemployment rate.