Job Numbers Can Be Crunched Differently to Make Political Points
(We now have 81 straight months of job growth with 4.6% unemployment)
Employed, Unemployed, Under-employed, and Missing Workers: Real Facts
A look back:
FYI: From the NY Times, January 9, 2009, and remember that Mr. Obama took office at Noon on January 20, 2009. Economic news ending for the year 2008:
1. New York State lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008: The worst year since 1945.
2. Nation-wide, the unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 percent for the year.
3. That year end rate was the highest since January 1993.
4. That rate was also up 6.8 percent from November 2008.
5. A total of 524,000 jobs were lost alone in December 2008.
Related from CBPP here.
Introduction: The United States went through its longest, and by most measures worst economic recession since the Great Depression between December 2007 and June 2009. (Note: And, the GOP still blames Mr. Obama, was in office less than 6 months when we stated to run things around. – Wow what memories, um, GOP)?
The impact since 2010 highlights: The pace of monthly job losses slowed dramatically soon after President Obama and Congress enacted the Recovery Act in February 2009.
The total trend in job growth in 2010 was obscured by the rapid ramp-up and subsequent decline in government hiring, but private employers have added 15.6
million jobs to their payrolls in the 81 months of sustained growth since February 2010 (averages about 193,000 jobs per month). Total employment, that is private and public jobs, has averaged 190,000 a month over that same period as Federal, state, and local governments maintained fewer jobs.
In November 2016, private employers added 156,000 jobs.
Federal government employment increased by 3,000, state employment by 5,000, and local government by 41,000, contributing to overall gain or non-farm jobs of 178,000 jobs.
Key parts that GOP talking heads and Obama bashers focus on without offering much detail or clarity: Even with low unemployment number, and in the third quarter of 2016, the demand for goods and services (the actual GDP) was roughly $278 billion (about 1.5 percent) and that was less than what the economy was capable of supplying (the potential GDP). That caused uncertainty with the underemployed.
The unemployed and underemployed numbers were caused primarily as stated: supply could not keep up with the demand for goods and services – a real “catch-22” scenario.
That resulted in an overall idle productive capacity among many businesses, thus they didn’t need people to keep up the production demand – which has lingered due to the Great Recession (businesses never caught up in short as demand increased – simply, they did not have the workers).
Then many moved production off-shore for cheaper labor and other less production costs, and hampered growth even more here at home as unemployment numbers were way off – that not seeking work; those underemployed out of work people.
Yeah, and now you know why.
Updated (October 7, 2016): This month is the 72nd consecutive month of job gains, which compares to the previous record of 48 months of gains, plus, 10.6 million jobs have been created under the Obama administration (but try to find a GOPer who believes or trusts those numbers – good luck with that [smile].
Before going further research here to get a bearing with this excellent rundown with official numbers and explanations from the EPI is one of the best I have seen. See for yourself [click here].
The following is what I am talking about: compiled from here re: my main post follows.
Donald Trump falsely claimed that the unemployment rate could be as high as 42% during his victory speech in NH – remember? That talking point number still floats about in GOP and Right Wing circles when citing official numbers as “phony.”
Some media figures (namely right wing talk radio and FOX) have allowed Trump and other to push that faulty claim, despite the proven and hard facts that most reliable fact-checkers have called “ridiculous” with maximum “Pants on Fire and Pinocchio” ratings.
More examples here which I am sure we have all heard:
1. Rush Limbaugh has said: The “Actual Unemployment Rate” is 42.9 Percent (running with the Trump number). Limbaugh ranted against the official unemployment rate provided by the BOL statistics while citing a blog former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman, who claimed that “the actual unemployment rate in the United States of America is not 5.5% - it’s 42.9 percent.”
[Rush Limbaugh Radio Show, 6/30/15].
2. Fox’s Maria Bartiromo (The Fox Business Report) pushed that same debunked statistic, saying “almost 40 percent of Americans” are out of work and not looking, while asking candidate JEB Bush about job creation. [GOP Presidential Debate, 11/10/15].
3. Fox’s Bill O'Reilly (The O’Reilly Factor) also let Trump claim that the official unemployment rate as a “phony number” and that the actual rate is “25% or probably higher.” [The O'Reilly Factor, 2/5/16].
Two Reliable Fact Checkers Weighed to Counter Those Statements:
1. Politi Fact: They rated Trump's 42 percent unemployment claim “Pants on Fire.” That rating is their lowest rating.
2. Washington Post: Their fact checker, Glenn Kessler, ruled “Trump’s assertion a ridiculous estimate.” He then gave Trump's claim his most extreme rating for untruthfulness: “Four Pinocchios.”
All this is how the right runs with B.S. numbers and sound bites all across media la-la land, and the worst part: their base eats it up and then in turn the run around citing the same references with their bogus B.S. numbers as facts.
So, what are the facts?
Official numbers come from the BOL Statistics and several independent think tanks (left and right leaning) and academic economic experts all say the same thing: Whom and what should we trust and believe?
As for me, I read them all, everything, and then I try to measure for myself to find reasons and causes and effects, and then seek possible solutions. Problem solving is more than merely ID a problem… fixing is the key. I cannot rely on a problem like those who rely on things from say, a “Fox instant or dynamic poll,” or some Talk Radio chatter that is almost always negative.
I mean those who blast Mr. Obama at every turn no matter what and who are not about to give him one ounce of credit for the great and yes, it is, great economic improvement since 2008.
One part of the overall problem is that average Americans can’t, won’t, or don’t have the time to deal in such detailed research so they rely on snippets and bogus coverage passing as facts. That is totally understandable since they quite frankly don’t have time in their daily lives, and more so, when they are told not to “listen or watch to MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS – just listen to us since we know what is real or not.” Were that true.
As I said, for me, I like the EPI numbers or those from experts who work the numbers daily, and even though some are “left-leaning, and some are right leaning” hopefully their numbers are hard data from creditable sources (i.e., the BOL Statistics).
From that EPI article (linked above here again) – updated June 3, 2016: call it the basics, like this short introduction: In a complex economy, conventional measures sometimes fall short. In today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of the category of “missing workers or potential workers.”
Those people are those who, because of weak job opportunities, or other factors, are: (1) neither employed, nor (2) actively seeking a job. These people would be either working or looking for work if were the job market were stronger.
But, there is always but, right? But, because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work (which is the fairest way to count these them), then the “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rates we read and hear about as described by the novices bent on whipping everyone into a frenzy, usually for political gain, but not offering solutions or if any, the simplest fact (pick and choose what to yap about).
Then the spin doctors focus on that and run with in their bad news and political angles blasting Mr. Obama, every DEM in sight, but ironically never any fault on their side, right? Yet they selectively forget or don’t remember anything in the 2007-2008 time frame when we had a near total economic meltdown. That too is clever PR stunts and political grandstanding.
All I say is don’t fall for it for the B.S. and political stunts… Do the research for yourself and rely on facts, not the hype, and certainly not the fear tactics.
As I have said many times fear sells, that is until we stop buying it.
I hope this post is helpful in that regard. So, come again and as always, thanks for stopping by.