Trump’s Touted Unemployment Numbers are Bogus

Donald Trump was ecstatic Friday when he held a news conference to celebrate a 13% unemployment rate for the month of May. Even though that number is still the worst since the Great Depression. He needed something to positive to talk about. Trump has had nothing but bad news lately. Problem is it’s all a mirage. Things have not gotten better:

The actual jobs report appeared later in the day and it did say that the unemployment rate was 13.3%. But it also said that the BLS and the Census Bureau were investigating a “misclassification error” around workers sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. The truth is that the actual unemployment rate was around 16.3%.

The problem was that the the surveys used for the jobs reports polled employers about jobs and put a large number of people into the category of being absent from work for “other reasons.” In this case, the reason was that companies had shut down or cut back because of the pandemic and related impacts. However, that category of “other reasons” is normally used for workers who are essentially taking some uncategorized form of leave. It’s used for people who are on jury duty or taking personal time off to deal with a family crisis. These people are still counted as being employed.

But in this case, that same category was used for people who had genuinely been let go due to the downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Either way the economy is a depression for African-Americans:

Whether it’s 13 or 16 percent the U.S. unemployment rate is about half that of the European Union.

Can someone ask the MAGA president why European countries have so much lower unemployment?:

But even the official current unemployment rate, although bad, is misleading. And it’s been that way for some time. Politicians have used the official rate to deceave the American people for decades:

The official unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the number of people in the labor force. The numerator in that equation is currently over 23 million. (The denominator is currently approximately 156.5 million.) Both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed are staggeringly high, and both understate the toll coronavirus is taking on the economy. The actual percentage and total are much higher.

“We understand that unemployment means you don’t have a job,” according to Giacomo Santangelo, who teaches economics at Fordham University and the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. “The problem is that the official unemployment rate, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, does not measure that. The official unemployment rate is the percentage of the labor force that is without a job. The problem is [that] the qualifications to be in the labor force are very narrow. It’s part of the reason why the official unemployment rate right now is 14.7 percent, but the actual percent of people who are unemployed is closer to 23.”


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