Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sleight of Hand

As most Americans know, the official unemployment rate has hovered around 10.0% for far too long. What far too many Americans don't know is that the official figure is nowhere near the actual figure! The difference involves a conscious sleight of hand on the part of our government and it's just as true under Obama today as it was with the previous administration.

You see, the 99ers (people out of work for 99 consecutive weeks or more) aren't counted. People who have given up looking for work altogether aren't counted either. And former full-time employees who have only been able to wrangle piddly part-time work (as little as 10/week, I believe) aren't counted as well. Consequently, the "official" number discount a significant amount of people and, thus, is nowhere near the true figure.

A recent decision might, on first appearance, seem to indicate that the "official" statistics will soon dovetail more readily with the true situation.
So many Americans have been jobless for so long that the government is changing how it records long-term unemployment.

Citing what it calls "an unprecedented rise" in long-term unemployment, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), beginning Saturday, will raise from two years to five years the upper limit on how long someone can be listed as having been jobless.

The move could help economists better measure the severity of the nation's prolonged economic downturn...
Oh, but don't get your hopes up. While the broader definition will help researchers STUDY the situation,
The change will not affect how the unemployed are counted or the unemployment rate is computed nor how long those eligible for unemployment benefits receive them...
Aha, now you see it, now you don't!!

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