Don’t believe everything you see or hear as sometimes the magicians are just too good at what they do for you to be able to tell that you have just been tricked. Our magicians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have just pulled off a slight of hand worthy of Houdini as they reported the unemployment rate for January of 2011. Two consecutive months the unemployment rate has dropped by .4% each – very impressive for a jobs market that is still in freefall if you were to ask any 99er. The numbers don’t lie, but the way they are presented can be so full of half-truths that one must dig much deeper to see what is really going on.
1) One must first try to explain how from November 2010 to January 2011 the following two things could happen simultaneously. How is it possible for the employment level to rise by 414,000 (Series id: LNS12000000) and unemployment to drop by 1,178,000 (Series id: LNS13000000) in the same period? This is a difference of 764,000 people that are now NOT considered unemployed in excess of the number of jobs created in the same period. The fact that this unexplained difference is what is driving the unemployment rate down to 9% begs an explanation; and I don’t have one other than to state that this is how many additional 99ers (or retirees) that were created during this two month period.
2) Look at the statistics provided by the BLS for the category of persons unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. The December 2010 number stood at 6.441 million people. In January of 2011 this number stood at 6.210 million. What happened to the 231,000 people? A reasonable conclusion is that they all did not find jobs because the employment level only increased by 117,000 in the same period and this would assume that even if all new job creation went to the long term unemployed only (which is very unrealistic) almost half are still unaccounted for! Where did they go? My guess is 99erville.
3) A third way to look at the tremendous increase in economically imposed, not self-imposed, long term unemployment is to review the average number of weeks unemployed for the total population. The average stood at 34.2 weeks in December 2010 and has climbed to 36.9 weeks in January 2011. This represents a 7.8% increase in the average length of time that people are staying unemployed in the same period that unemployment supposedly dropped by .4% in total?
What am I missing here? If you want the unemployment rate to drop, simply stop counting the number of unemployed, and you will get the results you want. People are staying unemployed longer and yet unemployment is dropping when the job market has not generated anywhere’s near enough new jobs to claim the difference. There are some serious smoke and mirrors magician tricks going on with the unemployment data today. Don’t be fooled by what they present as reality because reality is not what they are presenting.
More people become 99ers every week. This is a fact. The economy is not creating jobs at any rate sufficient to help 99ers out of their desperate situations; that is also a fact. Until our government faces up to this real domestic problem and addresses it with job creation bills and the expansion of unemployment benefits for millions of 99ers, people will suffer. People will die. And all those that fight against these initiatives to create jobs and provide aid should have to take a good long look in the mirror and ask themselves just one simple question, “What would I do if it were me?”