There are currently 33,434,730 people unemployed in America. That figure comes from Bureau of Labor Department statistics, and is much higher than the 15 million unemployed officially reported by the Obama administration. The number of people in America who are unemployed but not officially counted as unemployed by the government is about equal to the entire population of the state of Massachusetts…plus the state populations of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York!
To put that into terms a Democrat can understand, that means that the true number of unemployed people in America is more than 55 times the population of Washington, DC, inside the Beltway.
The true unemployment numbers — 33,434,730 people out of work in America, or a 21.9% jobless rate in December of 2009 — are shown in this graph, courtesy of economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com
The government may try to hide the fact that there are a lot more unemployed people than they want to admit, but they cannot hide from the votes of those unemployed people, their families and their friends when elections roll around. Nor can they hide from the consequences of Democrats Gone Wild® in Washington as they over-spend, over-tax and have misplaced priorities that hurt rather than help the average American. And that is one of the many reasons that Scott Brown is so close to winning the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy.
This chart above does not show a pretty picture of life in Obama’s America. And it is going to get worse. The top, blue line is the one to look at. The bottom, red line is the one the Democrats would prefer to keep people focused on. The difference between those two lines shows millions of American workers who are unemployed, but are not counted as unemployed by the government for various excuses and rationalizations. And those millions of unreported and forgotten unemployed Americans are one of reasons that approval ratings of Barack Obama and the Democrats are in free-fall despite efforts to say that the sky is not falling.
The fact that people around the country are angry at Washington is not a surprise to anyone who witnessed the Tea Parties. Many people, however, may be surprised that the government is deliberately under-reporting the actual number of unemployed. But the most surprising thing about the large difference between real unemployment at 22% and the “fudged” false rate of 10% is that one of the chief critics of this kind of government under-reporting is now a top economic advisor to President Barack Obama. But more on that below.
John Crudele at the New York Post and Jim Geraighty at National Review today write that the nation’s jobless rate is 22%, not the 10% that the Obama administration is reporting–but if you’re a regular Redstate reader you already know that. Rush Limbaugh mentioned it today on his show as well (Happy Birthday, Rush!) And there is mainstream notice of the joblessness crisis as well, shown by an AP story that gives an unusually harsh (and unusually honest) look at the real jobless numbers and how many years they are likely to remain high.
The 22% current jobless figure (actually 21.9%, but only Democrats are counting tenths of percents right now) comes from computing unemployment numbers the old-fashioned way. The old-fasioned way unemployment used to be counted before Bill Clinton’s administration changed it in 1994 to make things look rosier.
First, where do these more accurate unemployment numbers come from?
Start with the “official” 10.0% jobless rate (15,267,000 unemployed workers). Now add in the number of people who have lost jobs in the last 12 months but have stopped looking for a new job until the economy approves and there are some jobs. Next, add in the people who were forced to take a low-paying part-time job to replace a lost, high-paying full-time job. Finally, add to that number the folks who lost their job but have some other source of household income–a working spouse, a pension, disability income, etc.–even if that other source of income isn’t enough to pay the bills. Add in all those people who are not included in the official 10.0% unemployment rate and you get a more realistic unemployment rate of 17.3%.
But 17.3% (25,411,910 unemployed workers) is still not the unemployment rate that would have been making huge headlines prior to 1994. That figure is still artificially low compared to what used to be reported.
Take that 17.3% jobless rate for December of 2009, and now add in all of the discouraged people who lost their jobs prior to December of 2008 and still have not been able to find a job. Yes, if you lost your job more than a year before the official unemployment report, and have given up looking for a new job because there simply are no jobs available for you, then you aren’t even counted in that higher December, 2009, 17.3% real umemployment rate. When the chronically unemployed and underemployed are added in, you arrive at a December, 2009, unemployment rate of 21.9% (33,434,730 unemployed workers).
If the government was still reporting unemployment information the way it used to report it, prior to the change they made in 1994, then the jobless rate for December of 2009 would have been 21.9%, not 10.0%.
Sounds like Climategate, doesn’t it? If the statistics don’t say what you want them to say, then just adjust the statistics until they tell the story you want to tell. And in November of 2003, an economist named Austan Goolsbee at the University of Chicago wrote an editorial for The New York Times making just that point:
Unfortunately, underreporting unemployment has served the interests of both political parties. Democrats were able to claim unemployment fell in the 1990’s to the lowest level in 40 years, happy to ignore the invisible unemployed. Republicans have eagerly embraced the view that the recession of 2001 was the mildest on record.
The situation has grown so dire, though, that we can’t even tell whether the job market is recovering. The time has come to correct the official unemployment statistics to account for those left out. The government agencies that can give us a more detailed and accurate picture of the nation’s employment situation — the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis — need additional funds and resources from Congress to do their jobs.
This statement by Goolsbee is absolutely correct. Under-reporting the jobless rate started under Bill Clinton and benefited the Democrats (and still benefits them to this day, since it makes the Clinton era appear better than it actually was). But it is equally true that when George Bush took office he continued the under-reporting practice and benefited from it as well. It is a bipartisan scam.
No one, however, is benefiting more from these fudged jobless rate numbers than Barack Obama. The highest U6 unemployment rate under Bill Clinton was 11.8% and it bottomed out at 7.1% after his two terms in office. Under George Bush–even with the 9/11 attack and aftermath–the highest U6 unemployment rate was 10.4% prior to the closing months of 2008, when it ended at 13.5%. Before that, for the final two Bush years, the U6 jobless rate had fluctuated from 8.0 to 8.9 percent. In contrast, during Barack Obama’s first year in office, U6 unemployment has gone up steadily month by month, averaging twice the rate under Bill Clinton the first half of the year, and twice the post-9/11 rate of George Bush during the second half year.
There are two other statistics that President Obama and the Democrats don’t want you (or the voters in Massachusetts) thinking about. First, with their fillibuster-proof super-majority in the Senate, and their complete control of the House, the number of long-term unemployed in America has grown to a record number not seen since the Great Depression. The number of people receiving unemployment assistance has also grown to a record number never seen in all the years statistics have been recorded.
We got the change, all right. The problem is that it is the “Buddy, can you spare a dime” sort of change.
What is ironic about this use of fudged numbers to conceal exactly how bad joblessness in America is currently, is that the same economist who criticized this practice under Bill Clinton and George Bush in 2003 now works as <a href=”http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/austan_goolsbee/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=austan%20goolsbee&st=cse”a top economic advisor for Barack Obama. Yes, Austan Goolsbee, quoted above, now uses those same “cooked” jobless numbers to make the failing Obama policies look good.
Another way of looking at this is that it all depends on what the meaning of “unemployed” is. The lower, 10% jobless rate is what unemployed means if you work in the Obama administration (or are a Democrat up for re-election in 2010 or 2012). The higher, real jobless rate of 22% is what unemployed means if you are an economist who does not work for the Obama administration…or one of those 33,434,730 Americans currently out of work.
The only consolation that can be offered to the millions of uncounted and ignored unemployed people in America suffering in an economy that remains unstimulated is that, come this November, you will be ignored no longer. And through your votes, you’ll have a chance to help a lot of politicans and political hacks an entirely new meaning of the word unemployed.
Those of you in Massachusetts have an opportunity to make your voices heard a lot sooner.