Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older. We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America’s middle class.There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

“The number of full-time jobs, and that’s what everybody wants, as a percent of the total population, is the lowest it’s ever been… The other thing that is very misleading about that number is the more people that drop out, the better the number gets. In the recession we lost 13 million jobs. Only 3 million have come back. You don’t see that in that number. “

Of course there are many of us who have known this forever.

  1. Phydeau says:

    You’re right, this “official” unemployment rate is BS. Google “the real unemployment rate” for the bigger picture. The “U-6” rate gives a better picture, from what I’ve read.

    Rs and Ds have both used this “official” rate for years to spin the news, so let’s see if the wingnuts can restrain themselves from bashing Obama… 🙄

    • sheesh says:

      And then you defend the man that constantly lies to you…..sheesh.

  2. Leaping Lizzards says:

    About all I can say is…


    But go ahead and “believe” whatever you want to believe. Sooner or later the TRUTH WILL HURT!!! (Some of us call this phenomenon the result of rampant stupidity.)

  3. admfubar says:

    and more than likely it is even worse then what this report states.. (dont have the time right now to go through the article)

    all these unemployment figures usually dont count prisoners… surprise!

  4. Marc Pugner says:

    although i do agree that the way we arrive at the unemployment number is problematic, i have to point out that this is the number that has always been used. i’m all for the idea that the number should be more honest like the U-6, but lets be clear that the change would mean comparing apples to oranges post-change.

    • spsffan says:

      Yes, unfortunately that’s true. But they did the same thing with horsepower ratings and we got over it.

      The reason we use the reported unemployment rate is that historically (and now for that matter) it is far, far easier to determine and calculate accurately. Those who have stopped looking for work don’t report to the unemployment offices. Back when everything was pencils and punch cards, the only reasonable way to come up with a figure every month was using data from those offices.

      About the only way to count the rest is by something like phone surveys and I’m extremely suspect of them.

  5. Buffalo Thunder says:


    The same analysis rolls out from whichever half of the politically-obedient duo is socially challenged – through every recession since Nixon changed the basic equation.

  6. ECA says:

    I Love Percentages with no BASe number to tell What the numbers are..
    So lets take a few guesses..
    IF’ 1/3 of the USA was working that would mean, that 1 person works to feed 3..Self, Wife, and child..That would be about 100,000,000 working.
    IF’ 1/4 of the USA was working that would mean that 1 person works to feed 4 people, Self, Wife, 2 children, and the working people would number 75,000,000.
    IF’ 1/5…..60,000,000 would be the working class, and 1 person would feed themselves and 4 other people..

    UNDER 18 23%
    Over 65 14%
    Total 37%
    Lets add 10% handicapped to cover misc people NOT working..

    So lets estimate that 50% of the USA is considered working Class..150,000,000

    Corps LOVE cutting corners..Cut hours, Cut medical, Cut taxes, cut this that and the other thing..
    10% unemployed is 10-15,000,000..
    But can we add to this the jobs that DONT pay enough…The cost of living is estimated at $20-30,000 minimum…That is $10-15 per hour 40 hours per week..
    TRY to pay for a home that is big enough for a family..
    Then try to supply food
    Pay bills..

  7. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

    “Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: ………..” ///

    That would be true for just about *any* fact you can find. Eg: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    Eg: Who is the Vice President?

    Eg: What makes the tides go in and out? (No one knows.)

    Its a “statistic.” All statistics meaningless until you study them. If you don’t, you can say/think/post something astonishingly stupid like: when doctors go on strike, the death rate does down.

    Hmmmm….the unemployment rate: number of people of working age (divided by) the number of people working? Should be very easy to compute……but I’m not a mathmetician or a statistician. I don’t see the “why” of it entering into the baseline computation.

    Always more fun when the roller coaster is going up?

    • Mr. Connery says:

      Eg: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
      47 mph.

      Eg: Who is the Vice President?
      Joseph Biteme.

      Eg: What makes the tides go in and out?

      I’ll take “Japan US Relations” for $200.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

        Very good Mr Connery. You should lead all discussions here, but be careful as all indications are that one or more moderators already have a man crush on you.

  8. MikeN says:

    Lowest workforce participation rate in a long, long, long time.

  9. Phydeau says:

    In other news, ISIS is alienating even other enemies of the US by their barbarous and cruel actions:


    Apparently, burning someone alive is forbidden in Islam.

    Hussam Ayloush, the director of CAIR in Los Angeles, noted, as many Islamic clerics have, that ISIS should not even be compared to Islam, as it does not fit the category of an Islamic group, but rather a “murderous terrorist cult.”


    And even Muslim leaders sympathetic to the jihadist cause said the act of burning a man alive and filming the killing would damage Islamic State, which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.
    Abu Sayaf, a Jordanian Salafist cleric who spent almost ten years in Jordanian prisons for militant activity, including a plot to attack U.S. troops, said: ‘This weakens the popularity of Islamic State because we look at Islam as a religion of mercy and tolerance. Even in the heat of battle, a prisoner of war is given good treatment.’

    So the US should just lay off ISIS and let the Muslim world take them out. And let’s not be fooled into thinking ISIS represents all Muslims.

    • MikeN says:

      ISIS and Iran are fighting each other, and the other Arab countries hate Iran.
      Meanwhile both ISIS and Iran are trying to attack Israel. Iran is working with Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the point where Israel killed one of Iran’s generals in the Golan Heights, and Obama complained about it.
      ISIS is trying to occupy the long Jordanian border.

  10. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

    Phydeau being lazy, or one step behind, says: “And let’s not be fooled into thinking ISIS represents all Muslims.” /// No one has ever said that. It the straw man false argument that every side applies to the other sides. Very much related to the OP: What most even intelligent people don’t know….and the language that is used to manipulate us all.

    I say: don’t fall for it.

    Watching the news…seems everyone is buying into the notion that Wallstreet being healthy is good for America. Clue: it isn’t. And most intelligent people don’t know that either. Wallstreet (.1%) is NOT THE ECONOMY where we (99%) work, live, love, and die.

    The .9%?==variable.

    Fun to watch Religious Thinking, Non-Thinking, Science Denial, Group Think, Social Memes, going on….all around us.

    ……………hmmmmm……… Silly Hoomans.

    • Phydeau says:

      Hell no bobbo, I know that ISIS doesn’t represent all Muslims. That was just a whack on the side of the head to the wingnuts here and everywhere who are hysterically fearful of ISIS invading their hometown and forcing their mom to wear a burkha. 🙂

      • sheesh says:

        You are the wingnut…just you. Sheesh, even bobbo the idiot figured it out.

      • Phydeau says:

        Note that Fox News is the only network to show the video of ISIS burning that guy. Gotta keep the wingnuts in a tizzy, after all.


      • MikeN says:

        Yes, Phydeau and Obama assure us, just wait 1000 years and the Muslims will be fine.

        • Phydeau says:

          Nice try, but no one’s saying that. One of the things I’m saying is don’t judge all Muslims by ISIS (see why I threw that in there bobbo?) just like we don’t judge all Christians by the nutty and violent ones.

          Treat terrorists like criminals, whether they’re home grown or foreign. Don’t make the problem worse by shitting on all Muslims because a few nutcases who claim to be Muslims commit terrorist acts.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

            I agree what you posted “can” be read that way…so…I will just note that sarcasm and irony and mockery does not often come across the tubes. I think such meaning gets caught in right angle bends.

            I find it most interesting that we don’t even have the vocabulary to talk about this subject….what subject?…well thats the subject: The force of Islam in the Modern World? ((ie–not the world of 1000 years ago that Obama totally f*cked up 2 days ago)).

            First issue: when one talks about X and then Extremist X in the same paragraph, is the “same” group of people being talked about?

            In either case, that would be the “difference” of two comparated things. Now………………………….. the nub:
            WHAT ARE THE SIMULARITIES between X and extreme X? ie–how do they interplay with one another?

            Here’s a base line: when X is fighting Extreme X then they have a lot of important DIFFERENCES. and…… when X and Extremist X are not fighting one another…. not a lot of differences.

            AND====when X compliments, admires, and give awards to Extremist X–there really isn’t any significant difference between them at all. X is actually “prepartory Extremist X.”

            That is a general rule. You fill in the X.

        • MikeN says:

          Obama’s response to ISIS’s burning of a Jordanian pilot was to talk about the Crusades.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

            Yep…. worst speech by a President….ever? At least to my recollection. Lots of speeches are “wrong” but this one is “wrong headed.”

            ……..but more to the point…….once one gets off their high horse and recognizes that arguably early Christians were violent as the Muslims are now: so what?

            How should/can that recognition guide our future actions???

            Stupid speech. It will be fun to see how Obama follows it up.

          • Phydeau says:

            “doing the enemy’s work” in my post above is another link, to Newt Gingrich agreeing with Osama Bin Laden.

          • MikeN says:

            And now he says the attack that killed four Jews was just random. Could have been anyone. Jews are about 2.5% of the population of Paris, so it really was just a 1 in 2560000 coincidence that Jews were killed. Nothing to see here.

          • Phydeau says:

            Is that all you got? Really? No response to the main point?

  11. ECA says:

    I still like the thoughts from Corps..
    Lets hire 1 competent person to manage a bunch of Peons..
    WE pay him good money and the rest(that do the work) Little or nothing..LEts even cut them to Part time so we dont have to pay all the taxes and upkeep, medical, Vacation time, Holiday pay,…

  12. ECA says:

    I once had a discussion with a rich person, and his statement..
    “The rich pay more in taxes them the poor..”
    “But they dont buy as much”
    “yes they do, we buy the expensive stuff”
    “But the system is based on Buying power, and How much you buy, not 1 thing. 100,000,000 people will over buy food, cars, Bills, then a rich person EVER could..If they have the money to spend.”
    Rich person Shut up..

  13. Jeremiah's Johnson says:

    A better measure of the economy would be to compare the number of households to the number with 3 car garages with at least one full sized 4×4. That’s the bare minimum for a decent lifestyle.

    (Yes, I know that a 1st world problem, but you have to start with the 1st world so there’s an example to show the rest of the world what they should be aspiring to.)

  14. ECA says:

    The difficulty here comes in the form of HOW MUCH is enough..
    Do you think a person making over $1,000,000 per day, is making enough?
    I really dont think that such a person adds to the economy as much as the PAY equal to his, in lower paid people..
    How many people at $8 per hour is that? In daily wages, 1 person at $1m would be about 17857 $8 workers..
    WHO spends more?
    Those $8 workers wont have much left at the end of the month, after taxes, Food, housing, Electric, gas, Kids, Cable, net, ….
    ITS ALL GONE.. And they havnt had much Beer in that list.
    So those 17857 workers, just SPENT over a million dollars a DAY to survive.. WITH their families..As mentioned above, about the number of workers…That will be about 3-4 people PER worker.
    So that is about 50,000 Surviving on that $1million spent. ANd still very little beer.

    Yes there are corporate people making that much money.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and Green Energy Advocate says:

      Most economic “issues” are not straight lines but rather are curves. Upside down U’s.

      At the start they are beneficial, then they flatten out, then they become damaging to an economy.

      Income concentration is like that.

      Pukes, liebertarians, and the insane don’t recognize this.

      What would be the result of “capping” in one way or another the income of anyone to One Million per year?

      EG–how many Billionaires would stop working?

      For the ones who would stop working, how many people would take their place?

      Yea verily………..silly hoomans.

      • ECA says:

        Which is fun..
        In the old days they used to look for Lower paid top employees..PAy workers on the bottom MORE(to many jobs)..If you didnt they would go somewhere else that would pay..
        NOW the top earners are at the TOP..
        And they want workers on the bottom(to many workers) to take lower wages.

        They cut everything out of the middle and the bottom, leaving workers behind..we fight to get jobs and those on top go play golf.

        The TOP of the banking organizations, work back and forth in more then 1 bank…Wages coming in from all sides. CEO in that bank, Board member in this and that bank..

        I will say again..
        The rich Person may say he pays more taxes, but he does not ADD to the economy, as well as those 50,000 people, below him. You give the poor man more money and he SPENDS IT..

        Which adds to the economy??

  15. Guyver says:

    Presidents love to take credit on lower unemployment figures when things go great and love to blame something else when those figures rise.

    If Presidents had THAT much control, every president would always leave office with a booming economy and recession would never happen. At the end of the day, Presidents have little influence over the U.S. economy nor what a given employer will do other other than how they choose to tax the evil employer.

    Do you suppose ObamaCare is helping or hurting employers?

    • bobbo, are we Men of Science, or Devo says:

      Define helping or hurting employers.

      Explicate what social policy should focus on: help or hurt to employers, employees, taxpayers, service recipients, young, old………..society?


    • Phydeau says:

      America’s largest health care company has presented a brief in favor of the ACA. Why? Because it’s working, for the company and its customers.


      If getting rid of Obamacare is such a good idea, why isn’t corporate America getting behind King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court case designed to demolish the Affordable Care Act? More than 52 different parties have weighed in with briefs in advance of oral arguments on March 4. Of those, 21 have been filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, who claim millions of Obamacare consumers are receiving illegal health insurance subsidies. The groups filing these briefs include libertarian think tanks, pro-life organizations, Christian legal shops, and some conservative Republican legislators. But not a single business group—not the US Chamber of Commerce, not any of the health industry companies and trade groups that opposed the law when it was being drafted—has presented a brief endorsing this lawsuit.

      These outfits are either backing the Obama administration’s attempt to defeat the suit or sitting out this case. Briefs in the case help explain why: Obamacare is working. There’s no better evidence of this than a brief filed on behalf of the government in King by the Hospital Corporation of America, better known as HCA, the largest health care provider in the country (once run by Obamacare foe Florida Gov. Rick Scott). HCA argues that the legal theory advanced by the plaintiffs is “absurd,” but, more importantly, it presents detailed data drawn from its own operations that demonstrate that the health care law is helping patients and the company itself.

      As usual, Republicans and wingnuts (but I repeat myself) are against anything Obama does that might benefit America. Why do they hate America so much? They aren’t trying to get rid of Obamacare because it doesn’t work, they’re trying to get rid of Obamacare because it does work. They’ve based their lives on “government doesn’t work” — to see government actually work will cause so much cognitive dissonance that their little wingnut heads will explode. Not to mention cause Americans to vote against them.

      And of course the corporations are profiting too, which isn’t surprising because Obamacare came out of the right-wing Heritage Foundation in the 90s. Many of us would like to save money and cut out the middlemen (like HCA) and go to single-payer, like every other civilized country in the world. But still, Obamacare is better than nothing. :/

      • Phydeau says:

        It’s kind of fun to see the wingnut/tea party wing of the Republican party battling against the corporate wing. 🙂

      • Phydeau says:

        Anyone? Bueller?

      • Phydeau says:

        Ah well, looks like the “conservatives” have taken their ball and gone home…

  16. bobbo, are we Men of Science, or Devo says:

    Phydeau says:
    2/10/2015 at 10:46 am

    Here’s another viewpoint on this, bobbo… like I have always said, the fundie Christians have the same mindset as the fundie Muslims. /// Fundie Christians==not as many, not as interested in establishing a Caliphate.


    Conservatives are correct that we’re in a global struggle over Islamic violence. /// Close enough.

    But the struggle isn’t between Islam and Christianity. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t. /// Those who use violence to get what they want and those who are attacked. The unavoidable dynamic devoid of analysis.

    Al-Qaida and ISIS can’t conquer the world with 19 hijackers or 20,000 fighters. They need the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. That’s why Osama Bin Laden always framed the conflict between al-Qaida and its targets as a war between Islam and “Crusaders.” /// A quibble that doesn’t appear directly responisve but is in the mix: Crusaders are those who invade Muslim land. Very common/expected response to those who invade your country: fight back. In large degree, it is OUR presence in their country that fuels this disupute. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be there, but lets be realistic?/honest?? Just add it to the Con list of whats wrong with reliance on Big Oil.

    It’s why George W. Bush always stressed that Islam wasn’t our adversary. /// Hes an Oil man and had his lips on the Sultans ass. Not a history professor or deep thinker otherwise.

    And it’s why today’s conservatives, with their anti-Muslim rhetoric and their excuses for the Crusades, are doing the enemy’s work. /// Anti-Muslim, or anti-extremist Muslims? Don’t conflate the two or you are doing Bin Laden’s handiwork.

    • Phydeau says:

      Hey bobbo, google “Dominion Theology” and you’ll find plenty of Christians who want to establish the Christian version of a Caliphate. Who knows how many there are, but you’re right, they’re not as violent… yet.

      I agree with you on the oil thing… we’re messing with them to get their oil, and they’re pissed off. Adds to the mix.

      And it’s why today’s conservatives, with their anti-Muslim rhetoric and their excuses for the Crusades, are doing the enemy’s work. /// Anti-Muslim, or anti-extremist Muslims? Don’t conflate the two or you are doing Bin Laden’s handiwork.

      Exactly, the conservatives are doing Bin Laden’s work by conflating the two. Conservatives are criticizing all Muslims, not just the ones committing violence.

      • bobbo, are we Men of Science, or Devo says:

        Ha, ha……when you have to google an issue, its because you have never heard of them.

        ……….ie……….not a relevant factor.

        • Phydeau says:

          Well bobbo, maybe you have heard of every single issue in the world that is a relevant factor, but I haven’t. I still have some things to learn. 🙂

          • bobbo, are we Men of Science, or Devo says:

            Oh my goodness. I wouldn’t be (obviously) so deprecating of your own skills/knowledge base.

            Indeed………we are………everyman.

            People of average intelligence who are generally informed. If we haven’t even heard of some issue….it is not relevant to most issues.

            Are there exceptions? ((Like the infamous Bilderberg Group? Of Course–society destroying evil cabals of RICH people are always relevant…but they are secret BY Design. Much like the World Bank?))(That was my humor.)

            Its all rather obvious, as most things are. Even you said Dominion Groups were irrelevant. always fun to create disagreement on the basis of agreement?

  17. MikeN says:

    In San Francisco, the people who were bemoaning the impending closure of Borderlands admitted sheepishly that they’d voted for the minimum-wage hike. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses,” one customer said. “I feel sad.”

  18. Traaxx says:

    Great now let’s let all the illegals in so our standard of living and taxation rate can go up up up,, everybody feel better though you’re now diverse and culturally sensitive…..I wonder how the illegals will regard you when they gain control and start passing their own laws………………………………………………I’m sure they’re remember how tolerant, high minded and white you are and be real nice…..Ha, ha, ha, La Ra za, ha



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