Letters to the Editor

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JOBS: What’s the real unemployment rate?

Letter by Ora Clark, Federal Way on Aug. 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm | 165 Comments »
August 31, 2012 3:57 pm

Re: “Few workers laid off find jobs” (TNT, 8-25).

The article stated that 56 percent of the people (6.1 million) laid off between January 2009 and December 2011 had failed to find jobs. What effect did those 3.4 million people have on the unemployment rate?

Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I found that the 56 percent cited had contributed 2.4 percent to the reported 9.1 percent unemployment rate, a quite significant figure.

But the most disturbing part of this research was that the unemployment rate is entirely dependent on your definition of labor force and unemployment. In fact the BLS reports six different rates, the 9 percent being what is referred to as the U3 report.

I believe a more realistic value is the U6 report, which gives a rate of 15 percent. But even this figure is flawed since the U6 does not include workers who have given up and are no longer looking for work. Other experts put the real unemployment rate at or near 22 percent.

Why not report the real unemployment rate? Both political parties have a vested interest in publishing the lowest believable figure. The higher it is, the lower the consumer confidence; lower consumer confidence leads to less spending and the deeper the recession will go.

One more case of government manipulation. A pox on both houses.

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