The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been calculating the Unemployment Rate every month since January 1948. During Bill Clinton’s first year in office, his administration cooked up a new category called Discouraged Workers (jobless American who want work, but have stopped looking because the job market is so bad). Since January 1994, the BLS has been EXCLUDING these jobless workers from the official Unemployment Rate.
Common sense would dictate that Discouraged Workers be tracked as a subset of the Unemployed, not excluded like they were somehow not unemployed anymore. But since when do Democrats ever use common sense? Clinton’s statistical chicanery has had a really screwy side-effect that Democrats exploit to their political benefit:
- When the economy is BAD, more people become discouraged enough to quit looking so the BLS moves them from Unemployed to Discouraged. Net result: The Unemployment Rate goes DOWN.
- When the economy IMPROVES, more people become encouraged enough to start looking for work again so the BLS moves them from Discouraged to Unemployed. Net result: The Unemployment Rate goes UP.
This allows the Lamestream Media to spin the monthly jobless reports in a way that most benefits Democrats. Since it’s been Obama in the Oval Office during our latest period of historically bad joblessness, the MSM trumpets each “improved” Unemployment Rate report as yet another sign of Teh Won’s wonderfulness.
And if you happen to mention that Obama is the first president to create more than a MILLION jobless workers too depressed to get off the couch, then you’re a dirty RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST TEA BAGGER
If the economy were to improve under Obama (not holding my breath), the Unemployment Rate would rise, at which point the talking heads would carefully explain to us at great length and with lots of experts and charts that it was because Discouraged Workers were now re-entering the job market, so woohoo Obama!
BLS: Unemployment Rate @ http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000.
The official (but faux) “total unemployment” rate used for media and political sound bytes and headlines. This statistic is reported as a percent of the employable population, which includes civilian, non-institutionalized Americans ages 16 and over, so basically not soldiers, jailbirds or children. The total employable population number changes.
BLS: Discouraged Workers @ http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNU05026645.
This statistic is reported as an actual number of individuals, not as a percent of employable population, making it very difficult to correlate with the Unemployment Rate.
NOTE: These time series pages are easy to use, but really hard to find at the BLS website. If you want to access them again, bookmark them.
H/t itooktheredpill for my bookmarks!
P.S., If it makes you angry that the tax-funded Bureau of Labor Statistics has been corrupted by Democrats, join the club.