The Unemployment Numbers Don’t Add Up | Personal Branding Blog - Stand Out In Your Career


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  • The Unemployment Numbers Don’t Add Up

    I am a motivational author, trainer, and blogger… but when disinformation and miscommunication are released by the government to hide the truth, someone has to speak out!  The latest unemployment rate, according to the government, fell from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent last month.  Hogwash !

    Either the data is inaccurate or the government better find an accurate and truthful method of measuring the “unemployment and underemployment misery rate” (BLS U6)!

    photo credit: Shadowstats.comNBC News reported on February 4th that only 36,000 new jobs were added in January. This is a troubling number given we have 14+ million unemployed Americans and 25+ million unemployed, underemployed, and those who have given up looking for jobs.  And where did the minimal 36,000 jobs come from?  What industries?  What jobs?  At what pay?  They don’t tell us that!

    And while we’re at it, how many jobs were lost?  How many people have given up looking for jobs?  How many Americans are off the unemployment radar because they don’t receive unemployment checks any more?  And how many people were terminated and ineligible and/or didn’t collect unemployment and thus, aren’t counted? One thing is for sure, no one believes the employment situation in America is improving – unless they live in Fantasyland!

    Fox, CNN, NBC, and CNBC

    Fox News reported that the government is now tracking people who have been out of work for as long as 5 years; something that’s never been done before.  CNN reports that the average length of time it takes to secure a job today is just over nine months… an all-time record !

    “We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression,” said Heidi Shierholtz of the Economic Policy Institute. “Having this severe job loss that’s lasted for this long has translated into unprecedented lengths of unemployment.”

    Reginald Richardson, PhD, of the family Institute at Northwestern University was interviewed on NBC Nightly News, February 4, 2011, and claimed that the jobless problem is leading to a host of other societal problems. “As a result of unemployment we see greater related symptoms like rage, depression, self doubt, and a sense of hopelessness.”

    Steve Liesman, CNBC Senior Economic Analyst doesn’t view the “statistics” or government data as altogether accurate. “Though this is the lowest unemployment rate we’ve had in two years, it is primary due to people not collecting unemployment and people who are discouraged and have given up looking for jobs.   They don’t show up in the statistics.  We were looking for 134,000 new jobs in January and got 36,000.  Jobs in the business sector are underperforming but what is really surprising is a persistent decline in government jobs.”

    The bad news doesn’t seem to affect Wall Street at all.  This is because Wall Street knows that corporate growth and earnings, at least in the short term, doesn’t need lower unemployment numbers.  So long as automation and outsourcing control costs, and there is an international market in addition to our domestic market to maintain revenues, profits will be solid as well… for now.

    What is the REAL unemployment rate?

    Mary Engel of MSN Money says, “When the underemployed and the discouraged are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 16.6%.  And the truth is, even this 16.6% doesn’t include the broader measure of unemployment or fully capture how difficult the job market is for U.S. workers. It doesn’t include self-employed workers whose incomes have shriveled. It doesn’t look at former full-time employees who have accepted short-term contracts, without benefits, and at a fraction of their former salaries. And it doesn’t count the many would-be workers who are going back to school, taking on more debt, in hopes that advanced degrees will improve their chances of landing jobs.”

    Is it outright manipulation of Americans,
    or just egregious patronizing of the public at large?

    John Williams, of Shadow Government Statistics (shadowstats.com) says, “You can see the problem almost immediately with the “official” numbers touted by Washington and the talking heads on television. Most mainstream news you watch or read will provide information only on the U3 (Traditional tracking based on those on the unemployment roles).  They stop short of going to the next BLS number, referred to as the U6 (That includes the broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment).” Williams runs numbers each month, and according to his most recent report, he claims, “we are actually hovering at around 19.8% or higher.”

    We can’t fix what we can’t measure, and we can fix what is measured incorrectly.

    I have been in the employment industry for over 20 years and can say with absolute certainty that the “unemployment numbers don’t add up.”  We are in crisis.

    To properly fix the “lack-of-quality-jobs” problem, the public must demand that 1) we are told the truth about the employment crisis and 2) a comprehensive, collaborative plan is developed and implemented to restore manufacturing jobs and create / expand industries which are labor intensive.

    Author:

    Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach.  Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill).  He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com

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    Posted in authors corner, Career Development, Job Search, news, Recruitment
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    3 comments on “The Unemployment Numbers Don’t Add Up
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Rp Mickler says:

      Great post – glad to see others using critical thinking skills with these numbers; explored exact same issue last month on my blog – http://reinventwork.com/the-plight-of-the-marginally-attached-worker/ … Same observation and sources. I wonder how long we’ll tolerate the error in this reporting? Best wishes – R

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Mary H Ruth says:

      Good points you make, Jay. But I’m wondering about your second imperative. We have moved away from manufacturing in the past few decades for a variety of reasons, and I suspect that nostalgia for how it used to be is not a healthy solution. It’s not that we must bring back the factories; rather we must educate so that high-skill demands can be met. There’s plenty of work to be done, but it’s not easy to find the appropriately trained workforce. We’re being challenged to learn new skills, not to go back to some supposed rosy past.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Tom Crouser says:

      I too have been troubled by the seeming irrationality of the unemployment reports. A great deal of it has to do not only with what you mention but the definition of the workforce in the first place. That changes when people get discouraged and drop out.

      I’ve wondered why we didn’t try to measure against a harder number of population. Sure, that’s a moving target too, but a projection on how many total people are in the US is a more sure number than how many are in the workforce. The percentages would come down, of course since there’s a higher base; but it would seem to give a better sense of unemployment.

      Anyway, to say the least, measurement of the unemployment rate is tricky. Thanks for your article.

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