Spinning Bad Financial News Into Good
Paul Craig Roberts
Sept 8, 2012
Friday’s payroll jobs report says that 96,000 new jobs were created in August and that the unemployment rate (U.3) fell from 8.3% to 8.1%. As 96,000 new jobs are not enough to keep up with population growth, the decline in the U.3 unemployment rate was caused by 368,000 discouraged job seekers giving up on finding employment and dropping out of the work force as measured by U.3. Discouraged workers are not included in the U.3 measure of unemployment, which makes the measure useless. The only purpose of U.3 is to keep bad news out of the news. the U.3 unemployment rate only measures those who have not been discouraged by the inability to find a job and are still actively seeking employment.
The government produces another unemployment measure, U.6, which includes people who have been discouraged by the inability to find a job and have been out of the work force for less than a year. This measure of unemployment is 14.7%, a number that would get attention if reported.
When the long-term (more than one year) discouraged workers are included, the US unemployment rate is about 22%. In other words, the real US rate of unemployment is almost three times higher than the reported–headline rate–of 8.1%.
What is the purpose of reporting an unemployment rate that is about one-third the real unemployment rate? The only answer is deception through Happy News.