As my readers should already know, I comment on the economic news as it comes out on a monthly basis. One thing that’s always irked me is just how massaged the numbers are. No, I’m not saying that the government outright lies, but I do mean that they gaslight the American public with numbers that are purposefully misleading. Every month, for example, job numbers are released and the media dutifully reports them with their own slants.
The first problem with the job numbers is that they don’t discriminate between a part time job and a full time job. Numbers for new jobs generated by industry and sector is possible, but how many of those jobs are actually full time versus part time take a lot more digging. Worse still is that the American public lacks the basic fundamental understanding necessary to put the job numbers into their proper contexts.
Far worse, however, than the raw job number itself is the “official unemployment number“, technically known as the U-3 unemployment number. Now, this is an issue that’s argued to death, so I’ll keep it brief. The “official” number’s main problem is that it ignores people who have given up, and also those who are working in part time jobs only so they can fend off the bill collectors. In short, it hides situations that any reasonable human being would recognize as being bad, likely having been in those situations themselves, thus knowing how tough it can be.
All of the stuff that stains the jobs report is bleached out, until only a couple of data points, robbed of any and all context, remain. So the what the American public hears is so many jobs were created, and the unemployment number, which doesn’t really signify anything meaningful, did or didn’t change. Can the American people truly be informed, if the only information that they have is less than worthless? Clearly, the answer is no.
The primary reason for releasing these numbers in the first place is to inform the American public of just how things are going, so the American public an have informed discussions about the state of the economy within the political climate. For example, of the 255,000 jobs created in July, 38,000 were part-time and 45,000 were in “hospitality“ positions, basically wait staff and bartenders. Additionally, people working in part time positions because of slack economic conditions increased by 150,000 people.
Even with all of this, however, the job number was over 200,000, which is a healthy job number under normal circumstances. The problem comes when we realize that the economy is being pumped full of stimulus programs that, under an actual healthy job environment, would be pushing job growth to above 500,000 new jobs a month. Needless to say, these programs wouldn’t even be in place in a healthy economy.
It’s not enough to know how many jobs are being created and how fast the economy is growing, because that’s just smoke and mirrors. What the American people need to know is that the Obama Administration has the pedal all the way to the floor board, and all it can manage is normal job growth and slow economic growth. They need to know the whole truth, both the good and the bad.
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