Rick Manning: The “Big Lie” Behind Barack Obama’s Unemployment Rate

JOBLESS RATE “ADJUSTMENTS” DISTORT REALITY … || By RICK MANNING || The unemployment numbers got weird in January as they jumped dramatically across the board.  The household data for January 2015 was revised, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to “reflect updated population estimates.” In a nutshell, the underlying assumptions…


rick manning|| By RICK MANNING || The unemployment numbers got weird in January as they jumped dramatically across the board.  The household data for January 2015 was revised, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to “reflect updated population estimates.”

In a nutshell, the underlying assumptions the government uses in the survey of approximately 50,000 households were changed due to a recalibration of how many people are in the total population, what age groups they are in, along with other considerations.

Here is how it works: The survey makes assumptions based on Census data about how many people are in the overall population and the workforce, and over time those assumptions get adjusted based upon new data.  These changes adjust the gender, racial and age composition of those answering questions about their employment status. Even very modest changes in what percentage of different population groups get asked questions can create seemingly incoherent shifts in the data when compared to the previous, unadjusted months and years.

Eventually, BLS adjusts the previous months based upon a statistical formula to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons on month-to-month data.

On top of the statistical adjustments made to January’s survey data, BLS also uses its normal seasonal adjustment formulas which attempt to level out the data to eliminate the glaring impacts of kids going to school and leaving the workforce in September, or the normal elimination of temporary Christmas employees once the decorations are down.

With all of those considerations in mind, it is almost impossible to draw any conclusions from the January unemployment report, as the December to January data that is presented use different sampling criteria.

With all the statistical changes in the data, it gives particular pause to read Gallup Organization CEO Jim Clifton’s column on the unemployment rate and its methodology where he writes, “There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.”

In deriding the official unemployment rate, Clifton points to the fact that those who have left the workforce even if they are of working age are not counted as unemployed.  He points to the unfair categorization of a person trained to be an engineer working as a fry cook as being employed rather than underemployed …

(To continue reading this piece, press the “Read More …” icon below).

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government – and a former U.S. Labor Department official.  Follow him on Twitter @RManning957.  This piece (reprinted with permission) originally appeared on NetRightDaily.com.

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recalibration required February 11, 2015 at 11:14 am

How do they count Smirks? He is apparently on the ‘payroll’ but posts on Fits all day?
Does that fall under ‘other considerations? :)

flippy's bank account February 11, 2015 at 1:13 pm

flippy boy, you are trolling here all day for haley and republicans, you should know!

Rocky February 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

Here we go again. If you don’t like the numbers, claim their false. So predictable. I guess its possible to have 5% growth in GDP in Q3 with 15% unemployment. Every number published by the Federal government is called a lie by the right wing nuts. Deficit numbers – bogus. Unemployment – a big lie. Trade balance – bull crap. Number of Americans insured – nonesense. Well here’s some numbers – number of funding bills delivered to the White House for Department of Homeland Security – from the GOP controlled Senate and House – ZERO.

obama's boys of summer February 11, 2015 at 11:49 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Little League International has stripped Jackie Robinson West of the national title that the Chicago team won last summer after an investigation revealed it had falsified boundaries to field ineligible players.

In a stunning Wednesday announcement that came months after the all-black team, whose ages ranged from 11 to 13 years, captured the attention of the country and the hearts of its hometown, the baseball organization said it also found that after the league had changed the boundaries, some team officials went to surrounding leagues to convince them to go along with what they’d done.

Just like the unemployment numbers and voter registrations in the inner cities…”falsified”! Oh well. Democrats train em young to lie,cheat and steal.

Rocky February 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

And that’s relevant how? Flip – I’m a little short on time to kick your @$$ today. Get to the point.

come on rock! February 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm

I think i understand what that dude is saying Rocky.
Liberalism is based on lies and falsehoods.Cheating and lying is the only way to try and sustain the myth…
It eventually all tumbles down…ask brian williams…

Rocky February 11, 2015 at 12:26 pm

And this is related to the unemployment numbers how? I got meetings this afternoon. I’ll check back later.

man of 1000 masks February 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

flippy boy is out of his league, he has no clue, why bother?

Jack February 11, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Republicans hate facts. They always turn out bad for Republicans. Facts must be biased against Republicans.

Mark Petereit February 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics January report:

There are 249,723,000 people in the civilian non-institutional population.
143,526,000 of them are employed.
249,723,000 – 143,526,000 = 106,197,000 people not employed, or 42.5%.

See http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Bible Thumper February 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Yes, but the civilian non-institutional population includes all 16 and 17 yearolds, all college students, all stay at home moms, all disabled and all retirees not in a nursing home. Basically, it’s everyone 16 and over not in prison, the military or nursing home.

The article good until it gets to Jim Clifton. Yes there are flaws in the labor statistics and using only the unemployment rate has limited value but they are widely discussed in the media and here at fits. No big revelation.

One important point made by Manning was about not comparing December and January data. Last year’s data may change based on new Census Bureau data from the Community survey. I believe that update is going to be released on March 4.

Mark Petereit February 12, 2015 at 5:52 am

So? I had full-time jobs when I was 16 and 17, while I was a college student (someone had to pay my tuition, they didn’t give Pell Grants away like candy then), one of those jobs was consulting as a data analyst for a quadriplegic attorney who probably worked twice as many hours as I did, and right now the highest earner on Etsy is a stay-at-home mom.

The point is, that right now, 42.5% of Americans aren’t working, yet the “official” unemployment is 5-something%? Give me a break!!

Bible Thumper February 12, 2015 at 6:47 am


The link above shows the employment rate. When you look at the from date it is at 2005 on my smart phone. You can change it to any year from 1948 onward and click the go button. The highest it ever reached was 64.7% on April 2000. This does not show how many are part time or employed in jobs below their qualification, but if this number recovers, I suspect that those problems will recover somewhat with it.

The rate is currently 59.3%. You can see from the chart that we haven’t come close to recovery. The pre-recession average was about 63%. The lowest it got was 58.2% in July 2011. So, we had as much as a 4.8% drop and are currently 3.7% below pre-recession levels.

Multiplying by the current Civilian non- inst. Population gives us 249,723,000×03.7% = 9,239,751.That’s how many jobs are missing. But there has been some recovery. At 4.8% down there were 249,723,000×0.048 = 11,986,704 jobs missing. So we have recovered 2,746,953 jobs. That represents 2,746,953÷11,986,704
=0.2291666667 or 22.9% recovery. We have a long way to go yet.

Obama's depression February 12, 2015 at 8:03 am

Oh my!! Rocky will be on a suicide watch today when he learns REAL unemployment is 42.5%.

Thomas McFreeman February 12, 2015 at 11:17 am

The American people need to begin their transition from
being an employee to becoming self-employed/entrepreneur. Job losses due to
outsourcing and globalization will continue and the invasion of robots and
machines (automation) has begun to further destroy jobs.

Author “The Art of Debt Guerrilla Warfare, how to beat debt collectors when your back
is against the wall.”


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