The Numbers Don’t Lie but Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Presidents Do

By Alden L. Benton

The president failed miserably in his first debate performance last week.  Gallup released new polling data today (October 8, 2012) showing, according to Fox News, that “…registered voters overwhelmingly considered Romney the winner of the debate in Denver.  Seventy-two percent gave Romney the win, while 20 percent said Obama did the better job.”

Two days after the presidential debate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its September unemployment numbers.  The number showed a slight improvement, declining from 8.1 per cent in August to 7.8 per cent in September. 

The recent unemployment numbers appear better as the September figures represent the first time unemployment has dropped below eight per cent since the president took office.  The “improvement” in the unemployment rate after Obama’s dismal debate performance, brought charges of manipulation from many on the right.

However, the data are not flawed.  It is the premise behind the data that is flawed.  In fact, the way the government measures and reports unemployment has been flawed for decades in order to present unemployment numbers in a more positive light.

Since the data’s release on Friday (October 5), the president has hit the campaign trail pounding his chest and telling everyone who will listen that his policies are working. 

Last Friday (October 5), CNN reported that the president told a crowd of supporters in Fairfax, Virginia, “Today I believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again.  We’re moving forward.”

Well, Mr. President, we are not moving forward.  Your policies are not working.  The numbers are not an accurate representation of the reality of the U.S. economy and the struggles many Americans face.

In The McJobs Report, Phillip Klein attempts to put the unemployment numbers into their proper perspective. 

Klein says,

During the robust Reagan jobs recovery in the 1980s, liberals regularly dismissed good news by attributing it to the creation of ‘McJobs.’  So it’s interesting to see liberals celebrating the September jobs report, in which the headline unemployment figure fell to 7.8 percent, largely because of an increase in Americans settling for low paying part-time jobs.

One the surface, the data paints a pretty picture.  Employers added 114,000 jobs in September.  However, in a separate survey by the BLS, they claim the economy added 873,000 new jobs. 

When one looks more closely at the data, you can smell the fish.

Klein explains, “…a more detailed look at these numbers shows that 572,000 — or about 67 percent — of the reported job gains that contributed to the reduction in the unemployment rate came from workers who had to settle for part time work.”

According to Klein’s article, the BLS explains that,

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September.  These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Klein says, “This is why a broader measure of unemployment, which takes into account those who were forced to accept inferior jobs, remained flat at 14.7 percent.”

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) August 2012 data brief, The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality,

During the Great Recession, employment losses occurred across the board, but were concentrated in mid-wage occupations.  By contrast, in the recovery to date, employment growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations:

  • Lower-wage occupations constituted 21 percent of recession job losses, but fully 58 percent of recovery growth.
  • Mid-wage occupations constituted 60 percent of recession job losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
  • Higher-wage occupations constituted 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

The NELP chart below illustrates these figures.

None of the numbers above includes the people who have given up looking for work or those whose unemployment benefits have run out before they found a job. 

The true number of unemployed is far worse than the BLS data states.  There are about 13 million unemployed and 6 million more that are no longer counted in the numbers.  The workforce is shrinking, so the unemployment numbers look better, at least to the president.

At a campaign stop last Friday (October 5), Mitt Romney told the crowd that the country “can do better.”  CNN quotes Romney as saying,

There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month.  And the unemployment rate as you noted this year has come down very, very slowly, but it has come down nonetheless.  The reason it has come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work.  So it looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today as on the day the president got elected, why our unemployment rate would be around 11 per cent.

Mr. President, there is nothing that you should be proud of in the data behind the drop in the September unemployment rate.  There is nothing to celebrate when nearly 20 million Americans, almost 15 per cent of the workforce, is not employed.

Once again, the president’s policies have failed and Americans are paying the price.

It is time for real hope and positive change, not the lying hype and pretty words spewed by the president.

Don’t be fooled again.


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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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3 responses to “The Numbers Don’t Lie but Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Presidents Do

  1. In 2004, Democrats were more eager than usual to show that any economic growth under President Bush was paltry and/or irrelevant. They constantly complained that upswings in lower-income jobs were inconsequential because they weren’t “good jobs,” thus Bush was a failure.
    Funny how Democrats look at jobs for “the little guy” as nothing — until they can be argued as reflecting success for their policies or assisting presidential campaigns.
    I guess those “working class” jobs,or people, just didn’t cut it otherwise.
    And did you ever notice that Democrats have nothing but disdain for people with “higher income jobs” for their own sake — unless those “good” jobs are held by dedicated Leftists?
    What Democrats really like is higher income taxation. That’s their measure of what people are really worth … mere political tools for the machine.

  2. I’m not as pessimistic. While it’s true that the recovery rate for jobs is weaker than it has been in previous recessions, the reason for this has been the lagging construction industry, mostly from the lack of people buying new homes.

    And I’m not ready to place blame squarely on the President for the weak recovery either, knowing full well that in order for a bill to make it to the President’s desk requires Congress’ cooperation. I don’t buy the excuses for lack of cooperation. Want to get something done? Agree to some terms through compromise and then stick to it when it comes time to vote for the bill.

    • Hi, FatSquirrel. Glad you’re not pessimistic. It’s always good to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps you’d be glad to know that I’m not completely pessimistic, either. I’m just fighting mad.
      Not mad at you, because you sound like a reasonable person, and that counts for a lot. I agree completely with you in principle that compromise is good, healthy, and the great American way. But your comments in this particular case may indicate that you’re being too nice and too pliable.
      I’m not quite sure what congressional proposals or bills you may be referring to — or how that will spur the kind of economic recovery we’re all looking for. But I do know this: Leftists — and that surely is Obama — don’t believe in compromise, because they are absolutists and unforgiving of the slightest of transgressions. I’ve learned this firsthand, and not just a few times. And everybody who saw how Obamacare was passed — and what was in it (and conveniently not in it) ought to be able to see that, too.
      Here’s one of my signs of a reasonable outlook: the ability to recognize the charging pit bull in front of you — and to know it for what it is and for what it will do if you don’t do something to stave off certain disaster. You don’t have to read its mind; it’s enough to see that its real-world intentions are not conducive to your good health.
      Obama is that pit bull, and cooperation with such a destructive force will only get you … in a world of hurt.
      The construction industry slowdown is only part of the bigger picture. We’re talking about:
      — Overly intrusive government financial policies that discourage and suppress growth. Including construction.
      — Great uncertainty in all areas of the economy, keeping corporations fearful of job expansion (spending money).
      — Lenders and potential borrowers on pins and needles, fearing the consequences of additional heavy-handed tax burdens.
      — Protectionism for banks and unions.
      — Massive cost increases in all areas of the medical-health field (some still hidden but ready to overwhelm the dam, especially when many doctors decide to just quit and employers have no choice but to stop handling health care programs.
      — Shameless class warfare on all business, especially small (personal/family) businesses.
      — Mad Hatter money-printing schemes that are dead certain to take America off the fiscal cliff — sooner than many realize.
      — The openly admitted goal of destroying the dollar in favor of some global-based currency. Timothy Geithner is the Rasputin of this concern.
      And …
      — The least reasonable (as in willingness to compromise), most rapacious power machine that America has ever seen.
      That’s Obama the pit bull. And that’s not even the whole story.
      Pessimistic? No, just realistic. We can trip up the pit bull, then bag it and take it to the pound. But we had better act while we have the chance.
      Me? I won’t give in or stop fighting until we can rip the greedy claws of Obama (and all the Leftist destroyers) away from our throats.
      I think that’s pretty reasonable.
      I’m always glad to find new friends. But I’m going to hold to American principles and values regardless — no compromise there.

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