I’m going to let you in on a little secret about unemployment numbers… the numbers you’re hearing both from the media and from the White House about how strong the job market is… are fudged.
When you hear about unemployment claims being below 5%, you’re really not seeing the TRUE numbers of people out of work. All you’re seeing are the number of people applying for unemployment benefits. That’s the only way that our government can measure unemployment. They measure it by those signing up for government benefits and the companies that report the people who are hired (which they have to in order to pay the taxes on them).
But here’s the catch: unemployment benefits are not eternal! If you’re out of work and you file a claim for unemployment benefits, then you have a finite period of time before those benefits disappear, and you have to PROVE that you’re out there every day looking for work! You can’t just say “I’m unemployed” and get a check. You have to WORK to find WORK!
So what happens if you go through the finite period of time and you still can’t find work, no matter how hard you try? Well then you’re OFF the dole. You’re cut off from the money AND you’re off the unemployment roles.
In other words, the government PRESUMES that you are working, even though you aren’t!
So when you have enough people who can’t find a job get removed from the dole, the “unemployment” number goes DOWN, and politicians pat themselves on the back and take credit for “IMPROVING” the economy, when, in fact, nothing has really been improved!
Don’t surf away yet! It gets better!
The people who claim unemployment benefits may not be NEWLY unemployed! They could have lost their jobs several weeks, months, or even a YEAR or two previously and have been living off severance pay or early retirement packages. They could have been on disability and ended up losing their jobs because of it. The money ran out, and now they need to get help from the government.
So when the media claims that “more companies are laying off people” simply because the unemployment numbers are going UP, that’s really not the TRUTH. Likewise, when politicians claim that “the economy is going well” simply because unemployment numbers are going DOWN, that’s not really the TRUTH either.
In short, people, you can’t really count on the unemployment numbers to be a measurement of the strength of the economy! All you’re counting there are government payouts.
A more accurate measurement would be the number of layoffs, plant closings, plant opening, and new hires. Anytime a company outsources its services, you’re talking layoffs. Anytime a company relocates to a new area, the old place will experience layoffs and the new place will experience new hires.
But then again, that takes a valuable source of PR power AWAY from the politicians, and they don’t like having that happen, do they?