Gallup: 5.6% Unemployment is a Big Lie

I didn’t say it, Jim Clifton, Gallup’s CEO did.

Specifically, he says that he hears all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.”

The reason: “The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.” It doesn’t capture the true angst in the job market.

The crux of his argument centers on a “good jobs” metric: the ratio of full-time workers to the total adult population.

That ratio dropped about 5 percentage points during the recession and has recouped only about one of those 5 percentage points.

That’s not good.


Clifton brings those numbers to life in his opinion piece …


First, if a person is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if they are so hopelessly out of work that they’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count them as unemployed.

Right now, Clifton says “as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed.”

Second, “if you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager and you perform at least one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed.”

Third, many are working part time but wanting full-time work. “If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed – but not unemployed.”

Fourth, as the numbers above suggest, the recession killed off a lot of good jobs full-time and they just haven’t come back.

Of course there might be a bounce back … now that  “full-time” has been defined down to 30 hours.


I think Clifton has good points, but I wonder what he hopes to gain by poking the Administration in the eye.

Didn’t he see what happened to S&P when the downgraded the bloated U.S. debt?

Silly man.



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2 Responses to “Gallup: 5.6% Unemployment is a Big Lie”

  1. Los Says:

    Really? This is beginning to be pathetic and stinks to cowardice. “I didn’t say it, Jim Clifton, Gallup’s CEO did.”

    What kind of stupidity will be highlighted next and presented as fact?

    I would expect that a “distinguished” Professor would use his blog and this anecdote as a teaching opportunity to let his students know that there are several measures the BLS follows. Unfortunately, sounds like he’d rather use his blog as a place for rather ignorant rants.

  2. Andrew L. Says:

    *sigh* As much as I hate to feed a troll, you just have to love an ignorant rant in response to the perception of an ignorant rant.

    Yes, BLS tracks several unemployment figures. That said, the number that BLS chooses to publicize is the U3 rate. This is evidenced by its notation as “the official rate” and by its inclusion in the body of the monthly press release and not just the tables.

    The point of the post and the source article is that U3 is no longer an accurate measure of employment in the United States. Since labor force participation is down to levels not seen since 1977, and continuing to trend down. Moreover, U.S. wage growth (adjusted) has averaged 3.6% since 1980, but just .9% since 2009, and just 1.4% in the most recent full year.

    So, since BLS knows that U3 is artificially sunny, but continues to use it as the primary descriptor of labor market health, is that not misleading? Maybe they just misremembered.

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