Comments about ‘Tea Leaf: 8.2 percent or 11.3 percent unemployment?’

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Published: Wednesday, April 11 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

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Durham, NC

Jeff, this is probably one of the weakest arguments yet. The constant attempts to invalidate the unemployment numbers only shows desperation. You can't distort the current numbers by adding in factors that were not included in earlier calculations - to even have a reasonable attempt to measure a number of time. There are many ways to look at numbers and mix matching them only distorts history.

There are more significant factors influencing the total number of people "looking" for work. For example, if you look at married households, the number married of men in the workforce from 1971 to 2011 has grown by 49.2%. Over the same period, the number of married females in the workforce has grown 114.5%. In 1971, the percentage of households being supported by dual incomes was far lower than today. Unemployment measured at the household level tells a far different story. A dual income household loosing one income impacts differently than a single income household loosing its only income.

That is why an unemployment rate of today of 8.2% if far different that 5.9% 30 years ago. 1971 Labor participation rate was 60.1%. Peak rate, 1998 at 67.2%.

Colorado Springs, CO

Wonder if Jeff did this same calculation while Bush was president, or anyone else was president. And the "real" unemployment rate is....blah, blah, blah.

Durham, NC

What is sad about this is this is being promoted by a "respected" paper.... not some hack web blogger. You would think they would have more integrity then to play partisan games like this, but I guess not. An honest piece would have done as scribe and looked at this same measure of a larger period of time to see what the trend line really is - not convenient snap shots. Thats the kind of stuff campaigns do, not real journalist.


Thredgold continues to insist that the decrease in the unemployment rate is because workers have left the labor force because they have become "discouraged" in looking for work. However, he never actually checks the number of discouraged workers--a figure that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks. If he were to take the time to examine the data, he would discover that the number of discouraged workers has shown steady declines over the past year.

To be considered "unemployed," one must be looking for work. However, the bar is set very low. What does it say about an individual who can't even check the internet once in the last four weeks for job openings? It tells me they are hardly in desperate need of employment.

Hayden, ID

Do you remember when under President Bush, unemployment dropped to an all time low of just over 5% and the liberals whined, “yes but they are hamburger flipper jobs”. These same liberals are elated now that there are ANY jobs and suddenly “hamburger flipper jobs are wonderful and prove that Obama’s policies are working” even though real unemployment is double what it was under President Bush! Its amazing what Americans are willing to accept for leadership isn’t it?

Mark from Montana
Aurora, CO

As one who has been looking for work, I fully understand how bleak the job picture is today. Yes, there is no doubt it is better than it was a year ago, but too often, journalists focus only on the 'main' number give by Washington, not the whole picture. Journalism today is about regurgitating what the reporter hears, not about digging in a given all the information. Woodward and Bernstein would not be able to do today what they did in the 70's. When I see an article that at least tries to go a bit more in-depth, I applaud the effort. Is this reporter a bit biased, yeah, I think his conservative side comes out, just as it does in most reporting today.

The sad fact is that most 'journalists' today were never taught the Joe Friday method of reporting, 'Just the facts' instead it is 'Don't cloud your opinion with the facts.'

Centerville, UT

Libs can proclamate that the economy is great, but businesses & Americans are not buying the message. There is palpable
hesitancy about the economy, & stress at homes over income, bills & employment. Despite improving employment numbers, if polled, Americans would not say they believe their situation is strong or better than 4 or 6 years ago. Obama & Libs would simplify the disconnect by lowering the bar, "we just have to get used to a lower standard of living & the end of American dominance & leadership in the world.

Americans want more than setting the bar lower. And Americans don't really believe the campaign propaganda in the media that the economy is great.

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