FEBRUARY 25, 2015

'Falling unemployment' not a cause for celebration

30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed
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WASHINGTON, DC – The falling unemployment numbers should be cause for merriment but it's hard to find enough people who are happily employed these days, at least not enough to put together a decent celebration, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Weber said "that's because, as Jim Clifton, chairman of the respected Gallup polling organization, painfully pointed out in an opinion article recently: the weekly Department of Labor unemployment statistics are 'a big lie'."

The latest rate of unemployment is reportedly hovering around 5.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and "that's no lie," Weber added.  "But it is deceiving.  It makes it sound as if the country is getting back to normal when in fact, the Obama Recession has established a new normal, one in which part time jobs take the place of real jobs.  If they had used the real unemployment rate, it would be more like 11.3 percent."

Weber said "Clifton's statistics-scandal expose revealed that the government has also been committing a grievous sin of omission in its employment reports: they don't count those poor souls who have stopped looking for work because there are no decent jobs to be found."

Here's how it works, according to the top executive at Gallup:" If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job – if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks – the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news – currently 5.6 percent. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast 'falling' unemployment."

At a bare minimum, a good job is one that offers more than 30 hours a week and a decent, regular paycheck and right now those kinds of jobs are rarer than ever.  Only about 44 percent of the jobs that are out there meet those criteria.

On an ironic note, earlier this week the administration's State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was seen on MSNBC floating the idea of pursuing what might be a new strategy in the war on Islamic Terrorism.  She wasn't allowed to use the term "Islamic Terrorism," of course, but she did say that rather than killing the enemy we might try finding a way of providing them with jobs.

Quipped Weber: "Make jobs, not war.”