Letters to the Editor

Adding up the unemployment rate

So our wonderful president is beaming as he proclaims that the unemployment rate has dropped below 5 percent. We have to take him for his word, right? But let’s look at the numbers.

By the government’s own acknowledgment, there are approximately 260 million adult men and women in this country that are of working class age. And by the government’s own acknowledgment, there are approximately 94 million adult men and women of working class age that are currently not working. Of course, many of those choose not to work. No one really knows how many people fall into that category. It could be 30, 40, even 50 percent.

Let’s for argument sake say that the number of those not working, who choose to do so, is as high as 65 percent. That leaves 35 percent, or approximately 33 million people who are wanting to work but cannot find a job. That puts the unemployment rate at nearly 13 percent, not the ridiculous 4.9 percent that we are all being told.

But how does the government actually come up with the unemployment rate? Not by hard data. They do so by making random telephone calls and by basically asking two questions: “Are you currently working?” and “If not, are you looking for work?” If you have been unemployed for a long time, could not find a job and have decided to stop looking, you are no longer classified as “unemployed.” Not the way it should be done.

Gerard Luebbers, Carlyle