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US Government Unemployment Numbers Explained by Abbott and Costello

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work, you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how it gets to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an Economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like Congress.

Despite what they would like you to believe, the government can't reshape economic reality by convincing Americans that unemployment isn't so worryingly high as long as they call most of the unemployed by a different name.

This would be utterly hilarious if it weren't so insulting. This is exactly the nonsense that the government wants you to believe and which the mainstream media reports with a straight face.

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What's even more absurd is

What's even more absurd is that those who are dropped from unemployment because they have been on it too long have more incentive to look for work (while being categorized as not looking for work), while those who are on it have less incentive to look for work (while being categorized as looking for work).

23-24% per old formula

ShadowStats just plugs current data into old formulas.


"Do you want to know who you are? Act. Don't ask. What you DO will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson

Clever indeed!

I like to look at the quality of life metrics they have. They seem to at least give a better picture of American life.

I Guess

I'm getting numb to the lunacy. I was able to laugh without getting angry. Good times.

Disabled, incarcerated not counted

"the ranks of workers collecting disability benefits have swollen to 8.7 million in April from 7.1 million in December 2007, when the recession officially began.

Some of those workers are using disability benefits to replace expired unemployment benefits, the Bloomberg story suggests. That means they're officially out of the "labor force," which means they don't get counted when the government calculates unemployment."


excellent point

excellent point