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Elections, Politics

Unemployment rate is actually closer to 11.5%

Posted: February 19, 2012 at 7:55 am   /   by

Here’s the indispensable ZeroHedge:

 . . . the US civilian non-institutional population was 242,269 in January, an increase of 1.7 million month over month: apply the long-term average labor force participation rate of 65.8% to this number (because as chart 2 below shows, people are not retiring as the popular propaganda goes: in fact labor participation in those aged 55 and over has been soaring as more and more old people have to work overtime, forget retiring), and you get 159.4 million: that is what the real labor force should be. The BLS reported one? 154.4 million: a tiny 5 million difference. Then add these people who the BLS is purposefully ignoring yet who most certainly are in dire need of labor and/or a job to the 12.758 million reported unemployed by the BLS and you get 17.776 million in real unemployed workers. What does this mean? That using just the BLS denominator in calculating the unemployed rate of 154.4 million, the real unemployment rate actually rose in January to 11.5%.

Difference between Reported and Implied Unemployment Rate


Here’s the LibertyNewsNetwork:

In January, the population was 242,300,000. That represents an increase of 1,700,000 people over the December population.

The BLS reported a seasonally adjusted labor participation rate of 63.7% and when factored against the population, that makes the implied workforce 154,400,000. In reality, participation is more like the long term average of 65.8%, because old fogeys like me not only aren’t retiring at the rates BLS assumes, we are either working overtime or have a second job (you’re reading mine, and thank you very much). The difference in implied vs. real participation adds 5,000,000 to people to the workforce, making the real workforce 159,400,000.  The BLS and the Obama Administration in general are purposefully choosing to ignore these workers.

The BLS does account for 12,800,000 unemployed workers and they base their calculation of the unemployment rate on that number. Note that they are purposefully missing almost one-third of workers who are not employed but would certainly like to have a job.  By adding those workers back into the unemployed figure, the actual number of unemployed is 17,800,000

If we divide the real number of unemployed workers by the BLS reported workforce, the actual unemployment rate is NOT 8.2%, it is 11.5%.

Those of us who are slightly mathematically challenged owe a debt to Zero Hedge and people like Michael Becker at Liberty News.

Presumably, though, the people at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not mathematically challenged. What they are are bureaucrats. Federal, unelected bureaucrats, probably in a government union. And federal, unelected bureaucrats who are probably in a government union are not politically neutral. They have a dog in the fight. And could it be, possibly, that they might want to give a boost to a pro-big-government president, just when he needs it most?

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Unemployment rate is actually closer to 11.5%