U.S. Economy: Is Employment Status as Reported by Media Outlets Disingenuous?

According to a report from ABC News, “weekly applications for jobless benefits dropped 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 260,000.” The author summarized the article “BIG PICTURE…solid hiring.” With the unemployment rate falling to 5 percent the average quasi-informed person might conclude the economic health of the United States is definitely on the correct path to recovery. However, why is the quality of jobs never discussed and why is labor underutilization, as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reported at level U-3 instead of the much broader picture of U-6, despite logical arguments the latter is a more accurate reflection of the nation’s unemployment situation?

Other metrics commonly relied on to evaluate economic instability or prosperity includes analyzing long-term unemployment (structurally displaced workers), job seekers incapable of finding suitable employment, and the civilian labor force participation rate. For example, the BLS long-term unemployment rate remains 7-9 percent above pre-Great Recession levels. Why is this figure not reported?

In addition, between 2008 and October 2015 over a million people wanting a job have had little success. When did you last hear this information discussed by news outlets? 

And while the civilian labor participation rate dropped about 1 percent between 1997 to 2008 it has steadily declined by more than 3+ percent between 2008 and 2015. Sure people have retired, but this alone is the not the complete story.

Upon reviewing these stats and many others pre-2008 to present 2015 it is clear the U.S. economy is clearly not as strong as many suggest. In fact, when incorporating the $19+ trillion in national debt, an arguably failed fiscal policy, and the Fed’s monetary policy that has artificially underpinned economic recovery since 2008 a logical conclusion is our economy’s foundation is primarily comprised of expansive soil – not solid granite.

In other words, as the game of smoke and mirrors continues to play out in the media our nation is sinking into a slow death. Wake up America, the time to challenge our leaders and the media to speak truthfully about economic recovery is miles behind us in the rear view mirror. Instead of accepting half-truths, intentional misdirects, and blatant lies as reality why not challenge the status quo so that together we can rebuild our country. Let us not forget the words of President John F. Kennedy that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”


Edmund Burden

I help business owners grow their businesses through effective use of financial technology tools. Personal finance is a passion of mine so I try to stay on top of all the trends and write about where I see the market going.

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