The Huffington Post reports today, a Big Fat Zero: No New Jobs in August.
Since at least the days of Eisenhower, Presidents have mangled the jobs numbers and other economic indicators through force of personality. Lyndon Johnson was famous for sending any number he didn’t like back to the reporting agency until he got one he did like. I imagine that the Obama administration is either playing it straight, and letting the ‘real number’ out in an effort to show how important a jobs bill is going to be… or that the real number is substantially worse than 9.1% unemployment.
Of course, the real number IS substantially worse than 9.1% unemployment. That Presidents have been ordering changes in the numbers for decades is also the reason why the reporting agencies have been editing the formulae of major economic indicators for decades, too. The permanently unemployed, those out of work for more than 99 weeks, for example, don’t count in this percentage; a lot of other people don’t count either — the gal with a masters’ degree slinging coffee at a Starbucks is underemployed, but she has a job. The loss to the economy of not having her work to her potential is not measured in this unemployment number.
The article goes on to say that an analyst at Wells Fargo believes that we are not currently in a recession, but we soon will be. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the White House is expecting persistently high unemployment through the 2012 election, more likely through 2017.
The students I taught last year in American history are the class of 2012 for this school. They’ll go on to four years of high school, in theory, and entering college in 2017. Those who don’t go to college will be joining the workforce… a workforce where around 10% of the population is unemployed, perhaps permanently.
Welcome to the future, kids.