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Dave Lindorff
Published: Sunday 6 November 2011
“The only “good” news to be had here is really that the joblessness isn’t accelerating, but seems to be in a depressed holding pattern.”

When it Comes to Jobless Figures Dishonesty and Propaganda Reign

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Once again we got a cheery report from most of the media about employers hiring, albeit “not enough,” and about the jobless rate falling, albeit “it’s still too high.”

The proximate cause of this latest round of propaganda from the corporate media is the latest monthly jobless figure reported out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which said that employers had added 80,000 net new jobs (actually they found that private sector employers had added 104,000 jobs while public agency employers had pink-slipped 24,000 people), and that the official unemployment rate was 9.0 percent, just a notch lower than last month’s 9.1 percent figure.

The Associated Press, which is now the de facto national desk for the eviscerated national newsmedia, trumpeted these anemic results with a headline reading: Employers add 80K jobs, Rate dips to 9.0 pct. This was followed by an upbeat lead, credited to AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber (who surely should know better if he’s an economics specialist) that read: “WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. jobs crisis may be easing slightly on the strength of a fourth straight month of modest hiring and a dip in the unemployment rate.”

Only it’s not that simple. For one thing, economists agree that the economy would have to be adding 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the number of people who are entering the labor force, and double that to make any real progress towards lowering the jobless number, so 80,000 jobs is really going backwards. For another, most of the jobs being created are low-paying and often temporary, which is not going to do much if anything to boost consumer spending, which accounts for almost three-quarters of Gross Domestic Economy in the hollowed-out US economy. (In fairness to Rugaber, a day later he wrote a better, less rosy piece, in which he pointed out that among the country's 14 million officially jobless, the percentage receiving unemployment benefits has fallen from 75% last year to just 48% this year, because so many people have been out of work for more than a year--a third of all those unemployed--that their benefit checks have run out. That tells you how serious the joblessness really is.)

Credit goes to Yahoo! News, which at least acknowledged right away that these latest stats from the BLS mean things are basically bad, not good news. In this dispatch, headlined October Jobs Report: Deja Vu All Over Again, reporter Daniel Gross correctly called attention to the fact that the public sector was undermining the meager job gains made by the private sector, as well as the fact that the decline in the jobless figure is not the result of the new jobs, but of more people just giving up looking for non-existent jobs and being dropped from the statistics.

Gross also properly noted that the so-called U-6 figure for unemployment, which was used as the standard measure for unemployment until the 1980s when it was deep-sixed by the Reagan administration in favor of a measure that no longer counts people who have given up looking for a job and people who have taken part-time employment because they cannot find full-time work, is still at 16.2 percent.

But even that doesn’t tell the whole horrible story about this Great Recession, or maybe we should say Second Great Depression.

For that we have to turn to the website Shadow Stats, which explains that back in 1994, the Clinton administration, also embarrassed by shamefully high unemployment, further rigged the books by defining long-term unemployed workers “out of official existence.” If those workers today were added back into the U-6 statistics, America’s real unemployment would be seen to have risen, not just this past month, but in prior months too, putting the rate at 23 percent, or nearly one in four of all workers.

Another figure that the BLS releases was also not repeated in most corporate media reports on the latest job numbers. That is the ratio of workers to adult working-age population. That number for October, 58.4 percent, is abysmally low. And it has been in the cellar for a long time. It started out this year at the exact same level, 58.4 percent, rose minutely to 58.5 percent in March, then fell to 58.1 percent in July, and has only returned to its January level now. But to really understand how bad this is, you have to look back not just to 2010, when it was as high as 58.7, and spent most of that year above 58.5, or to 2009, a nasty year for the economy, when it started the year at 60.6%. In early 2007, before this economic crisis began, it was at 63.3 percent, and back in 2001, it was 64.4 percent.

We are so far from those days in terms of getting the working people of America back on their feet that it would take years of ideal conditions to achieve, and we don't have anything close to ideal conditions.

The only “good” news to be had here is really that the joblessness isn’t accelerating, but seems to be in a depressed holding pattern.

Certainly this is nothing to cheer about, even meekly.

If you just received your news from the propaganda machine called the mainstream media, as so many Americans still do, you might find yourself wondering why all these people are braving increasingly harsh weather to occupy cities across the country, and especially the New York financial district. But when you see what the real picture is in numbers, occupying Wall Street and Main Street makes absolute sense, especially when you learn (not from AP!), that unemployment among young people, who have spear-headed the #occupy movement, is at 24.1 percent.

ABOUT Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and He received a Project Censored award in 2004. Dave is also a founding member of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening! at

Have no cash to buy a

Have no cash to buy a building? Worry no more, because this is possible to receive the business loans to work out such problems. Thus get a term loan to buy all you want.

I'd have chosen some pix from

I'd have chosen some pix from Alice-in-Wonderland rather than Pinocchio. Seems like real madness and a lack of reality better describes where we are right now (like Social Security is a 'Ponzi scheme' and talking to your doctor about end of life issues is a 'death panel'). Of course I could list hundreds of others that defy any sense. Yup, we're down the rabbit hole right now. I wonder what it will take to yank us back to reality and common sense?

FINALLY.. an article that

FINALLY.. an article that attempts to tell the truth about the reporting the percentage of unemployed in this country..One fact or factor not mentioned are the number of people out of unemployment benefits, now on welfare!

"In the Republican and

"In the Republican and Democratic parties you of the common herd are not expected to think. That is not only unnecessary but might lead you astray. That is what the “intellectual” leaders are for. They do the thinking and you do the voting. They ride in carriages at the front where the band plays and you tramp in the mud, bringing up the rear with great enthusiasm". Eugene Victor Debs from his speech in Canton, Ohio in 1918 for which he was sentenced to ten years in federal prison in this the alleged " land of the free".

Yes it IS a depression! Wrap

Yes it IS a depression! Wrap your minds around it. Only the very most aggressive measures can start to effect it. Yet, every week we hear of "Congress" rejecting a jobs bill, instead of reading Senate Republicans once again filibuster a jobs bill so it doesn't even come to the floor for a vote.

Hopefully the Occupy movement will remain peaceful, even in the face of increasingly harsh police measures (Strangely the police do not seem to realize they are "blue collar workers!). The alternative, though frequently applied in the history of man, is disturbing to contemplate.

i discuss how the monthly non

i discuss how the monthly non farms payroll report is arrived at here:

Nelsonaver is absolutely

Nelsonaver is absolutely right. The closer Ronald Reagan got to re-election, the more he re-defined and manipulated the figures. The switch to including the military as employed made a huge difference. The corporate media let him get away with this manipulation as Ronnie fed us the morning in America BS. The corporate media also downplayed the total mess top economic doctor, AKA George W. Bush left behind. George II was the ultimate Schlemiel. He had four oil companies and ran all four of them into the ground. Why did the corporate press not report that? Not news? He was repeatedly bailed out by the Saudis as his father climbed up the political ladder. That was not reported either. So why should anybody have been surprised when he mismanaged the US economy into the worstrecession since the Great Depression. We have a long way to go as the economy is not creating enough jobs to make a serious dent in the unemployment. In that sense this story is right. However, let's put everything in full context. When Barack Obama took over as president on January 20 of 2009 we lost nearly 800,000 that month. The job loses continued for several months before Obama could implement any changes. Even though Democrats had a majority in Congress, Republicans prevented passing many of his remedies by using the filibuster rule in the Senate on every vote. Never in the history of the Senate has this been used on every major vote. It's an absolute abuse of power. Despite this, to say the Obama stimulus has failed is a gross distortion of the facts. We have now had 20 straight months in which we created more jobs then we lost. The patient was on the verge of dying when Obama took over. Republicans wanted to let General Motors and Chrysler go under. Obama saved them with bailout loans that they repaid and both are now thriving. How would our jobless rate have been if they had gone under and our aut o parts industry would have been wrecked? What would have happened to our banking system had we not had a bailout? But what is even more important the corporate press is not reporting that what the Republican congressional leaders and all their presidential candidates want to do is go back to the precise economic policies of their Schlemiel president -- George W. Bush -- and they claim the policies that got us into this economic hell ditch will get us out of Talk about dishonest reporting by omission. So bottom line the article has some legitimate points, but needs to be put in an even larger context. Dumping the doctor who is healing the economy and replacing him with one who wants to go back with the remedies of the Schlemiel doctor who got the patient to the brink of death makes no sense at all. In fact, the American people should charge the Republicans with economic malpractice. Ray A. Cohn

The DOL has never clearly

The DOL has never clearly defined theterm "Job" other than a length of time performing tasks on reoccuring basis for monitary compensation. Even one day of paid for work counts as "employed". This is not new or unique to any recent administrations. Ronald Reagan's Reaganomics simply redefined employment data several ways; 1)counting the military as being employed (never before); 2) Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan stopped including in the unemployment figures, all teenage still in high school but looking for work. 3) include in the labor force, mostly adult white males in the Sun Belt as opposed to a random USA database 4) Count only those whom have filed for unemployment insurance as opposed to the Random Household Survey that followed a person's length of employment.
Ronald Reagan also redefined the categories of the Consumer Price Index and their weights to add a greated percentage and weight to those items (calculators, electronics, & TV's) for which the price decreased, and decrease the percentage of items of which the price increased substantially such as college books, and housing (redefined as "Rent").
In the 1990's prices were still increasing, the CPI the was "adjusted" (by Bill Clinton), down one full percentage; justification was "People are using coupons".
This deception goes on and on with each administration. The prime motivation is to keep entitlements (Food Stamps, SSA, Veterans Retirement) down since the Cost of Living Adjustment for all is based on the CPI.
This is how the poor has been becoming poorer; most of whom ARE THE ELDERLY who lives on a fixed income., and IS NOT based on race.

That's the truth. Folks don't

That's the truth. Folks don't like hearing the truth. Partly because it's easier to live in a world of fantasy rather than facts. When Mitt Romney can say he will do away some Federal programs, people began to applaud, not knowing which Federal programs he was going to do away with. One of the programs he wants to stop funding: Amtrak. Never mind people depend on the train for commuting. And he says he for the working-class. Really? Tell me again why we should vote Republican?

That's the truth. Folks don't

That's the truth. Folks don't like hearing the truth. Partly because it's easier to live in a world of fantasy rather than facts. When Mitt Romney can say he will do away some Federal programs, people began to applaud, not knowing which Federal programs he was going to do away with. One of the programs he wants to stop funding: Amtrak. Never mind people depend on the train for commuting. And he says he for the working-class. Really? Tell me again why we should vote Republican?

Ther are actually four sets

Ther are actually four sets of figures:
T R U T H . . .
the last will never be discussed -.- Michael Bloomberg / Warren Bates / pledging to give half their money away ??? Michael Bloomberg lays-off 720 teachers aides . . . . "SORRY - Warren Bates is from PSYCHO- you can decide how close I am -.- Warren Buffet......
Democrats will not go along with Republican figures
republican's will not go along with democratic figures

Brooklyn Dame's picture

The jobless figures are still

The jobless figures are still horrifying. It amuses (i.e., disgusts) me when people say that the unemployed are being coddled. Has the thought crossed their minds that many jobs have disappeare­d and, for the few jobs that do exist, the unemployed still aren’t considered viable applicants­? Seven million people are out of work…and that’s just the fully unemployed­; this number doesn’t reflect the chronicall­y underemplo­yed. Of those 7 million, nearly 2 million are on the chopping block; they’re scheduled to be cut off from receiving unemployme­nt insurance after December 31st unless Congress decides to extend the benefit. Here we go again…

Refreshing to read an

Refreshing to read an insightful, honest and researched article that has no ulterior motive other than to just inform. If more of mainstream media would follow this example, people would not be quite so angry about having to not only deal with the horrible economy, but fight the lies and deceits that the media spews to cover up the truth. People CAN deal with the truth, and honesty would help people plan realistically for their immediate and long-term future, instead of constantly being confused by conflicting messages and statistics. If the government cannot help the economy, then they should at least get out of the way, and take the media and it's lies with them.

Too many American's have a

Too many American's have a real problem in dealing with the truth of most matters. Hence the politicians, of either Party, have the need to 'simplify' the statistics, making them less threatening to the public (but most importantly, to the politician).

These are the Real

These are the Real unemployment figures.

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