Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Conservative reaction to rosy unemployment figures

Bill Flores with other members of the House Budget Committee
7.9% jobless rate really more like 10.7%

"Every voter, a consumer." - old-time political consulting slogan
Bryan – Neo-conservative critics are saying the improved jobless rate announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a case of cooking the books.
A local member of the House of Representatives told voters the government left out three critical factors in its calculations – population growth, the number of people who have simply given up looking for work, and the percentage of the population that participates in the labor market.

What's at play, here? It's pretty simple, really. There is a growing political groundswell that demands quality in the information the government peddles its customers - the voters.
Freshman Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) of the 17th District is a proven numbers cruncher – a CPA and an oil executive with 30 years experience who rode the anti-Obama referendum into office in 2010. He clobbered 10-term Representative Chet Edwards, a conservative Democrat, in a landslide.
In a newsletter to constituents, Mr. Flores said it's always encouraging to see positive numbers on the economy, but expressed skepticism in a bit of critical thinking applied to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that brought the glad tidings.
He admitted that there is not enough information to make a solid conclusion, but that as it becomes available, his constituents will be the first to know.
“In order to keep up with population growth, our economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs per month; this report only showed 114,000 new jobs. In addition, two other important jobs metrics continued to show how badly our economy is fairing: the U-6 measure (includes unemployed, underemployed, and persons who have given up) remained virtually unchanged at 14.7%, and America’s labor participation rate remained about the same at only 63.6%, still near an all-time low,” Mr. Flores pointed out.
“So, how did the Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) report show an inconsistent drop in the 'official' unemployment rate (U-3) with no real improvement in job growth, the poor U-6 rate, or the weak labor participation rate? Many economists and job analysts are looking for answers and so am I. Stay tuned, and we will provide further updates as soon as we have more information.”
In speculation, however, Mr. Flores ventured the opinion, “One reason that the unemployment rate could have dropped is that more Americans dropped out of the workforce for every person who found a job — this trend has been recurring with nearly each job report of the Obama economy. As a result, if the labor force participation rate was at the same level as when the president took office, the unemployment rate would be at 10.7%.”

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