Gallup Gets It – U3 Unemployment Number is a 'Big Lie'

Editor’s Note – Think as you will which polling group leans left or right. It is not uncommon to see some on the left like the Daily Kos accuse Gallup of being a right-wing shill, yet others think Gallup leans left and is more trustworthy than Rasmussen.

Because Scott Rasmusson was seen in the company of Republicans on cruises and the like and they use different methodologies, the two more trusted polling groups, Gallup since 1935, and Rasmussen are always under question.

AP Photo/John Amis
AP Photo/John Amis

Our contention is they all are, especially in how they ask questions. Therefore most news outlets now lean to averages like at Real Clear Politics, but are they not also suspect?

In any case, it is with wonderment that Gallup’s CEO, Jim Clifton would write the following op/ed on the bogus nature of the U-3 unemployment numbers the administration relies on so heavily to promote how positive the trend is for reduced unemployment.

As we have been questioning and pointing out how archaic the old methods of defining unemployment have become, it is great to see a trusted group like Gallup actually come out and tell the world.

In fact, they report it as a breaking development. What has been obvious for years to those of us who understand such things and pay close attention, all under Obama, we are glad Gallup shed the scales from its eyes.

Our friends at Zero Hedge have been leading the way on exposing the bogus numbers coming from the administration, now maybe more in the main stream media will finally get the picture. Here are some of our posts on the subject, here, here, here, here, here, and here to cite just a few.

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Meanwhile, the labor participation rate continues to drop to 1970’s era levels. Want fries with that Mr. Clifton? With over 92 million people out of work, we thank Jim Clifton for pointing out the ‘Big Lie’ for us:

The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

By Jim Clifton – Gallup.com

Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right.

While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

The Big Lie

There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

Yet another figure of importance that doesn’t get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

Jim Clifton - Gallup CEO
Jim Clifton – Gallup CEO

And it’s a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory.

A good job is an individual’s primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity — it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country. When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen’s talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.

Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.

We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America’s middle class.

I hear all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.” When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth — the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real — then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t “feeling” something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.

Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO at Gallup.

Job Report 5.9% – Why the Malaise? The Numbers Game

Editor’s Note – Once again we have a ‘Jobs Report’ emerge with mixed messages, but is it truly mixed?  The September report came out this morning and showed growth and on that positive number, we are sure we will hear Obama continue to brag about the longest cycle of job growth in our entire history.

A crisis in confidence, we are in a malaise akin to the Carter years when the last low in the participation rate was as low as it is today.
A crisis in confidence, we are in a malaise akin to the Carter years when the last low in the participation rate was as low as it is today.

That sounds wonderful, but why is there such malaise and melancholy among working and non-working families alike? There are several reasons, and even though we post an article from CNBC/Politico, they correctly point out some very salient points you will not hear Obama ever talk about. Three aspects jump out at us, and this is a continual point we have been making for years.

Where is the growth in salaries? What about the continual rise in the number of people who have given up and the participation rate has fallen to a 30 year low? Last, what kind of jobs are being created, especially since Obama Care has forced so many employers to cut hours to stay viable?

The administration lauds job growth, but Americans do not just need subsistence jobs, they need to resurrect their careers, or create one. Holding down two part time jobs to keep food on the family table is not the American dream.

Careers, gained through expensive education and on-the-job experience growth have been lost or closed down to so many. Earning potential is a thing of the past under the current paradigm of work. This is a “a recovery that the vast majority of Americans barely feel.”

We not only have a ‘crisis of confidence‘, we have a ‘malaise’ ala Jimmy Carter.

Jobs report underscores Obama’s economic dilemma

By Ben White – CNBC

The September jobs report perfectly captured the frustrating nature of the current economy, showing a healthy gain of 248,000 positions and a reduction in the jobless rate to 5.9 percent but no gain at all in hourly wages.

The report also highlighted the vexing and possibly unsolvable problem for President Barack Obama and the Democrats who want to take credit for measurable improvements in the economy from the rancid depths of 2009 but can’t effectively cheerlead a recovery that the vast majority of Americans barely feel.

Speaking at Northwestern University, President Obama highlighted what he said were clear improvements in the economy since he took office. Video by Reuters on Publish Date October 2, 2014. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Speaking at Northwestern University, President Obama highlighted what he said were clear improvements in the economy since he took office. Video by Reuters on Publish Date October 2, 2014. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

In most respects, the September report was quite strong. August’s soft number got revised up to 180,000 and July was boosted to 243,000 from 212,000. History tells us September could get revised higher as well.

But there was a soft underbelly as well.

The size of the labor force dropped by nearly a hundred thousand putting the participation rate at a more than three-decade low of 62.7 percent. Before the recession the rate was 66 percent.

Even more troubling, average hourly wages actually dropped a penny to $24.53. The so-called U6 jobless rate, which takes into account involuntary part-timers and those too frustrated to look, is still at a very high 11.8 percent.

Obama’s economic dilemma was on full display this week when aides touted a big presidential speech on the economy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The speech was intended to show voters who give the president dismally low marks on the economy that Obama was on the case while highlighting all the improvements over six years ago.

But the speech, which included a tired recitation of previous proposals that went nowhere on Capitol Hill, fell completely flat. In fact, the only real headlines out of the address were generated by Republicans crowing over Obama’s remark that: “I am not on the ballot this fall. … But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

Democratic candidates in competitive Senate races are running as fast they can away from the president and his low approval ratings. But now GOP ad makers have a perfect sound bite to run in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska, Iowa and elsewhere tying Democrats directly to the president.

How Obama could have made such a rhetorically boneheaded move is hard to comprehend.

Polls show the public has largely rejected Obama’s stewardship of the economy. They also show that the economy is the No. 1 issue in the midterms. The last thing the party wants are voters in battleground states making their decisions based on Obama’s economic record. But now they may do exactly that and at the president’s own request!

It seems like it is probably time for the White House to give up on the idea that the president will get much credit for where the economy is right now. Most of the policies that had significant impact—the stimulus and the bank bailouts—are well in the past. Since the 2010 midterms, Obama has little to show on trade deals, tax reform, immigration reform or any of the other big-ticket items that could move the economic needle and drive up wages and the pace of growth.

The White House argues that Obama tried on a lot of these items by sending proposals to the Hill. All fair and true. But people don’t really care about what you tried to do (and in many instances the White House didn’t try very hard). They care about what you actually did.

But there may yet be hope on the horizon for beleaguered Democrats hoping to maintain control of the Senate. According to Politico’s Maggie HabermanHillary Clinton is preparing a midterm political blitz to aid Democratic candidates in Kentucky and other swing states.

The Clinton brand is much stronger than the Obama brand right now, particularly on the economy where voters still recall the Bill Clinton years quite fondly. Hillary Clinton may have some heavy foreign policy baggage from the Obama years but she is not tied to people’s ill feelings about the president’s job on the economy.

Hillary Clinton can also make the midterms about the Democratic Party’s future, not the last six years of painful, plodding, poorly distributed economic growth. That may not turn out to be enough to keep the GOP from picking up the six seats needed to retake Congress’s upper chamber. But it’s certainly preferable to Democrats than making the election all about Obama.

—By Ben White. White is Politico’s chief economic correspondent and a CNBC contributor. He also authors the daily tip sheet Politico Morning Money [politico.com/morningmoney]. Follow him on Twitter@morningmoneyben.

The "say or do anything to win" crowd

Editor’s Note – Democrats speaking – immediately conjures up the feeling that a fact-check is necessary these days. Here are three more examples – shameful, just shameful that every word is an attempt to confuse, twist, misrepresent, or just plain lie to you – all from the “say and do anything to win” crowd on the left.

Yet, the polls say the race is neck and neck, or that Obama got a bounce from the DNC. Once again, its about the sound bites, the only things most people here, and they count on you not checking and believing every word. What a way to run a country or win the Oval Office.

Would you buy a used car from either man? No? Then why would you believe what they say, let alone re-elect the taller one?

The Obama Campaign’s New False Narrative

Was fixing the economic mess really too big a job for any president?

By Rand Simberg – PJ Media

On Wednesday night, former president Bill Clinton gave a long-winded address (as is his wont — few like the sound of their own voice more than him, with the possible exception of Fidel Castro) in an attempt to make an excuse for the current president’s pathetic job performance on the economy. Here is the essence of his argument:

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No president — not me, not any of my predecessors — could have repaired all the damage in just four years.

So is it true?

Well, first of all, the statement is misleading, in that it implies that Clinton started with a weak economy at all. Despite all the nonsense by James Carville and others during the campaign in 1992 about George Herbert Walker Bush creating “the worst economy in fifty years,” Clinton actually inherited a robust economic recovery, and, as shown in the graph below, GDP had been growing at a four percent clip all through the election year (recall that Clinton won with only 43% of the popular vote because Ross Perot took so many votes from Bush). (See the charts and read the rest here.)

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43 Months of Depressing Misery

The worst economic stewardship since FDR extended the Great Depression.

By Tom Blummer – PJ Media

I was briefly tempted to take a tiny bit of pity on the Obama administration after Friday’s awful employment report. After all, one can make a pretty strong case based on the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) figures that the number of jobs added after seasonal adjustment should have been at least 50,000 higher than the official result of 96,000. That still would not have been enough to support a claim that the job market or the economy as a whole are legitimately recovering, but it would have sufficed to prevent the Obama-loving but self-protecting establishment press from reluctantly pouncing on how bad Friday’s news was, and how it will harm Dear Leader’s reelection prospects.

But then I read the reactions of Alan Krueger and Hilda Solis.

Krueger, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as such is supposed to be financially and statistically literate, was last month seen complaining that July’s reported unemployment rate of 8.3%, unrounded, was “only” 8.254%. Shortly after Friday’s release, he claimed that “today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.” Solis, the insufferable apparatchik who serves as Obama’s Labor secretary, piled it on even thicker, asking us to believe that “our recovery remains on a stable trajectory of positive job growth. Smart and steady wins the race.”

Forget about the sympathy. If anyone deserves a bad break from seasonal calculations 60 days out from the presidential election and just desserts for avoiding at least three previous months when the seasonal sausage-makers could defensibly have reported initial job losses (August 2011,  April 2012, and June 2012), it’s this reality-denying crowd.

Three years and seven months into the Obama administration, there’s no longer any reasonable doubt that we’re living through the worst presidential exercise of economic stewardship since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s rabid progressivism known as the New Deal locked the Federal Reserve-createdHerbert Hoover-enhancedGreat Depression into place for eight additional years. In 1932, the year before FDR was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 23.6%. In 1940, it was still 14.6%. In between, it never fell below 12%. The economy only recovered because of the military build-up required to win World War II. (Read the rest here.)

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So Barack Obama ” Saved ” General Motors Huh? Really?

By The Ulsterman Report

Without getting too much into the specifics of the government bailout/takeover ofGeneral Motors – the very act top Democrats are now repeating over and over again as proof of Barack Obama having “saved” the car company, the true facts of how GM is actually doing are troubling at best.  At worst – it appears quite likely taxpayers will never get back the money Obama took from them to give to his union cronies, and yet another requested bailout may be on its way soon. General Motors is failing – and failing badly.  Just like Barack Obama.

EXCERPT: The Democrats’ GM Fiction

The Democrats have decided to run in 2012 as the bailout party. It is an odd choice — the 2008–09 bailouts were deeply unpopular among the general public, and even their backers were notably conflicted about the precedent being set and the ensuing moral hazard. But Democrats have nonetheless made one of the most abusive episodes in the entire bailout era their economic cornerstone: the government takeover of General Motors.

…Ugly as the bank bailouts were, the federal government appears set to make itsmoney back on most of them, with the exception of some smaller regional banks and CIT. Even AIG, one of the worst of thefinancial basket cases, is set to end up being a break-even proposition for U.S. taxpayers. But tens of billions of dollars will be lost on GM. The federal government put up more for a 60 percent interest in the firm than GM is worth today.

…As much as it will pain the hardworking men and women of GM to hear it, it is not worthwhile to save jobs at enterprises that cannot compete on their own merits. So long as the federal government is massively subsidizing the operation, a job at GM is a welfare program with a fairly robust work requirement. (And we all know how the Obama administration feels about work requirements.)

GM losing as much as $49,000 per Volt sold

…Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

…The weak sales are forcing GM to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that makes the Chevrolet Volt for four weeks from September 17, according to plant suppliers and union sources. It is the second time GM has had to call a Volt production halt this year.

“I don’t see how General Motors will ever get its money back on that vehicle,”  LINK

General Motors Is Headed For Bankruptcy — Again

…Right now, the federal government (YOU THE TAXPAYER) owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company.  It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday.  This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion.

…It’s doubtful that the Obama administration would attempt to sell off the government’s massive position in GM while the stock price is falling.  It would be too embarrassing politically.  Accordingly, if GM shares continue to decline, it is likely that Obama would ride the stock down to zero.

…Will GM be able to turn itself around, and save American taxpayers from losing $26.5 billion on Obama’s bailout?

…“The game isn’t over until it’s over”, but if President Obama wins reelection, he should probably start giving some serious thought to how he is going to justify bailing out GM, and its unionized UAW workforce, yet again.  And, during the current campaign, Obama might want to be a little more modest about what he actually achieved by bailing out GM the first time.   LINK