HF Says: "Unemployment Crisis Doesn’t Exist"


Well, guys, I guess we can all relax about the so-called “unemployment crisis”. According to Tim Kane of the conservative Heritage Foundation, it doesn’t really exist. In an Op-Ed piece for the NYT, he writes that a lot of those jobs we thought we lost are an illusion created because the survey the Labor Dept uses is seriously out of synch with 2004 employment realities.

It depends, as usual, on which statistics you use. And there is reason to doubt the numbers from the payroll survey, which the Labor Department has used since 1939, because they give a misleading picture of the 2004 economy.The payroll survey counts jobs, not workers. But counting payroll jobs is a questionable way of measuring America’s evolving work force, especially in light of declining job turnover. The payroll survey’s biggest problem is that it systematically double counts workers when they change jobs. Since somewhere between 2 percent and 3 percent of the work force changes employers every month, payrolls tend to be noisy. The illusion of lost jobs in recent years occurred because job turnover declined after 2000, first with the recession, then even more sharply after 9/11. As a result, 1 million jobs have been artificially “lost” in the payroll survey since 2001.

I guess that takes care of that. A much better survey to use would obviously be the “household survey” because then the numbers you got would be much more supportive of Bush, which is the name of the conservative game, after all.

The sharpest contrast can be seen by looking at the Labor Department’s household survey, which shows a record high level of total employment. This survey reported an employment level of 138.3 million as of March — 600,000 more working Americans since President Bush took office in 2001.Since the recession ended in November 2001, the payroll survey has reported 323,000 fewer payroll jobs, but the household survey has found 1.9 million more overall jobs. Common sense tells us that payroll jobs aren’t the end-all, be-all of jobs in the new economy. Economists reflexively like payroll data because it has a bigger sample, but quantity doesn’t always ensure quality. (emphasis added)

Glorioski, Sandy, we’ve just been imagining all this time that everybody we know is out of work and there aren’t any jobs around. Really, it was all just because the Labor Dept wasn’t counting right. Now we can all relax and go back to sleep. Everything is fine…is fine…is fine…is fi–(“Kick the damn thing!”)(*boot*)–is fine.

Maybe I was wrong about these being cooked numbers; if Mr Kane is attacking them, they must be real. Still seems awfully convenient, though.

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