Unemployment Not As Low As Advertised

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump declared that the jobs report for the month of May was the 'best jobs report in the history of everything,' or whatever, but that is not true even if you accept the original numbers that we now know were incorrect.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the actual unemployment rate for the month of May was over 16 percent or 3 points higher than advertised.

The Bureau's report apparently counted many unemployed people as still being employed.

When the U.S. government’s official jobs report for May came out on Friday, it included a note at the bottom saying there had been a major “error” indicating that the unemployment rate likely should be higher than the widely reported 13.3 percent rate. [...]

Economists say the BLS was trying to be as transparent as possible about how hard it is to collect real-time data during a pandemic. The BLS admitted that some people who should have been classified as “temporarily unemployed” during the shutdown were instead misclassified as employed but “absent” from work for “other reasons.”

Accounting for this error, the unemployment rate still dropped between April and May as some states began to reopen their economies, but the situation did not improve as much as Republicans in Washington would have you think.

Congressional Republicans and Trump's advisers declared that Friday's report was proof that we don't need more stimulus, but that was based on an employment rate of 13 percent, not 16. You know, not that 13 percent is particularly good at all.

Over 40 million jobs were lost between April 1st and June 1st and only 2.5 million Americans returned to work according to Friday's report. The situation will improved this month, again, but we're also going to get a better idea of how many jobs may have been permanently lost when the next report drops in the first week of July.

If Congress does pass more stimulus, it probably won't happen until the end of July before members of Congress are scheduled to leave town for recess until September. And if that happens, it may be the last piece of major legislation the current session of Congress will pass before the election. For many Republicans, particularly in the Senate, it could be their last big vote ever.

  • muselet

    Economists say the BLS was trying to be as transparent as possible about how hard it is to collect real-time data during a pandemic.

    I don’t doubt that for a moment, and hats off to the professionals trying to provide the best data possible (and making corrections as needed). Maybe I haven’t been reading the right sites, but I haven’t seen anyone claiming bad faith on the part of BLS, thank ghu.

    We can all agree on the bad faith of the Rs, though. They simply don’t want to give money to undeserving poor people!, and since less than 100% of the peasants are unemployed, there’s no reason to do so, anyway.