The most recent unemployment figure is 8.2%.
This is supposed to represent the number of people who are unemployed.
But let's look at this another way. If unemployment is 8.2%, it stands to reason that employment is 91.8%. (100-8.2)
Do you really believe that 91.8% of the American people are actually employed?
In December, I did a post, Unemployment rate vs. the number employed, where I explained how the unemployment rate can go down while the number of people with jobs could stay the same or increase.
At that time, the percent of people participating in the labor force (those who actually have jobs) was unchanged at 64%.
Rather than keep track of the unemployed - which doesn't include those who are without a job but have stopped (at least temporarily) looking for one - why don't we track the actual employment numbers?
They're much more accurate on a month-to-month basis and are more reflective of the work status of the nation.
Here are the recent Ohio Civilian Labor Force Estimates for Lucas County.
Labor Force: 210,500
Labor Force: 208,900
Labor Force: 210,700
Labor Force: 211,800
As you can see, our employment rate is varying between 189,000 and 194,000. But the December unemployment rate was the same as the November employment rate despite the fact that more people were employed in November. That's because the 'labor force' number decreased.
By increasing and decreasing the labor force number, the unemployment rate can be manipulated.
Politicians are constantly talking about jobs. They use declining unemployment numbers as an indicator of success, but the actual unemployment number is subject to manipulation and doesn't tell us what we need to know: how many people are working.
They also use the 'jobs created' each month as another indicator, but that number, too, is subject to manipulation.
The number that would give us a good measurement is the number of people actually employed. When that number goes up, we're doing well. When that number goes down, we're not.
And we don't have to worry about doing any division or multiplication, though I expect that, sooner or later, some politician or bureaucrat would figure out a way to manipulate that as well.