Unemployment Stats Don’t Tell Whole Story

During the tail end of the Obama Administration, White House spokespersons enjoyed telling Americans how much better the economy was than when they took over in 2008.

Many Americans frowned at those claims, but the administration would point to the unemployment figures – eventually hovering around 5 percent – and say that statistics don’t lie.

Well, maybe they don’t lie, but they also don’t always tell the truth. At least not the whole truth.

If the U.S. economy was so much better when Obama and his people moved out of the White House in early 2017 than it was when they moved into the White House in early 2008, why doesn’t it feel that way to the average American?

Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump do not agree on a whole lot, but one thing they concur on is that the “real” unemployment rate is much higher than what shows up in the official statistics. Sanders even called the economy “rigged.”

Here are three reasons why many Americans are not confident the economy is as good as some politicians have claimed.

  • Wages Aren’t Growing. After being adjusted for inflation, today’s take-home pay is very similar to what it was 20 years ago. Of course, expenses are higher than they used to be, so many folks are either losing money every month or just squeaking by.
  • Long-term Unemployment Is High. More than 2 million Americans have been unable to find work despite looking for six months or more. This is approximately double the number of people who are normally in this category.
  • Fewer People Are Working. Many adults want to work, but they’ve become so discouraged that they’ve stopped looking. The Wall Street Journal estimates that about 2½ million Americans fit into this group. Fewer than two-thirds of American adults have jobs.

If you’re retired, these are statistics you might not have to worry too much about, at least for yourself. But your children or grandchildren may be very concerned about the situation. And even if you don’t want or need to work, the sluggish economy still negatively affects you in one way or another.

Let’s hope President Donald Trump can help pull us out of these doldrums with his economic policies.


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