The government, elites, uber-ridiculously wealthy, and ruling class of America are now not even trying to hide their activities and behavior that one would typically be cast in jail for. Last week, we wrote about the FBI seducing the nice, nerdy, and socially awkward computer kids at the Geek Squad division of Best Buy to purposefully browse through computers that they are fixing to find potentially illegal materials and report it back to the agency. This is the handiwork of a Third-World, tyrannical dictatorship. Another article centered on the coincidental trading and business practices of former Goldman Sachs President and former White House chief economic advisor to Donald Trump, Gary Cohn; billionaire and former regulatory advisor to the President, Carl Icahn and Jared Kushner, the goofy rich son-in-law of Trump. Please be aware: this is not targeted at our current administration, as this trend has been going on for a long time.
Today, I’d like to share how we are being lied to about the employment rate. Both Obama and Trump (as well as prior presidents) have bragged about the rapid decrease in unemployment and amazing rebound in employment, in the years following the financial crisis. Obama touted his ability to bring back jobs in the aftermath of the crisis and, currently, The US is said to have full employment with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, down from 9.8 percent in January 2010 (the midst of the financial crisis). 5 percent is considered full employment, as it allows, statistically, for a reasonable amount of people that lost their jobs, left their jobs for various reasons, and an array of other causes. It is considered normal and not indicative of any systemic problems in the economy.
What the government does not tell us is about the long-term decline in the labor force participation rate. The labor participation rate is a fancy term used for the number of people either employed or actively looking for work. Non-government reports and studies indicate an unusually large number of people have stopped looking for work and dropped out of the labor force at an unprecedented rate. In a bizarre government pretzel logic, if you have not looked for a job in the last four weeks, you are not counted as being unemployed and not considered in the work force. Conveniently, they won’t show up on the unemployment statistics. By not being counted, it looks like the economy is in much better shape than it really is and politicians can take credit for doing such a wonderful job.
Interestingly, the US government does not bother to follow people that are out of the work force for more than one year. Poof, they just disappear from view. Estimates place these numbers at about 22 or 23 percent. The labor force participation rate is the lowest in 30 years. A precipitous fall in the participation rate is associated with recession or stagnation, not with an economic recovery.
Also, there does not seem to be any accounting for people who have become perpetual students going from college to graduate school, avoiding finding a job because there may not be jobs for PHD’s in Byzantine Medieval Poetry studies. Experienced professionals over 50 years-old who were forced into a so-called “retirement” are not counted either. Also, a large segment of the population is on some sort of questionable medical disability collecting money, as their work options have dwindled or are nonexistent. The statistics also fail to account for people who are working, but their jobs are far below their experience. These folks are taking McJobs and being paid far less than prior jobs. Also, it is hard to find data on the number of workers that were displaced by corporations sending jobs to other countries or hiring cheaper labor with foreign workers on various visas. It is also curious that, logically, if we are at full employment, wages should be going up to compete for talent. This does not seem to be happening.
To be fair, in full disclosure, I am not an economist, nor am I good at math, and my facts could be all wet. After all, I’m just a hack blog writer and recruiter, so what do I know? If you disagree with my thesis, if nothing else, just look around at your family, friends, kids, people in your community, and listen to anecdotal stories. The feel and mood is that people are not too happy; many older people are out of work (or on their way out), working at a job beneath them, forced into an unwanted retirement, or downright dejected about their future prospects.
Instead of pretending everything is rosy, it would help if the government shared the real data, so that we could actually plan to really help people either find jobs or procure real jobs that are appropriate for their skills and experience.