Monday, March 5, 2012

The "Who's on First" of the Obama Unemployment Numbers

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 8.3%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 19%.

COSTELLO: You just said 8.3%.

ABBOTT: 8.3% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 8.3% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 19%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 19% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 8.3%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 8.3% or 19%?

ABBOTT: 8.3% are unemployed. 19% are out of work.

COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You
have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those
who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who
are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up,
you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as
less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 8.3%. Otherwise
it would be 19%. You don't want to read about 19% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two
ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down and the
easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

And now you know why Obama's unemployment figures are improving