Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, wrote an opinion piece recently calling the official government figures on unemployment “a Big Lie”:
None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment. . . .
There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.
This is the major reason most of the people on the ground don’t really care about the “recovery.” It looks really good on paper, but it doesn’t actually benefit the vast majority of average Americans. We are suffering from the bad policies and short-sighted “fixes” of the civil government while policy-makers and cronyists congratulate themselves on how well the country is doing.
We are not doing well. All of the people who are actually unemployed—who are so unemployed that they have fallen out of the unemployment figures—have been pushed into becoming dependents on government welfare. So the facts are actually even worse than Clifton says. Not only are those hopelessly unemployed Americans not earning wages, they are also becoming an extra burden on the few Americans who still do earn wages.
This cannot be sustained. Eventually, the civil government is going to run out of credit, we’re going to run out of money, and no amount of lies about how well we’re doing can fix that.