Today’s release of the January U3 unemployment numbers was astoundingly good, beating expectations all the way around. Remember the whole argument of “uncertainty” killing hiring? Not so much.
So this is a good thing, right? 250k+ people rejoined the work force, so we should be happy right? Not if you’re on the right and need to find any excuse to bash the President. See that “U3″ up there? That’s the definition of how the unemployment numbers are measured. Simply put, it measures those who looked for work vs. those who have jobs. It’s the number that’s been used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics since 1994.
But now, folks on the right want to start complaining about the “U6″ number. What’s that? Well, it’s a number that includes people who are no longer looking, those who are “underemployed”, etc. And in reality, it’s a much more complete number. It stands at 15.1% – which the right have jumped on so they can use a bigger, scarier number. But, of course, it ignores real facts (U6 Unemployment Stats).
- Since Oct 2009, the trend on this number is downward. The U6 number peaked at 17.2% in Oct 2009.
- Currently, the U6 number has dropped 2.1% since Oct 2009.
- During the Bush administration, the number jumped from 7.4% (February 2001) to 14.2 (January 2009). While 9/11 had an effect, the numbers jumped to 8.1% (.8% increase) before 9/11
So, while the right has now switched to the U6 numbers to try to score points, the fact is – the numbers don’t lie. The job market has improved, on all measurements, in the last three years. And if current trends continue, even the U6 number looks to be improved during the Obama administration.