Comments on: Why our employment figures are wrong Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: coyotle Wed, 06 Jul 2011 17:23:40 +0000 Adam_S, clearly you lead a sheltered life in a comfortable village somewhere. Perhaps you should also try reading a little more than you write. The Wall Street Journal would be a good place to start in view of your bias against Reuters. The truth of the matter is you will find little difference in what they report.

By the way “ENTREPRENEURS” need financing which U.S. banks are loathe to do as they make a killing on Hedge Funds(bets against companies and investment vehicles succeeding).

By: Adam_S Mon, 27 Jun 2011 20:34:41 +0000 The title is completely misleading. I too assumed, naturally, the author would discuss how the BLS stops counting people after a given number of months, or if they simply tell someone they’ve give up looking for work since it’s been X months since they had any luck or a job whatsoever.

Instead it seems as if this is a piece to highlight the plight of a small (but growing) segment of the workforce. If you don’t work for ONE firm, but several, you are contracting your services to them. I could care less what the tax gurus define that as; you’re self-employed. You receive work in a very similar way to the self-employed, and you most likely provide your own benefits.

When the author could have actually shed light on the ‘real’ vs. ‘stated’ unemployment rate, she instead chose to waste an article on talking about what are essentially self-employed people, and their plight. WE’RE A NATION OF ENTREPRENEURS, get over it.

By: wmaclough Mon, 27 Jun 2011 19:51:03 +0000 Having had my business as an attorney primarily representing small businesses crushed by the economy, I am now looking for work on a “W-2″ basis. I believe the next wave in this economic mess will be the effect on the professions – doctors, lawyers and accountants. In Northern Calif. we are already seeing attorneys go through bankruptcy and losing their homes and practices. The fact that this is going unreported is remarkable. No one will go untouched in this.

By: RexMax46 Mon, 27 Jun 2011 19:32:53 +0000 I also agree the title is very misleading. Perhaps “The Rlight of the Independent Contractor” would be better. Anywys, I also have to point out that Deborah Lattimore is somewhat responsible for her situation. It is up to the contractor to make sure they pay unemployment insurance during times of feast so that they can collect during times of famine. It’s sucks to find out about that after the fact, but it is her fault. Still, 32k a year for health insurance is ridiculous.

By: SpudM Mon, 27 Jun 2011 15:11:23 +0000 Source: tm

May Recap:
U.S. population over 16 years of age: 239,313,000
Number of people employed: 139,779,000
Percent employed: 58.4%
Number of people not employed: 99,534,000
Reported Unemployment: 13,914,000

Percent not employed: 41.6%

Unemployment reported: 9.1%

So, 9.1% get a bailout from the taxpayers, 32.5% do not.

By: txgadfly Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:47:33 +0000 If past practices are any predictor, better data on the self-employed and small business areas would be seen solely as a new area to impose heavy taxes without any benefits. So why would the public be interested in better numbers? As with every other piece of data the Government gathers it would be used to subjugate the common people, not to help them. Maybe we could keep our 3 stupid, unwanted wars going another decade??

Without new electoral procedures no new taxes will be used for the public good.

By: stickwelder Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:46:15 +0000 @Ptiffany: Labor Force Participation already measures some of that (capable of working) and that is at 64.7%(BLS) which is the lowest it’s been in 10 years and has been steeply declining since 2008. This is one of the reasons that short term declines in employment figures don’t encourage me much.
I’m kind of surprised this isn’t mentioned more with employment data. Primarily I read about participation rates as they relate to Social Security and Baby Boomers because the number of workers supporting the retirees roughly parallels this rate and is up for a big drop soon.
I usually look at unemployed seeking work numbers and compare them to the number of employable discouraged workers to get my disappointment about the economy for the week.

By: JackTaggerty Sun, 26 Jun 2011 05:59:05 +0000 Hi Sara,

What an important article this is because it recognizes that freelancing is a more critical part of the economy post GFC, but also the baby boomer generation that has “retired” by being made redundant needs to freelance their acquired skills to help supplement their retirement income. More articles are needed about this important topic. An article about income protection for people like Deborah Lattimore (highlighted in your article) would be a very interesting topic for many freelancers.

Thank you for this article.

Jack Taggerty

By: ptiffany Sat, 25 Jun 2011 18:17:58 +0000 The headline seemed to imply that someone was finally going to blow the lid off of our phony unemployment statistics. Well, it did in only one area related to barely counting independent workers – consultants and contractors. It’s not insignificant, so it’s a start.

However, the big story lies in the history among the following unemployment rates:
– the “official” rate
– the “under-employment” rate including part-timers
– the real rate including long-term unemployed

Some years ago the Executive and Legislative Branches colluded to create an “official” unemployment rate that tended to be lower, much lower than what the BLS was reporting. The ostensible reason for the change was to reduce costs to the BLS of collecting data on the spectrum of unemployment conditions. The “official”, less expensive rate was to include only data from the states counting those receiving unemployment benefits and applicants for unemployment. Once these people stopped receiving unemployment, they were then termed “no longer in the labor pool” and “no longer looking for work”.

The difference between the “official” unemployment rate and the under-employment rate is typically about 70% during good times. The real rate is even more, especially during bad economic times. Who says this? Is this some wacko conspiracy theory? No. The United States Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this regularly, week after week, month after month and year after year.

At the beginning of this insubordination – not stopping the surveying, measuring and analysis of part-time and long-term unemployed – there was some gnashing of teeth by Congress and the Executive Branch. However, it became moot because the media fell in line with reporting the “official” rate, not catching the distinction and even claiming it was more accurate because it was based on hard data from the states. (They didn’t catch the distinction between accuracy and precision.)

Last year, MSNBC began reporting the “real” unemployment rate, although they were actually reporting the under-employment rate – still an improvement.

Why does this matter? For the same reasons given in this article, inaccurate information on the true nature of unemployment leads to bad decisions about how to deal with it.

Potentially Employable: What we really need to know is how many people who aren’t working, but used to work (and still can) and those new in seeking membership in the workforce cannot find employment now. Isn’t that “unemployed”?

By: neahkahnie Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:43:10 +0000 As one of those “freelance” writers, I know well the problem of collecting pay. It’s a constant hassle.
Great article.