Despite the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting significant job growth on Friday, some are not as optimists as others.
BLS reported the total nonfarm employment increased by 257,000 in January. However, the unemployment rate did go up slightly to 5.7 percent. The report notes that the jobs were created in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities and manufacturing.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez was quick to put the credit on the president and his policies.
“In the fourth quarter of his presidency, President Obama is committed to policies that will further invigorate the economy, creating more opportunity that leads to rising incomes and broadly shared prosperity,” Perez wrote. “In his State of the Union address, he outlined an agenda based on middle-class economics and the belief that everyone willing to work hard should have the chance to get ahead in America.”
However, not everyone is happy with the jobs report. Even before the jobs report was released, Jim Clifton, the chairman of Gallup, attacked the unemployment figure as being misleading.
“Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading,” Clifton wrote. “Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.
“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,” he detailed.
“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,” Clifton continued. “Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.”
“There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading,” Clifton added. “Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.”
As Breitbart argues, unemployment going up during the same month of significant job creation may just prove Clifton was right about the information being misleading.