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Old 10-11-2012, 13:34   #20
Goaltender66
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IvanVic, you are taking my comments vis a vis the BLS new jobless claims report and extending them to the calculation of the unemployment rate as a whole. I think you should be clear that they are two different things.

That said:

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Originally Posted by IvanVic View Post
No, but it certainly could.
So you are taking a hypothetical and casting it as a factual occurence.

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Since I have not researched the history of this "error", I can't comment on that in earnest. This weekend when I've had some time to do that, I could give you a better answer. If it turns out that the data was released missing a state, and that has never happened before, or only happened once or twice, then yes, it would be suspicious.
I posted two links (and not of the "questionable" sort) where a Labor economist is quoted as saying exactly that a state was left out. If you find another instance of that happening I'm all ears.

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I'm not saying that it's not possible, what I am saying is that if it is occurring, the pattern it has followed makes absolutely no sense. This is where conspiracy theories fall flat. Almost always, as soon as you start to dig a little deeper, you find things that are at complete odds with the entire theory - some of which I have already pointed out: the increasing and decreasing and then increasing again, the fact that it's been over 8% his entire administration minus the last week, etc.
But again, you're assuming that chicanery isn't happening now if it hasn't happened before. I'm saying that's a faulty assumption.

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Can you point me to any actual threads or posts that show you specifically questioning the rate when it does not suit your political agenda?
Um, GlockTalk wasn't even invented when I was in college.

You know, I'm of the opinion that murder is bad, yet you're suggesting that if I don't have any posts specifically saying that then my opinion can be questioned.


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Then why didn't they bring it under 8% some time after the stimulus was passed? The stimulus is about the only thing other than Obamacare that he can point to and say "I did that." The entire premise was that it would prevent unemployment from going above 8%. That didn't happen - if they truly had the ability to rig the numbers, that would be the first thing they would have done.
And again, you're assuming whomever would have even hit on a good way to game numbers back then, or even thought to do it. And you're also suggesting that if it didn't happen (as you assume) that necessarily implies an inability to do so. That's a shaky logic chain there.

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Right, because a person who is not looking for work can't possibly be helpful in understanding how hard it is to find a job. There is no perfect way of doing it, but that is certainly the best way. You can't include people who are not seeking work in a stat that tries to define how hard or easy it is to find work.
It is a statistic, and like all statistics it has to be taken in context with complementary data. The rate is intended to describe how many people who want a job have one. However, it fails because it assumes that people who aren't actively looking day in and day out don't want jobs, and that is turning out to be a weak assumption in this economy. Perhaps the job market is such that someone wants a job but can't find one so he goes back to school. Perhaps someone stopped looking and moved in with his parents and is waiting for things to turn around before looking again. I'd call them unemployed, but the BLS wouldn't.

So while there may not be "a better way" to calculate it, it's a serious mistake to look at the number in a vaccuum. The best complementary data is the labor force participation rate. It serves to really tell you how many people out there are working. When that rate declines in concert with an unemployment rate decrease (or one that's static), that gives you all kinds of insights that you wouldn't get by looking at the unemployment rate alone. In fact, if you confined yourself to the unemployment rate you'd be seriously misled as to the true state of the economy.
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Last edited by Goaltender66; 10-11-2012 at 13:38..
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