Monday, July 19, 2010

Will the real unemployment number please stand up

From Daily Finance:
Raghavan Mayur, president at TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, follows unemployment data closely. So, when his survey for May revealed that 28% of the 1,000-odd households surveyed reported that at least one member was looking for a full-time job, he was flummoxed.

"Our numbers are always very accurate, so I was surprised at the discrepancy with the government's numbers," says Mayur, whose firm owns the TIPP polling unit, a polling partner for Investors' Business Daily and Christian Science Monitor. After all, the headline number shows the U.S. unemployment rate today is 9.5%, with a total of 14.6 million jobless people.

However, Mayur's polls continued to find much worse figures. The June poll turned up 27.8% of households with at least one member who's unemployed and looking for a job, while the latest poll conducted in the second week of July showed 28.6% in that situation. That translates to an unemployment rate of over 22%, says Mayur, who has started questioning the accuracy of the Labor Department's jobless numbers. ...
Read it here. The "official" unemployment rate (U-3) is 9.5%, while the government's "broad" unemployment rate (U-6) is around 17%. John Williams' Shadow Stats, which I believe uses the pre-Clinton-era methodology for calculating unemployment, puts the number at around 22%. The TIPP poll cited above is more in line with this number. That is Great Depression-era territory, by the way.

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