Numbers Fun at the Labor Dept.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics came out with an 8.9% unemployment rate on Friday, many analysts failed to get excited about the drop.

That’s because of another statistic the BLS  brushed aside.  They look at the Civilian Labor Force Participation rate. As analyzed at, the rate is a ratio of working age population to labor force. In November 2008, the BLS estimated that out of a working population of 234.5 million, 154.6 million people were employed. This translates to 65.5% of the population.

In February 2011, estimates pegged the work age population at 239 million. About 4.5 million Americans joined the number of people eligible to work in those years.  Out of those, 153 million are employed. In other words, 64.2% of our population. Translated, the number eligible to work  increased by 1.6 million, but they haven’t found jobs.

This would put the true labor picture at an unemployment rate of 10.8%, which is closer to Gallup’s estimate. Gallup saw  the unemployment rate tick up, putting it at 10.3%.

Looks like the Obama administration is determined to get the unemployment rate at 8% whether facts support it or not. That percentage would greatly enhance his reelection chances since no president in recent times has been reelected when the unemployment rate was above 8%.

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