Letter: Jobless rates are misleading

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2017

In the Sunday business section, there is an article via the AP which parrots once more the official Labor Department line of 4.1 percent unemployment, an artificially low, fudged figure, diffused for political purposes and reproduced by the media without any research or adverse comments.

There are better ways of calculating the true situation in the country, and several internet sites (The Balance, Gallup, Shadow Stats and National Economics Editorial) have their bit to say about the way the Labor Department arrived at its numbers.

Said bureaucratic office, answerable to politicos, gives 8.6 percent for the U-6 unemployment rate, a better figure and closer to reality; the Balance gives 9.4 percent; Shadow Stats, 21.7 percent; and National Economics Editorial, 13.3 percent.

Statista gives 14 percent underemployment for 2017. Obviously, something is wrong here. One can easily conclude that the official low figure is meant to allay anxiety — reproduced uncritically by a media given, not to “left-wing causes” as the far-right would have it, but to keeping the public conveniently sedated by feel-good notices.

Apologists for government mendacity (Gulf of Tonkin incident, WMD in Iraq, the farce of the Gramm-Rudman bill and denials, denials, denials) may accuse critics of conspiracy theorizing, yet I clearly remember the comment that when a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted. Dishonesty of this sort serves neither the government nor the media in the long run.

— Richard Nash Creel