Without getting too bogged down in the weeds of employment statistics, the U3 -- or headline rate -- is what is considered "the" unemployment rate. That is what was reported at 8.6 this week. The U6 rate combines unemployed and "underemployed" and is at 15.6%. That's a great indicator, but the newsmaker is U3.
The U3 rate is the percentage of the "participating labor force" that is unemployed. That is all well and good, except that the Obama labor department has decided that it will simply manipulate the definition of "labor force" to suit its own needs. And what the Obama administration has done is simply shrink the definition of the "labor force" by pretending that hundreds of thousands of non-working adults are no longer in existence for all intents and purposes.
If you are offended that under ObamaCare you may be considered "a unit," you should know that under Obama employment stats you may not even exist! In fact, a lot of non-working adults who existed in October apparently no longer do exist officially.
In other words, in the universe Obama took over from George W. Bush, the unemployment rate would still be over 11%. Now, the last time I checked, the planet has not gotten smaller, nor has the population of the United States. (I am not sure about the sea levels.) To thinking people, there is no legitimate reason to shrink the potential labor pool. Of course, there is an illegitimate reason to do so: to protect the governing record of Barack Obama. Anyone who follows politics even casually knows that if the general public ever really figured out that the real unemployment rate is over 11%, Obama would have zero chance of re-election.Can you imagine the screams of protest from the media if a Republican president had altered the formula for calculating the rate of the unemployed to magically make the numbers appear better than what they really are on the eve of his re-election campaign? The real unemployment rate is over 11%, and even that rate is misleading because it doesn't include the people who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits because they've been unemployed so long. Only one person in the media seemed to question the unemployment rate statistics released on Friday, and he's the man credited with being the father of the Tea Party movement.
Among those they have not fooled, of course, is de facto Tea Party father Rick Santelli of CNBC. "I don't trust [these numbers]," said Santelli Friday on Squawk Box at the very moment the figures were released. "I want to see the labor force participation rate because personally I don't trust the U3 rate...and when you throw in the politics of the day -- because this is such a big number that resonates with the public -- there's a lot of movement in these numbers that can alter the rate significantly."
Santelli's initial instincts, of course, were right on the money. The participation rate had been jiggered to make Obama look good. Or, since it's 8.6, make him look less bad. And yes, "the politics of the day," as Santelli said, is the entire reason.Looking at it another way, only 55% of adults are now working. Apparently we are to believe that 45% of adults are now retired or disabled. At least you can feel good that the Obama administration has decided that hundreds of thousands of adults simply no longer exist in the eyes of the government if that's what it takes to make him look better in an election year. This is the cue to roll out the liberal propagandists to explain that this all about right wing conspiracy theorists trying to foment hatred of Obama.