Subtracting Out the Rhetoric

Statistics and fractions are funny things and easily manipulated. For example, when talking about issues such as the unemployment rate, small percentages score political points. So the Bush administration continues to harp on just how low the unemployment rate has fallen, taking advantage of the Bureau of Labor Statistics various measures of underutilization that allows the “hiding” of millions of unemployed.

While President Bush continues to praise the “low” unemployment rate, he neglects the soaring number of “discouraged workers” leaving the labor force. In fact, a recent report by the Labor Department found that “the share of the working-age population working or actively seeking a job…fell to 65.8 percent in January, the lowest reading in 17 years.”

Another example of President Bush’s rhetoric just not adding up.