March 8, 2012

Unemployment Definition - Abbott and Costello


U.S. Unemployment Up in February | Underemployment is 19.1%, up from 18.7% in January

PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1% in February from 8.6% in January and 8.5% in December.

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible times. It's 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: Wait a minute. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
OSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

[Via Free Republic]

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 8, 2012 11:45 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

There must be an English translation somewhere

Posted by: John Rixey Moore at March 8, 2012 12:22 PM

There must be an English translation somewhere

Posted by: John Rixey Moore at March 8, 2012 12:23 PM

By this methodology, if enough people were out of work for long enough, the unemployment rate could, theoretically, drop to zero percent. Therefore, the methodology cannot be correct.

Why doesn't somebody in the media point that out?

Oh, never mind....

Posted by: ELC at March 8, 2012 5:33 PM

That's exactly correct. If everybody was laid off, exhausted their benefits, and stopped looking for work, the unemployment rate would drop to zero.

We've come to a pretty pass when Abbott and Costello make more sense than the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Posted by: rickl at March 8, 2012 6:21 PM

Once again, truth is the ultimate casualty.

Remember when the Soviet people had to stand in line for loaves of bread, and the Communist Party would have their State media organs trumpeting bumper crops of wheat so that the people would think the shortages would be ending soon...even though there was no bumper crop?

The Left has their American Pravda accomplishing the same results.

Borrowing a sentiment from one of the Founders...We live in a time when speaking the truth is a revolutionary act...

Posted by: Bruce O'H. at March 10, 2012 5:20 AM

I bet if everyone quit looking for work, there would be a lot more job openings. Then we would have an administration creating a new record in job vacancies, once again proving ... something...
Just like the surge in oil and gas produced on private property is the result of the administrations manipulations... sure.

Posted by: tomw at March 19, 2012 7:53 AM