|The Persistence of Memory|
somebody said the calculation of unemployment has not changed.
they said it vaguely, so that it wasn't quite a lie.
but it is not true.
3:16 AM 3/16/2017
a couple days ago I saw it.
// Here it is:
The White House Takes Its Attacks On Jobs Data To A New (And Dangerous) Level
by Ben Casselman at five thirty eight
filed under Data Integrity
"(When pressed by Tapper, Mulvaney acknowledged that he didn’t think the Bureau of Labor Statistics had changed the way it collected jobs data since Trump took office.)"
"... there is no conspiracy here. Obama didn’t change the definition of unemployment, which has been essentially unchanged for decades."
The words "essentially unchanged for decades" link to
Ques12 is "Have there been any changes in the definition of unemployment?"
The answer is
"The concepts and definitions underlying the labor force data have been modified, but not substantially altered, even though they have been under almost continuous review by interagency governmental groups, congressional committees, and private groups since the inception of the Current Population Survey."
So yes, there have been changes. But the answer is not specific as to what those changes were.
If memory serves, under Clinton they added the condition that if you stop looking for work, you are no longer counted as unemployed. Clinton or Reagan, I forget. I think Reagan changed the inflation calculation and Clinton changed the unemployment calc.
Here you go:
"Yes, there have been modest shifts through the decades in how unemployment is defined, the last ones in 1994." -- Justin Fox at Bloomberg
What I can't figure out is why there is no discontinuity in the data at 1994. Can't see one on a graph. I've looked.
The Bloomberg article starts out very interesting, then drops off to asking
"Does this mean that the unemployment rate is some sort of “big lie” or “hoax...?”
(Can't you just deal with the economics? If you are addressing the question of the 'big lie' then you are NOT doing economics)
Then it gets interesting again.
The article challenges my memory:
"And when the U.S. government finally started measuring unemployment on a monthly basis in 1940 it was with a similar understanding that you didn’t count as unemployed unless you really wanted to work."
The "similar understanding" is a reference to "men who would have liked to work if they could have found a job that paid as much as they had been earning before."
But no, that's not really the same as no longer looking for work...
Recommended reading: What's Really Wrong With the Unemployment Rate by Justin Fox at Bloomberg. It gets specific about those changes in the unemployment calculation.
But I remember that NY Times article I read back in the '90s...