Gallup CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton quipped on TV that he might “suddenly disappear” and “not make it home” after challenging the accuracy of the Obama administration-calculated unemployment numbers.
You may recall that former General Electric CEO Jack Welch created a firestorm in October 2012, in the run-up presidential election, by claiming that the falling unemployment rate was cooked to make the president look better.
In the CNBC interview on Wednesday, the boss of the respective research and polling organization seemed to be backpedaling somewhat on his strongly-worded editorial posted on the Gallup website that deemed the government’s 5.6 percent unemployment rate as “The Big Lie” and “extremely misleading.”
The Washington Post, on the other hand, responded that “the unemployment rate’s not a big lie. But calling it one is,” and that the federal government’s unemployment rate is “the worst stat about labor market slack except for all the others.”
Said Clifton to CNBC anchor Kelly Evans (who recently sparred with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul over vaccinations and other issues), “I think that the number that comes out of BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight.”
Clifton may have been alluding to the fact that the Obama administration far prefers that the media serve as cheerleaders for its agenda, which most TV journalistic outlets generally do, with the exception of the Fox News Channel.
He then added that government statistics are nonetheless misleading about the true employment picture because “the percent of full-time jobs in this country to the population is the worst it’s been in 30 years … that’s why the middle class has been hollowed out.” See embedded clip below.
Clifton’s essay stressed that government statistics exclude millions of U.S. job seekers who have given up looking for work entirely, but includes those who are forced into part-time work, even minimally so.
“If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment …”
The essay scolded the media and politicians for putting forth what the author contends is a false narrative about the unemployment picture.
“When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth — the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real — then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t ‘feeling’ something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.”
Clifton’s article didn’t mention that more U.S. residents are also dependent on government handouts such as food stamps than ever before.
Last March, Pope Francis asserted that meaningful work is an essential element in human dignity.
Do you think the unemployment rate in this country is actually declining or is it just political spin as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton suggests?
[image via Shutterstock]