The Chairman and CEO of the Gallup organization has said out loud what many pundits have been saying but the major media don’t report: The unemployment numbers are a ‘Big Lie’.


In an opinion piece on the Gallup website, Jim Clifton says the hype from the media, White House and Wall Street about the unemployment rate falling to 5.6% is just that — hype:

There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

Clifton says the numbers are a lie because they don’t count a shocking number of long term unemployed or underemployed people:

If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

He says that hardly qualifies as a full time job — which is what Americans believe are created when the monthly jobs totals come out:

Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.

Clifton warns there are real-world consequences to the shady calculus:

When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen’s talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.

While he says ‘Few Americans know’ about the back story on the numbers, most Americans know and can relate to the loss of the American dream.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Victoria,

    I think just as telling is the graph in the original Gallup article showing consumer spending from 2008 – 2015. It showed that monthly average consumer spending in December 2014 was still lower than 2008 levels, about the same as December 2013 and 2014 levels, and was not significantly greater than 2009 – 2012 December levels.

    This Administration has borrowed and spent trillions of dollars to stimulate the economy, yet consumer demand languishes. Even the Fed complained both about labor slack, “That is a large labor market slack. With subdued wages and prices, it is no wonder why employment creation has become a major concern in the exercise of the Fed’s policy mandate.”, as well as consumer spending, “household expenditures and residential investments – nearly three-quarters of the U.S. economy – were a weaker source of growth last year compared with 2013.”

    Obama recently admonished Republicans to pass his budget “investing” the dollars in infrastructure to create the growth needed to revive the economy. We’ve heard it all before. And yet since 2009, deficits created by the Administration’s spending programs have added some $7 to the national debt which is now in excess of $18 Trillion, while correspondingly the GDP has increased from $15 Trillion to only $17 Trillion in the same period. Roughly $7 Trillion borrowed and spent was “invested” to create an increase in economic output of $2 Trillion. Given the Administration’s lackluster performance over the past 6 years, the President shouldn’t admonish anyone. His return on “investment” is pathetic!