They’re at it again.
The Obama Administration and the media conspired on Friday to spin the unemployment figures for July and hide just how bad the economy remains.
There were 163,000 nonfarm jobs added in July, up from June. The media and White House touted this as a sign of great improvement in the economy.
What they didn’t mention is that July also saw the civilian noninstitutional population grow by 199,000. Also, 150,000 people left the civilian labor force, and the number of people employed decreased by 195,000 while those considered officially unemployed increased by 45,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That all was reflected in the fact that the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent to 8.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But what do they know?
Nothing, according to the White House, which quibbled that the actual jobless rate was “only” 8.254 percent, not 8.3.
According to Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, writing on the White House website, “The household survey showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217% in June to 8.254% in July).”
Krueger insisted that was “essentially unchanged,” despite the pesky mathematical increase.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans had a different take on the uptick. “Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families,” Romney said.
His words ring true in more ways than one. The flat number the White House and BLS reported is called the “U-3” statistic, and it only counts those recently unemployed who are currently looking for a job.
But there are many people who have either given up hope of getting a job or who are underemployed, working part time instead of full time. Those numbers are reflected in the BLS’s “U-6” category, the total unemployed, which for July rose to 15 percent from 14.9 percent.
So while the Associated Press touted the job growth as “the fastest pace since February” and the White House proclaimed 4.5 million jobs added in 29 months, the facts remained that the U.S. is still mired in the longest period of above-8 percent unemployment since World War II, 42 straight months.
The Associated Press some months ago had predicted below-8 percent unemployment in time to give Obama a re-election boost. At this point, his administration will need to do some heavy manipulation of numbers to get there.