Donald Trump says that you’d have to be a “dummy” to believe the government’s official unemployment rate of 5 percent.
He thinks the true jobless is closer to 20 percent and he vows to investigate government economic statistics,
such as “the way they are reported,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told the New York Post.
“When you look at some of these [economic] numbers they give out and then you go out and see people dying to get a job all over the country, I mean, it’s not jibing with what’s really going on,” Trump told the Post’s John Crudele.
“The economy is not doing well,” Trump said. “You know, John, I’m getting 20,000 to 25,000 people every time I make a speech, and they are not there just because of the border,” he said, referring to his vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico, Crudele reported.
“They are there because — and you know — if you put out a job notice, you’ll get thousands of people showing up to pick up a job,” Trump said.
Crudele contends that “the official unemployment rate is conveniently reduced by a number of factors,” such as the exclusion of out-of-work people who have stopped looking for work for more than a year because they may have grown frustrated by the lack of jobs. “The truly frustrated aren’t counted at all,” Crudele said.
“A less popular unemployment stat, called the U-6, which measures some of these idled souls plus others who are forced to work part-time because they can’t find a 40-hour-a-week gig, stands at 9.7 percent,” Crudele said.
Crudele, Trump and other economists contend that if frustrated and idled workers were counted, the true unemployment rate would be about 20 percent.
To be sure, the “official” Bureau of Labor Statistics data often give conflicting views of the economy.
For example, a recent report said job openings climbed in March to the second-highest level on record, a sign the U.S. labor market stayed strong in the first quarter.
The number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 149,000 to 5.76 million, the most since record 5.79 million help-wanted signs went up in July. Hiring decreased to 5.29 million from 5.51 million in February. Some 2.98 million people quit their jobs, up from 2.98 million, keeping the quits rate at 2.1 percent.
Elevated job listings, along with scant signs of headcount reductions, show employers remained confident last quarter even as U.S. growth slowed. The slump in the pace of hiring could be a sign that as the economy gets closer to full employment, companies have a tougher time finding qualified staff, Bloomberg reported.
The rise in job openings “is especially encouraging in the light of the plunge in the stock market in January and early February, which we thought would depress hiring plans for a time,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note after the report.
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