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Who should be officially classified "Unemployed" and why?

pinqy

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Whenever people claim that the discouraged, or marginally attached, or part time workers or whoever should be I always ask WHY?...hoping for an intelligent argument. But I never get one....just assertions and claims of "they're really unemployed." Or even dictionary defintions, which are worse than useless because they would include children and dead people and just not useful in any way.

So....who should be classified as Unemployed and why is that definition more useful than the current? Questions that must be considered are "Why do we want to know this information?" "What use will knowing it be put?" "Is this definition the most useful for our purposes?'

As a review...the definition before 1967 was:
Unemployed Persons comprise all persons who did not work at all during the survey week and were looking for work, regardless of whether or not they were eligible for unemployment insurance. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days (and were not in school during the survey week); or (c) would have been looking for work except that they were temporarily ill or believed no work was available in their line of work or in the community. Persons in this latter category will usually be
residents of a community in which there are only a few dominant industries which were shut down during the survey week. Not included in this category are persons who say they were not looking for work because they were too old, too young, or handicapped in any way.​

From 1967-1993:
Unemployed persons comprise all persons who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past 4 weeks, and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which
they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days

From 1994-Present:
Unemployed persons. All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
 

Socrates1

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Whenever people claim that the discouraged, or marginally attached, or part time workers or whoever should be I always ask WHY?...hoping for an intelligent argument. But I never get one....just assertions and claims of "they're really unemployed." Or even dictionary defintions, which are worse than useless because they would include children and dead people and just not useful in any way.

So....who should be classified as Unemployed and why is that definition more useful than the current? Questions that must be considered are "Why do we want to know this information?" "What use will knowing it be put?" "Is this definition the most useful for our purposes?'

As a review...the definition before 1967 was:
Unemployed Persons comprise all persons who did not work at all during the survey week and were looking for work, regardless of whether or not they were eligible for unemployment insurance. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days (and were not in school during the survey week); or (c) would have been looking for work except that they were temporarily ill or believed no work was available in their line of work or in the community. Persons in this latter category will usually be
residents of a community in which there are only a few dominant industries which were shut down during the survey week. Not included in this category are persons who say they were not looking for work because they were too old, too young, or handicapped in any way.​

From 1967-1993:
Unemployed persons comprise all persons who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past 4 weeks, and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which
they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days

From 1994-Present:
Unemployed persons. All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

For starters everyone on welfare and all 20 million illegals . :lol:
 

joG

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Whenever people claim that the discouraged, or marginally attached, or part time workers or whoever should be I always ask WHY?...hoping for an intelligent argument. But I never get one....just assertions and claims of "they're really unemployed." Or even dictionary defintions, which are worse than useless because they would include children and dead people and just not useful in any way.

So....who should be classified as Unemployed and why is that definition more useful than the current? Questions that must be considered are "Why do we want to know this information?" "What use will knowing it be put?" "Is this definition the most useful for our purposes?'

As a review...the definition before 1967 was:
Unemployed Persons comprise all persons who did not work at all during the survey week and were looking for work, regardless of whether or not they were eligible for unemployment insurance. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days (and were not in school during the survey week); or (c) would have been looking for work except that they were temporarily ill or believed no work was available in their line of work or in the community. Persons in this latter category will usually be
residents of a community in which there are only a few dominant industries which were shut down during the survey week. Not included in this category are persons who say they were not looking for work because they were too old, too young, or handicapped in any way.​

From 1967-1993:
Unemployed persons comprise all persons who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past 4 weeks, and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which
they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days

From 1994-Present:
Unemployed persons. All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

Any of the definitions is fine, if it fits the question one has. The participation rate can easily be what you need. What is important is that it is always the same one you follow, as you otherwise cannot interpret the number. This is especially important in international comparisons.
 

ttwtt78640

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.
 

pinqy

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.

Why? What exactly are you trying to measure and to what end? Why exclude under 18 and over 65? Keep in mind that not everyone who is unemployed "needs" a job or receives any kind of benefit.

It seems to me that you're trying to measure poverty, not unemployment.
 

joG

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.

I can see your point, but somehow cannot totally agree. But it is a number that should be published as publicly as unemployment. But paying means tested support is not a good idea any more and should probably be replaced by a minimum income of some sort.
 

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.

I don't want to argue with your interpretation, but am just asking for clarification on one point.

Are we including any and all "means testing" of persons with "jobs" that are eligible to receive government assistance or subsidies for any reason...at any income levels ...or are poor-folk the subject of your focus?
 

Carjosse

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.

They are still employed, they have a job. The same with with your age range, those under 18 and over 65 still readily participate in the work force so they should be included in unemployment, unless they choose not to. All your reform would do is mess up statistics collection and analysis.
 

ttwtt78640

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Why? What exactly are you trying to measure and to what end? Why exclude under 18 and over 65? Keep in mind that not everyone who is unemployed "needs" a job or receives any kind of benefit.

It seems to me that you're trying to measure poverty, not unemployment.

I am trying to measure gainful or self sufficient employment - the goal of working. Being underemployed, working for less than you need to survive, is not fully employed. I am self employed and usually make enough to pay the monthly bills with a bit left over for "luxuries'. If I were to add a dependent (or two) that would no longer be the case even though my employment status did not change. When we "ended welfare as we knew it" its cost actually went up.

Two folks enrolled in a class are both students but if one is learning (passing he course) and the other is not then they are hardly in the same boat. Two folks working at a McJob are both employed but if one needs no public assistance and the other does then they are not in the same boat.
 

ttwtt78640

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I don't want to argue with your interpretation, but am just asking for clarification on one point.

Are we including any and all "means testing" of persons with "jobs" that are eligible to receive government assistance or subsidies for any reason...at any income levels ...or are poor-folk the subject of your focus?

Means tested implies that the reason for the public assistance is the lack of sufficient employment (income). Poor is generally a combination of low income and the need for more income - a single person making $20K/year may not be seen as poor (eligible for public assistance) but a person trying to support a family of three on that same $20K/year may be seen as poor.
 

JohnfrmClevelan

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I would add anyone who is not disabled (working or not) that is getting "means tested" government assistance. It seems dishonest to say that unemployment is only 5% while 15% are unable to fully support themselves (and their dependents) without "means tested" government assistance. I would exclude only those that are permanently disabled, under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. In other words, simply having a "McJob" that does not exclude you from getting "means tested" government assistance should not count as (fully??) employed - perhaps a category of partially employed or underemployed needs to be added.

I think this is a sensible way to think about it.

To me, there are only a few categories of people that I would exclude from the labor force - full-time students, the disabled, the retired (SS eligibility seems like a good cutoff), the independently wealthy (enough to not have to work), and (possibly) spouses in households that make over some threshold. Eliminate those, and you are left with people who need to make an income to survive. To that end, as ttwtt said, it makes sense to count anybody not earning enough (min. wage x 2000, maybe?) as not functionally employed.

I don't see the purpose of not counting the discouraged, part-timers, or otherwise unable to support themselves as unemployed, except to gloss over the real problems we have.
 

ttwtt78640

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I can see your point, but somehow cannot totally agree. But it is a number that should be published as publicly as unemployment. But paying means tested support is not a good idea any more and should probably be replaced by a minimum income of some sort.

The idea of a minimum income varies. Some take that to mean everyone (from birth until death) gets the same public assistance of $X/year (no matter what - like the Alaska Fund) while others take that to mean a negative income tax system for "needy households".
 

joG

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The idea of a minimum income varies. Some take that to mean everyone (from birth until death) gets the same public assistance of $X/year (no matter what - like the Alaska Fund) while others take that to mean a negative income tax system for "needy households".

The main thing is to save the costs of bureaucracy. To do that the payment has to be untested for means.
 

ttwtt78640

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The main thing is to save the costs of bureaucracy. To do that the payment has to be untested for means.

The problem with that idea is that in order to help the (poorest?) 15% then you must "over serve" the 85% that do not any assistance. It simply flips the "means tested" deal since only the top X% are taxed to pay for it.
 

Redress

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Whenever people claim that the discouraged, or marginally attached, or part time workers or whoever should be I always ask WHY?...hoping for an intelligent argument. But I never get one....just assertions and claims of "they're really unemployed." Or even dictionary defintions, which are worse than useless because they would include children and dead people and just not useful in any way.

So....who should be classified as Unemployed and why is that definition more useful than the current? Questions that must be considered are "Why do we want to know this information?" "What use will knowing it be put?" "Is this definition the most useful for our purposes?'

As a review...the definition before 1967 was:
Unemployed Persons comprise all persons who did not work at all during the survey week and were looking for work, regardless of whether or not they were eligible for unemployment insurance. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days (and were not in school during the survey week); or (c) would have been looking for work except that they were temporarily ill or believed no work was available in their line of work or in the community. Persons in this latter category will usually be
residents of a community in which there are only a few dominant industries which were shut down during the survey week. Not included in this category are persons who say they were not looking for work because they were too old, too young, or handicapped in any way.​

From 1967-1993:
Unemployed persons comprise all persons who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past 4 weeks, and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which
they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days

From 1994-Present:
Unemployed persons. All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

There is a reason we have multiple measures of unemployment, because there are multiple useful ways to define it. Here, this might help as a highlight: Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization
 

joG

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The problem with that idea is that in order to help the (poorest?) 15% then you must "over serve" the 85% that do not any assistance. It simply flips the "means tested" deal since only the top X% are taxed to pay for it.

Of course the taxes would be structured to fit. But that is quiet doable.
 

ttwtt78640

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Of course the taxes would be structured to fit. But that is quiet doable.

The devil is in those details since our congress critters refuse to tax enough to cover even their (our?) current spending. Free stuff is never really free - it is just paid for in a different way. ;)
 

pinqy

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There is a reason we have multiple measures of unemployment, because there are multiple useful ways to define it. Here, this might help as a highlight: Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Yes, I am familiar with the alternative measures. But they all use the same definition of "unemployed." I'm talking about those who want to change the definition altogether, or eliminate the U-3 and redefine the numerator of the U-4, U-5, or U-6 as being "unemployed."
 

Redress

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Yes, I am familiar with the alternative measures. But they all use the same definition of "unemployed." I'm talking about those who want to change the definition altogether, or eliminate the U-3 and redefine the numerator of the U-4, U-5, or U-6 as being "unemployed."

What difference does it make? As long as we have the information, what does it matter what it is called?
 

DA60

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Whenever people claim that the discouraged, or marginally attached, or part time workers or whoever should be I always ask WHY?...hoping for an intelligent argument. But I never get one....just assertions and claims of "they're really unemployed." Or even dictionary defintions, which are worse than useless because they would include children and dead people and just not useful in any way.

So....who should be classified as Unemployed and why is that definition more useful than the current? Questions that must be considered are "Why do we want to know this information?" "What use will knowing it be put?" "Is this definition the most useful for our purposes?'

As a review...the definition before 1967 was:
Unemployed Persons comprise all persons who did not work at all during the survey week and were looking for work, regardless of whether or not they were eligible for unemployment insurance. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days (and were not in school during the survey week); or (c) would have been looking for work except that they were temporarily ill or believed no work was available in their line of work or in the community. Persons in this latter category will usually be
residents of a community in which there are only a few dominant industries which were shut down during the survey week. Not included in this category are persons who say they were not looking for work because they were too old, too young, or handicapped in any way.​

From 1967-1993:
Unemployed persons comprise all persons who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past 4 weeks, and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be called back to a job from which
they had been laid off; or (b) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days

From 1994-Present:
Unemployed persons. All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.


Really?

'in·tel·li·gent
inˈteləjənt/
adjective
having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level.'


https://www.google.ca/search?source...lligent def&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.3319j0j8


So, you have never gotten an 'intelligent argument' on this subject from ANYONE on this board?

And how do you quantify an 'intelligent argument'?

Are you referring to the argument itself? Which would be odd because I am not sure how a group of words can have an intelligence.

Or are you referring to the person you are arguing with? In which case; how do you know they are not intelligent? Have you seen an intelligence test that confirms your theory? If so, where are these test results for every, single person you have gotten into an 'argument' with over this subject?

Because without these test results, then I do not see how you can accurately make your highlighted statement (assuming, of course, an actual argument cannot have intelligence on it's own).
 

Lafayette

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Every month we have the claims of the "real unemployment rate," and even Trump and Sanders have questioned the official definitions.

Welcome to the infinitely various world of economic statistics!

Here is the definition employed by the OECD for its "harmonized unemployment rate" by country:
Those in unemployment are people aged 15 and over who were without work during the reference week, available for work and actively seeking work during the previous four weeks including the reference week. Without work refers to those not in paid employment or self-employment during the reference week. Available for work refers to those who were available for paid employment or self-employment during the reference week or four weeks after the reference week in the case of EU countries. Seeking work refers those who took specific steps to actively seek paid employment or self-employment during a specified recent period operationalised as previous four weeks including the survey reference week.

Not that it helps much, because it is highly "knit-picking".

Regardless of the definition, countries will report officially their numbers however pleases them. Still, they are kept in line by their national association of economists - who know, more or less, when politicians are "manipulating" the numbers.

Moreover, here is the entry to the OECD's own comparative compilation of national Unemployment Rates. The US is just left of center on that chart, at about 5.2%, which is somewhat lower than the rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is more like 5.5%.

And given that comparison, which shows the US to be rather favorably positioned on an international peer-group scale, why is there so much bitching-'n-moaning in the US about unemployment? Would you prefer to live in Italy with a rate at about 15%?

Buon giorno ... !

PS: Lest we forget, both major economic entities, the US and the EU, are coming out of one of the worst recessions since the 1930s.
 
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