Rich Galen
We have previously established in MULLINGS that I am mathematically challenged. It's not arithmetic dyslexia; I just can't do the calculations properly. The Lad, sadly, has inherited my non-functional math gene.

Having said that, I am hoping that one of you will be able to explain how the unemployment number went from 10.2 percent in October to 10.0 percent in November, in spite of the economy shedding 11,000 jobs.

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It seems to me that the unemployment rate should not go down unless the number of people working goes up.

Oh, wait. This might help. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics web page FAQ: The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:

People with jobs are employed.

People who are jobless, looking for jobs, and available for work are unemployed.

[In another area, the BLS defined unemployment, thus: "Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work."]

People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Sounds like something Emmanuel Goldstein might have said in George Orwell's novel 1984: People who are neither employed nor unemployed are … non-people.

Nope. That's not it. According to the BLS' stats, in October 138,275,000 were employed. In November that number was 138,502,000 which appears to be an increase of about 250,000 people having found employment.

Yet, according to the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in November (-11,000). Since the recession began, payroll employment has decreased by 7.2 million.

To recap: 11,000 people lost their jobs. 250,000 more people are employed. Unemployment went down from 10.2 to 10.0.


Someone … Is … Fiddling … With … The … Numbers.

New Topic I:

While most of us blissfully contemplated the BSC bowl games on Saturday and watched the NFL on Sunday, our hardworking U.S. Senators were working, working debating provisions of the healthcare legislation.

About which, David Espo, the senior reporter for the Associated Press wrote this:

"Across hours of rhetoric, poll-tested charges and countercharges proliferated. Partial truths vied with inflated claims."

That kind of writing tells you why Espo is among the most respected journalists in Your Nation's Capital.

New Topic II:

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at