Why you Still Shouldn't Be Fooled by 10.2%

John Campbell
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 11:01 AM

Two weeks ago, the Department of Labor released their latest unemployment numbers which put the current unemployment level at 10.2%.  You may remember, in a recent blog, I mentioned that there was more behind the 10.2% figure than one would hope and that the actual number is closer to 17.5% because the calculation does not account those individuals who have given up on finding work or those who are underemployed, such as individuals working part time but looking for full-time work.

According to a review by the Wall Street Journal there are a number of inconsistencies in the way the number of jobs ‘saved or created’ are calculated by the White House in regards to its Stimulus package. 

Take these examples for instance:

“A Kentucky shoe-store owner claimed to have created or saved nine jobs with an $889.60 contract to supply work boots to the Army Corps of Engineers. The owner said he supplied nine pairs of boots and that the mistake arose from confusion over the government form.”

“As many as 86% of the jobs estimated by recipients of Head Start grants could have been inaccurately reported, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The department said 277 of the 1,601 reports it had received were being reviewed after being contacted by the Journal. Those reports claimed 7,753 jobs created or saved out of a total of 8,997 reported.

"Holy moly, that's not right," Teresa Cox, executive director of the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency in Salem, Ore., said of her organization's report. It indicated that 205 jobs were created or saved with the agency's $397,761 federal grant. The money, she said, was used for pay raises.”

“Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., counted every part-time work-study position funded by the stimulus, and, in some cases, more than one work-study position held by the same student. That led to the university reporting that it had created or saved 483 jobs with a $193,469 grant for its work-study program. University spokeswoman Cindi Brownfield said the campus has since realized that the actual jobs number should have been written as the full-time equivalent of the jobs -- probably between 18 and 30.”