- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2012

The unemployment rate is manipulated. A cursory look at the unemployment statistics reveals a disconnect. The rate decreased in September while the number of jobs gained also decreased. How can the percentage of people who are unemployed decrease in the same month that the number of jobs gained decreases?

It would seem that if there are fewer jobs gained, there will be fewer people employed, and the unemployment rate should increase. Why did the opposite occur? The unemployment rate uses only the number of people who are looking for work but cannot find work, and does not include those who are unemployed but not looking for work. Thus, the answer to the question seems to be that a number of people who are unemployed but are not looking for work has increased enough to more than offset the fewer number of jobs gained.

President Obama changed the work requirement in the welfare-to-work law so people on welfare are no longer required to seek work. Previously, people on welfare were required to look for employment and were included in the number of people seeking work. Thus, they were included in the unemployment statistic. However, with the change, people who are in the welfare-to-work program and who remain unemployed are no longer included in the unemployment rate, since they no longer need to seek work. As a result, the unemployment rate declined at the same time the number of jobs created dropped because far fewer people were included in the data. The president changed a successful welfare-to-work program so he could tout his jobs creation.

TERRY GERNSTEIN


McLean, Va.