Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described socialist who took the Democratic Party by storm after her upset primary victory against entrenched incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley, has received a “pants on fire” rating for her comments on unemployment rates.
“Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs,” the 28-year-old New Yorker declared Friday in an interview on PBS’ “Firing Line.”
“Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family,” the congressional candidate said, slamming what she described as “Wild West hypercapitalism.”
Fact-checking site PolitiFact gave Ms. Ocasio-Cortez a “pants on fire” rating, saying her comments were “off in multiple ways.”
“When the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] determines the unemployment rate, a person is counted as employed as long as they have at least one job,” the website stated. “They don’t get counted twice if they have two jobs. So Ocasio-Cortez is wrong in saying multiple job holding and long hours affect the unemployment rate.
“Fewer than one in 20 employed Americans holds a second job of any type, and the people who might be working as much as 70 or 80 hours a week represent a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction. The rates for either statistic are not high by historical standards. In any case, the BLS does not use either of those factors in determining the official unemployment rate.”
Gary Burtless, an economist with the left-leaning Brookings Institution, argued that people working multiple jobs and long hours are actually positive factors in the labor market.
“Increases in the number of multiple job holders and longer average work hours almost always accompany a strengthening labor market — that is, a job market in which it is easier to find work, in which spells of unemployment are heading downwards, and in which the ranks of the unemployed are shrinking,” he told PolitiFact.