Robert Winner


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How can the unemployment numbers keep going down with all the cuts and reductions to under 25 hours (not full time).

CISCO just announced cuts of 4,000 all universities are cutting hours. The Arizona Republic just announced that ASU will cut 200 and reduction of hundreds to 25 hours a week maximum to save money before the Obamacare 30 hour rule comes into effect. About a month ago Mesa Community reduced 1,500 to 25 or less hours a week. Cuts, layoffs, and reductions are a national trend.

With thousands of cuts being announced every week how do the numbers of unemployed keep getting better.

Perhaps I need a math refresher course.

  • Aug 16 2013: The raw "unemployment number" in the USA does not distinguish between full and part-time employment. It only looks at those people who are looking for work within the previous four weeks vs. the total of those people and everyone who is employed. It is an innately dishonest figure.

    A much more honest number would be the unemployed adults vs. total population. If I may illustrate:

    In January of 2009, the "unemployment rate" was 7.8%. In July of 2013, it was 7.4%, between, there was a high of 10.0% for October of 2009. Hallelujah, Obama? Hardly. Remember, the official "unemployment rate" is a cooked number. It pretends that people who have given up from hopelessness do not exist. If we look at unemployed adults vs. population, in January 2009 it was 39.4%. It hit a high point of 41.8% in November of 2010 AND June and July of 2011! Now, here's the kicker, as of July 2013, the "recovered" unemployed vs. population was 41.3%! That's right. According to the government's "unemployment rate", we have "recovered" from the worst. According to a realistic measure, we're still neck deep in crap.

    But wait, It gets better! When we look at the proportion of adults who do not have a full-time job (unemployed plus part-timers), January 2009 is at 50.7%, the worst point is 53.4% in November of 2010, and it ends up at 52.8% in July of 2013.

    SOOOOOOO, according to the official government lie, we have "recovered" and even gained ground from January of 2009. According to looking at employment vs. population total, we might not be at the worst ever rate since 2009 began, but any "recovery" is preposterously slow and we have not made up lost ground to bet better than how we started. If we look at full time vs. population, it's the same story.

    Moral: The "unemployment rate" is a lie, and anyone who uses it to tell you we have a "recovery" is a liar or a moron.
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      Aug 16 2013: Bryan, Good and valid analysis. The employment agencies must be drooling. With companies going to 25 hour weeks contract employees and part timers are in vogue. The bad part is that they will make to much to qualify for either state or federal insurance.

      I had proposed in another reply that the stats should show 30+hour employed with benefits and also less than 30 with no benefits.

      I use the National Debit Clock to get base figures. We now have a new category call underemployed.

      When I come back in my next life I want to be a spin doctor and cook up the numbers and facts. Now that there would be fun.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
      • Aug 28 2013: I think this reply neglects to point out that a person who is unemployed may not need a job. You could be self employed, you could be retired, you could be married, you could be a trust fund baby, you could be in prison, etc.

        I agree that simply looking at how many people are "looking for a job" is misleading. But likewise, just looking at those who are not "employed" is also misleading.

        The total number of unemployed includes those who are unemployed by choice or circumstance.
        The number looking for a job ignores those who have given up, but is a relevant number for businesses.

        What is relevant for job searchers is to know the numbers for that particular job. Unemployment rates for those without a high school diploma are the highest, and for those with a college degree they are the lowest. Even at the height of the recession I was able to get a job because in my profession there is a lack. There are jobs that require graduate level training in which there has been a shortage in this country through the worst of the recession.
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          Aug 28 2013: Stuart, I have posted two or three conversations "around" this subject. What I have found out is that there is no "standard" in determining "employed" or "unemployed".

          What I have proposed over and over is that the national "numbers" should have "rules" in determining the stat. I use the National Debit Clock. It has the base data needed. It shows the political number and the actual number. I use actual.

          How many people work for cash under the table? This came to light during Katrina. New Orleans is one of the largest welfare cities in the US. People work for cash under the table making them eligible to also draw welfare from state and federal programs.

          This not only skews the numbers it robs the taxes due and puts the burden on the people who play by the rules.

          Like you and Edward pointed out today .... the numbers are pretty much what the speaker wants them to be.

          The numbers will highly favor "growth in employment" since Obamacare made 30 hours the work week. Employers cut workers back to 25 hours ... now the worker must work two jobs to break even. When he/she gets the second job the numbers will reflect growth. Of course there are those who will buy into this as growth. The very program that was designed to provide "affordable health care" has damaged the workers jobs and benefits.

          The current numbers Political: 7% unemployment .... many noted experts say it is well above 20%. My figures say it is about 17 to 19 % but I do not add in "underemployed".

          The question is ..... present a better means of reporting employed and unemployed.

          Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    Aug 15 2013: It's not math, Robert, it's medicine! To reduce high blood pressure you drain some blood from the patient. The readings quickly come into the acceptable range. This regimen has been known to end badly.
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    Aug 15 2013: I think the numbers count only people who take unemployment compensation. If a person is working part time and therefore not qualified for unemployment compensation, she would not appear in the count.

    One term that reflects that situation is "underemployment." Underemployment also includes those with, say, the qualifications to practice engineering or law who are employed behind the counter at the hardware store.
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      Aug 26 2013: "One term that reflects that situation is "underemployment." Underemployment also includes those with, say, the qualifications to practice engineering or law who are employed behind the counter at the hardware store."

      I have many of those t-shirts. I'm just about a jack of many seasonal/part-time trades. However, I have personally contacted or filled out at least, at the least 50 apps in the past year. I have not given up, I have somewhat learned how to emotionally handle this 1 of 2 long distant marathons. It's like getting on a bike and peddling as it goes absolutely nowhere, no positive outcome. An interview is like a privilege to change out of first gear. After getting nothing out of second gear a few times, one may begin to look into his/her self analyzing under strict self consciousness and judgments or reasons WHY still no J-O-B. HA, my most recent experience a guy wanted 1 year at least of pizza cooking experience after he found out I was a commercial pilot. At first I blamed it on my shoes I was wearing. "Do you not like my shoes?" Cooking pizza, wowee talk about time consuming training, eh? I missed that short opportunity I had in mind to advance in my career studies (a $35 book and $150 airline transport pilot test). From desire -> hope -> dependent on others ->money. I see the big picture and where the black paint has hardened. I haven't been part of the "unemployment numbers" for a good length of time and believe me "they" make you fight for your number. What I have given up on is being 1 in that number, that unemployment paycheck, and pretending this government can help improve our lives.
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        Aug 26 2013: It is a very difficult time for young people starting out. I cannot remember where you live, but I know that young people in Europe are in a particularly horrible situation in this regard compared to what would have been normal, say, even a decade ago. This is true whether they are high school or college grads. Here are recent stats by country:

        Which country do you live in?
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          Aug 27 2013: Country doesn't matter. I'll go to any with an opportunity and I just may have come across one here in the US for now, going into second gear in no more than a month. It depends on how quickly I study and retain the material for a test I need to pass before interview. I'm no old geezer as some laugh and call themselves here but I'm no spring chicken either.

          Think about it. Can we not just do what we enjoy doing? Do we all have to pick a "passion" for a life time? Do we all have to compete with each other in such a way that disables us from doing what we enjoy doing if we have the knowledge or willingness to learn of more than one selected field? Do we have to always think about what will we gain individually(material) in return out of doing something? Should money hinder us from what we desire to do especially if technology has the ability to take over many labor jobs (in an equality sense)? I believe we should all volunteer where help is needed as a society that leans more towards good deeds rather than keeping the unemployed in such a state of uselessness. The hell with money eventually and the fat babies crying for another bottle of milk.
          For the young out there, thinking about family life and settling down in the US? What's the point? Even that is corrupt now. Take a look at the devoice rates and broken home families these days. It's become a fad.
          I'm looking forward to living out of a suitcase and in hotel rooms for the first time of my life which was never my dream or "passion" but, life happens and I believe it is best for me at this time of my life. Now, it's about experiencing the life of an airline pilot that has never before been appealing to me. Now, it brings a shocking sense of adventure.
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        Aug 27 2013: I am glad you are moving into a promising adventure of flying..

        I think many people have a variety of interests they pursue in their personal and professional lives rather than a single, narrowly-defined passion. Many people become disgruntled and confused because they believe they must have a single driving passion to feel fulfilled.

        I absolutely live by the idea of volunteering however I can to use what I can do for good. One problem I have seen is that in some locations, most of the really engaging volunteer opportunities are fully absorbed by those who are also working in interesting jobs. Getting a volunteer job can be as competitive as seeking employment. Then those who are unemployed find themselves also challenged to find volunteer opportunities where they live in which they can take responsibility and use and further develop their skills.
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          Aug 27 2013: "Then those who are unemployed find themselves also challenged to find volunteer opportunities where they live in which they can take responsibility and use and further develop their skills."

          I have experienced this challenge as well. I found it to be unbelievable and linked to some rules that do exist hindering or disabling us to live a good life (where our virtues are respected and valued). It can become a steady diet of nothing living for survival through government programs or dumpster diving. This site is volunteering thoughts and ideas. I believe it would be best if we went an extra mile beyond having something concrete to shotw from all these thoughts and ideas compiled not for what one individual can gain in return from it. I believe this is why there is little feedback. For example, a thread titled "how to roof a home with the least amount of labor?" Thoughts->ideas->technology->experiment->problems needed to be addressed->an end product (a technological advanced tool for the benefit of everyone). A certain number of these per city based on location and population. Of course, Florida and tropical islands would have the most in number of these.
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        Aug 28 2013: I think sites that try to do everyone people might find useful will likely do few well.

        In terms of DIY, here is one of my favorite talks, by a TED fellow, I think:

        And here is Jakobowski's related initiative:

        Here are some DIY sites on the web that already do a great job in pooling those with DIY advice to give and those who need DIY advice: DIYNetwork, Makezine, Hammerzone, 5min, GreenUpgrader, Readymade, Instriuctables, Wisebread, Howcast, Unclutterer, HowToCleanAnything, BobVila, Lifehacker, eHow, Craftszine, and Hackaday.
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          Aug 28 2013: Thanks Fritzie, I am aware of some of these sites. These are DIY sites that pertain to the individual or small scale as usual. Still the extra mile I am speaking of is missing...beyond what government is willing to do, beyond personal gain, and for the benefit of everyone. Instructables does not provide instructions on how to feed and shelter the homeless or how to put them in opportunities to help others to there best ability. Something tells me there is plenty potential that goes to waste because of many reasons and not the big myth of laziness but just the opposite... power, control, greed, competition, individualism... Put a city through a major disaster and they unify until just until it is over. When it's over it's back to individualism and competition (sometimes it gets worse, New Orleans for example). I'll never understand.
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        Aug 28 2013: There are other sites (not the DIY sites that were my response to the question of simple ways of putting up a roof) that specialize in questions like your second- for example efficient/cost effective designs of shelters in response to disasters!

        You only have to do a search for them. One whose work I have read is Architecture for Humanity. Part of what they are is an open-source network, but their design professionals also offer pro-bono advice and they have regular architectural design competitions focused on such shelter.

        I have their book with lots of sample templates:

        Alastair Parvins in his TED talks points us to this initiative of his: that is also related.

        I think Chris Anderson is great at getting people on the stage to share ideas and projects. We can then follow the links to the websites and active initiatives in any such area.

        My point is that it is reasonable for some sites and organizations to undertake some roles and seek to do an outstanding job with those and for other sites and organizations to take on other roles.
  • Aug 15 2013: Once you are "employed" even if it is 25 hours a week, you are no longer "unemployed". Same thing happens that once you stop looking for a job you are no longer counted in the numbers.

    Get you statistics and twist them as you please.
  • Aug 28 2013: Robert Winner

    I agree that you have a better form of reporting. I think the real issue is who is doing the reporting, not what is being reported. Since the Govt can gain from having good numbers and lose from having bad numbers you have a system that is biased towards those that can cook the books. Once you become elected and inherit books that have been cooked you have a very real problem that if you uncook them your numbers will look terrible and you will be voted out of office. You also have the political bias towards underreporting unemployment because it favors the lobbyists. Business wants high unemployment because it makes it easier to hire, to fire, and to keep salaries low. So trying to get credible numbers out there will always face a headwind.
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    Aug 28 2013: If the total number of ready, able, and fully qualified workers in America was 100, does anyone believe that only 7 of them cannot find a job? Does anyone believe we do not have a serious unemployment problem in America? The numbers can be manipulated to indicate any trend. It seems every debate becomes a struggle to define terms. What does the word "Unemployed" mean? It could mean: anyone who wants to work but is not employed; anyone who is not employed; anyone who was once employed but is no longer; anyone who is currently signed-up for unemployment benefits; anyone who is working less than 40-hours per week; anyone who was coerced into early retirement; anyone who is experienced in a given job function and is seeking a job in that function but cannot find one;etc. Remember Robert, statistics are like bikinis.
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      Aug 28 2013: Bingo .... I would rather study bikinis than unemployment .... what a job.
  • Aug 15 2013: every month the bureau of labor standards creates a sample of families across the US based on the census. There are 3 classes:

    1. those that are employed
    2. those that are unemployed but looking for a job
    3. those that are not working and not looking for a job.

    the labor force is the sum of 1 and 2. The rate is 2 divided by the labor force. Note that 3 is not considered part of the labor force and not in the unemployed The unemployment rate is very artificial due not counting part of 3. We can not count all of 3, retirees, people starting their own business, etc. but many are those who have become discouraged and have given up looking.

    Newspapers always announce with great banners cuts and companies are required by law to announce cuts months in most states. Usually, hiring except for very large hiring are not announced and the news outlets do not make much of it. Even during the growth years, there are large cuts.
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      Aug 15 2013: Yeah, I get the math. I have a hard time saying that a person working two days a week is employed. The family wage earner now works two to three jobs to make the same as one job in the past and no benefits. So as a example the 200 people cut at ASU all get three 25 hour a week jobs. That shows a loss of 200 in the employment stats and a gain of 600 all using the same people.

      Now that Obamacare has stated that the work week is 30 hours or more, perhaps the rules should be set to use the same criteria and two divisions Full Time and Part time. 30 Hours + and benefits and less than 30 and no benefits.

      If you look at the National Debit Clock it shows the Official unemployed as one half of the actual unemployed. We now have a new stat "underemployed". Plus there remains unemployed and not collecting or looking. Sure is a lot of ways to calculate this "fact". Everyone pretty much agrees that the number is about 17 - 19%and if underemployed is added tops 20+%. Then add in your group #3 and it gets really ugly at about 23 - 25%.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
      • Aug 16 2013: Yup and I could not agree more. I also feel that this is a structural unemployment and under employment that will last for years.
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    Aug 15 2013: The numbers get fudged by our "friends" the politicians. A better way to look at it is the number of jobs as this is less subject to being fudged. The real unemployment rate is estimated by the experts to be north of 20%. This is because of the previously mentioned underemployment and also the people who quit looking for work.

    Another thing to look at is that the level of jobs is just a little ahead of the level it was at in 2001, (roughly I don't remember the exact numbers) But the point is that 13 million people have been added to the population since then.

    Another factor is the obvious that modern technology has allowed more production with fewer workers. An analogy is the number of people employed in farming in the early 1900s was the vast majority of the population it has since dropped to what 3%?

    This is why it is so important to encourage investment at the small business level. This is where O fails miserably as did FDR. You see the economy never "recovers" in the exact manner that it shrank, instead it grows in new ways with new technology.
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      Aug 15 2013: Just raw numbers found on the National Debit Clock the unemployment rate is between 17 and 19%. I just reviewed two sites ... National debit clock ..... and M1, M2, and M3 money tables. In recommended readings was fiat money. I read the debits to China, unfunded liabilities, interests ...... I had to stop as there was a need to go to the toilet. I was that scared.

      I cannot think of a subject area where the National Debit Clock could not be used as a reference.

      The clock should be mandatory "reading" prior to allowing anyone to vote. If it become mandatory reading the term "Keynesian Economics" would be listed as "A failed project" in the history books.

      I looked under the paper on a case of oranges at the grocery store .... boxed and distributed in California grown in Mexico. The orange juice label stated from juices of oranges and listed 5 countries. You comment referencing farmers is well taken. Farms are Corps now ... very few small farmers.

      We are living in the age of mushrooms .... where they keep you in the dark and feed you manure.

      Be well. Bob.
  • Aug 15 2013: More people woeking fewer hours That's what one would expect now that we America is no longer rich. Other countries have been more concerned about their citizens. You may like politicans more than I and will find this offensive. But the business elites and politicians want to keep their jobs and refuse to tell us how bad things are. The leaders focus on the wrong variables we have serious structural problems.
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      Aug 15 2013: Yeah, your right one side serves red koolade and the other blue koolade.

      Wonder if things would be different if the guy in office could not campaign and could only publish his political record since the last election all taken from the congressional record. Things like how many votes, how many missed votes, how many trips, how many bills written, etc .... The ole what have you done for me ... and prove it. We give these people $250,000 a year with lots of perks. Shouldn't we monitor them and vote them out when they screw up? Your party means nothing to me when you screw me and rob me. That is why I am an independent.

      I think that a politician is a servant of the people when they forget that ... we need to remind them.

      I do not find your comment offensive. I admire your honesty and openness.

      Regards. Bob.
      • Aug 16 2013: Bob That's the sad point elections are so expensive certain people are always at the head of the line and the first to feed at the trough.

        This is very much like the two or three decades before the Great Depression. I remember one person reciting an old story that the Great Depression didn't end until the bankers were afraid. I am not sure that with these greatest bubbles in history growing larger larger and larger that there is much the average person can do except to have enough and in the right places to stay out of the way. We are in a time where some millionaires won't soon be so rich. We can see poorer people on the streets.