Friday, September 2, 2011

Striking Verizon Workers Were Counted As Unemployed???

According to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) own website, workers involved in an "industrial dispute" -- a strike -- are counted as being employed and should never appear in any section of the Monthly Unemployment Report as being unemployed. Here's the actual text from the pertinent BLS FAQ:
"Who is counted as employed?

Not all of the wide range of job situations in the American economy fit neatly into a given category. For example, people are considered employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey week. This includes all part-time and temporary work, as well as regular full-time, year-round employment. Persons also are counted as employed if they have a job at which they did not work during the survey week, whether they were paid or not, because they were:

On vacation
Experiencing child-care problems
Taking care of some other family or personal obligation
On maternity or paternity leave
Involved in an industrial dispute
Prevented from working by bad weather"

Yet, in this morning's Employment Report, 45,000 striking Verizon workers were tallied in the unemployment stats for "Information Technology" workers and, then, were rolled up into the final count; reflecting zero jobs being gained for the month. This fact was duly noted in the first paragraph of this morning's BLS news release, when it was stated: "a decline in information employment reflected a strike". (Click here to see the actual BLS new release) However, if the striking workers were properly counted as being employed, there should have been a job growth of 45,000 jobs for the month instead of the reported zero.

So, what gives? Are striking workers now suddenly being included as part of the unemployment stats when they have never been counted this way in the past? Was the inclusion of the striking Verizon workers a convenient way of making this report look worse than it really was in order to help Obama get support for his jobs speech and plan of next week? Something really stinks on ice with this one! After all, the BLS is a government agency that reports to Obama through the Secretary of Labor and, I wouldn't put it passed that agency to tweak the numbers for the greatest possible political leverage. Then, next month, the BLS will just correct the problem with one of their many and constant statistical "revisions". In the meantime, we just might be seeing another one of Obama's deceitful manipulations of the facts.

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