In a recent opinion piece for Gallup.com, the CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, called the current unemployment rate of 5.6% "a lie" because it excludes workers who want to work but, for the lack of job availability, have given up looking. Thus, the Census Bureau considers them not part of the workforce and excludes them in their tally for the official unemployment rate. Clifton could have written that same article when talking about the unemployment rate under most modern-day Presidents. It has always been the case. Both in good times and bad. He also goes on to point out that if a person works sporadically or day-works with many days going without work, he/she is still counted as being employed. Because of these factors, Gallup claims that as many as 30 million workers may fall into the category of not working or looking for work or sporadically working A number that is substantially higher than the current official 8.7 million unemployed.
This whole issue of not counting workers who aren't looking for work has been debated for years and believe me, every President probably wants the current system of "official" unemployment reporting to remain as is because it makes them look better. This is truly the case with Barack Obama. There is no way he wants the American people to know that when you add in those not looking for work, the actual unemployment rate is 11.2% and, not the 5.6% that is being reported.
Also, what you will never hear is the fact that in November 2007, a month before the start of the recession, the official unemployment rate was 4.7% and the unofficial rate was only 8.4%. That means that the current official unemployment rate is still nearly 20% higher than it was pre-recession; and, almost 35% higher than the unofficial unemployment rate number. Yet, despite these facts, the President had no problem stating in his recent address, that the "the shadow of the crisis [recession] is passed and the State of the Union is strong". Of course, I would like him to tell that to the 30 million who are desperately seeking better work or any work that Clifton was referring to in his opinion piece.
The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment: http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/181469/big-lie-unemployment.aspx
Alternative U6 Unemployment Rate: http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp
Official Unemployment Rate: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
Obama: The shadow of crisis has passed: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/01/20/obama-state-of-the-union-republican-senate-mitch-mcconnell/22040331/