As I begin my third year of writing here at RightPundits, I remember very early on warning people to keep an eye on the ratio of employment to population. Or another ratio the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, calls the Labor Force Participation Rate, is also worth noting. While the national average unemployment rate bounced around, hitting an ′official′ highpoint of 10% in October of 2009, and spent the following 14 months well above 9%, the Barack Obama administration has been busy. The formula for calculating the unemployment rate went through a series of ′adjustments′ starting in August, 2010, moving the goal posts as it were, to show improvement. Basically, shrinking the yardage from say 36 English inches to 29, or whatever number that gave pleasant results. Thus, today′s news that the unemployment rate for January, 2012 has declined to 8.3%.

unemployment rate january 2012

We get a lot of that from Obama. His surrogates, for example, claim that the number of Americans on food stamps increased more during the George W. Bush years, and technically they are correct. Some 17 million Americans were indeed adding to the rolls of food stamp recipients, but that was over a period of EIGHT years! Obama has added more than 14 million in just THREE years! Ah, the joy of statistics!

The Labor Force Participation Rate is yet another of those lovely statistics which has been manipulated to show the economy improving of late as Obama heads towards reelection. The latest report from the BLS shows that that the national unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3% in January, 2012. The anemic growth in jobs is offset by shrinking the size of the ′recognized′ labor force. Last month, according to the BLS, it shrank some 1.2 million, which accounts for why the unemployment rate dropped. Of course, the population did not shrink. Babies are still being born. People are living longer.

In January 2008, the BLS reported that of some 233.788 million Americans of eligible work-age, 145.362 million were employed giving us a 62.2% employment-to-population rate. Some 154.287 million were considered part of the labor force, giving us a participation rate of 66%. But, now, according to the BLS, the size of the eligible labor-aged America is at 242.269 million. Of which, 154.395 million are part of the current labor force available with 141.637 million actually employed. This, according to the BLS, gives us an employment-to-population rate of 63.7% and a participate rate of 58.5%.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the United States has increased from an estimated 295 million in 2008 to 304.76 million as on January 2012. In 2008, this would give us a rate of 79.2% of the population being eligible to be counted as part of the labor force. If we applied the same 66% participation rate as we had in 2008, which is about the norm historically, the size of the labor force should be about 159.3 million Americans, not 154.287 million. Barack Obama has essentially made some 5 million American disappear through the magic of statistics. Oh, if we could only make one more disappear!

So there you have it in a nutshell. Unless the population has declined to 1984 levels, which it has not, the actual unemployment rate is a good deal more than that which was reported today. Since Barack Obama is having the Bureau of Labor Statistics fudge the numbers, Obama is hiding the reality that the actual unemployment rate in January, 2012 in the United States is closer to 12.5%, not 8.3%. And that is just the ′U-3′ number, which does not include many more millions of Americans seeking full-time employment. The ′U-6′ number, which the BLS says today is at about 15.5% is likewise much closer to 20%. Good job, Obama! Keep up the fine work!