Illustrating the magic of choosing one’s statistic carefully, today’s New York Times front page carries a story about how the jobless rate has fallen to a five-year low of 7%. Investor’s Business Daily, however, calculates unemployment at nearly a modern-day high of roughly 12% by holding labor force participation constant at the 2007 level (66% of working-age adults actually working). See “Labor Force Exodus Hides Nearly 40% of Hiring Shortfall”.
I was able to observe the statistics in action this week in Denver, Colorado. I stayed in a Marriott Courtyard on the 16th Street Mall. The sidewalks were populated by native-born Americans who had dropped out of the W2 workforce in order to panhandle. The hallways of my hotel were populated with Spanish-speaking immigrants who were being paid to clean rooms.