On Jobs Numbers, Robert Reich Comes Up Short


Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor, apparently doesn’t know how the unemployed are counted.

Writing in today’s Salon, he says: “Over 15 million Americans were jobless in November. This doesn’t include those who are working part-time but would prefer to work full time. Nor does it include a record 1.3 million who are too discouraged even to look for work. Nor does it take account of the fact that most families are dependent on two breadwinners. So to figure out the true impact on most families, all these numbers have to be doubled.”

We don’t count a person as unemployed if his or her spouse is working?

That would be news to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, once under Reich’s direction, which says, “Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.”

No mention anywhere of an employed spouse exclusion.

For Reich’s statement to be true, more than half of American families would have had to lose two jobs during the recession. Even Obamanomics hasn’t been THAT bad.

It seems Reich has come up — umm — short.

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