Monday, August 24, 2015

Is Donald Trump Concerned Because Your 88-Year Old Grandmother Isn't Working?

Josh Zumbrin writes:

Donald Trump Is Right: About 42% of Americans Are Unemployed (If You Include My 88-Year-Old Grandma)

In an interview with Time magazine, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, made the following claim about the U.S. economy:
“We have a real unemployment rate that’s probably 21%. It’s not 6. It’s not 5.2 and 5.5. Our real unemployment rate–in fact, I saw a chart the other day, our real unemployment–because you have ninety million people that aren’t working. Ninety-three million to be exact. If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42%.”
The official unemployment rate was 5.3% in July, but Mr. Trump is talking about something different. The official unemployment rate only classifies people as unemployed if they are actively looking for work. What about all those people who aren’t looking?
Mr. Trump is right: A little under 93 million people in America do not have jobs. In fact, Mr. Trump could have gotten this figure from The Wall Street Journal’s roundup of charts from the Labor Department’s big monthly jobs report. Here’s the relevant chart from July:
Only about 59% of Americans have jobs and only 62.6% are considered to be “in the labor force.” Indeed, more than 40% of the population has no job.


  1. The labor force participation rate has declined for all age groups except two- those over 55 and those over 65. This belies the argument that apologists for a weak labor market make that the lower labor participation rate is due to retiring baby boomers.

    It's the opposite - boomers can't retire because they can't live off interest because of ZIRP and they have to keep working or come back from retirement.

    The labor participation rates have spiked for those 65+ while declining for teens and those in their prime working years 25-54.

    I have charts from the St. Louis Fed to back it up!

  2. Maybe he looks at which still shows the statistic as it was calculated by the BLS in 1994.

  3. Trump should at least mention what the long term participation rate has been for context.