“The real unemployment rate is nearly 19%.”

Claim: “The real unemployment rate is nearly 19%.”

Ad(s): Disappearing

Sponsor(s): Restore Our Future

Air Dates: September 19 – September 26

Total Estimated Spending On This Claim:  $762,148 ($1,524,297 Total)

Markets: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Traverse City, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison,   Milwaukee, Wausau

Stations: MI – WDIV, WJBK, WKBD, WWJ, WXYZ, WEYI, WRJT, WNEM, WSMH, WOOD, WWMT, WXMI, WZZM, WILX, WLAJ, WLNS, WSYM, WFQX, WGTU, WPBN, WWTV; WI- WBAY, WFRV, WGBA, WLUK, WKBT, WXOW, WISC, WKOW, WMSN, WMTV, WDJT, WISN, WITI, WTMJ, WAOW, WFXS, WJFW, WSAW

 

Politifact Summary: Currently, the U-6 rate of “labor underutilization” — which is the broadest measure of unemployment and under-employment that BLS calculates — is 14.7 percent. That’s a whole lot higher than the more familiar 8.1 percent unemployment rate, but it’s also well below the 19 percent claimed in the ad. As we can see from Zuckerman’s column, he has reached 19 percent by taking U-6 as his base and then broadening its definition of under-employment. The ad then ran with his calculation. The more accurate figure to use for labor-force dropouts due to economic conditions is 4.6 million, not 8 million. Second, a big chunk of these 4.6 million are already counted in BLS’ basic U-6 calculation — they’re “marginally attached” workers. In the most recent month, the marginally attached numbered 2.6 million. So to avoid double-counting, you have to subtract 2.6 million. This leaves 2 million labor-force dropouts to add to the existing U-6 calculation. Running the new numbers — perhaps we can call this new statistic “U-7” — produces an under-employment rate of 16 percent, not 19 percent.

 

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