Inside Friday's Unemployment Numbers: This Is How Bad It REALLY Is

Words by their nature can be twisted, spun, taken out of context, manipulated or just plain lied about (as when Barack "You Didn't Build That" Obama says he didn't demonize small business). Edmund Burke famously said, "A very great part of the mischiefs in this world arises from words," one of my favorite quotes and one to live by. Numbers, on the other hand, appear straight forward. But they can be manipulated rather easily. A famous saying goes, "There's lies, damn lies and statistics." But Burke also said, "Facts are to the mind what food is to the body," and numbers do provide a dispassionate perspective. It's just that you have to dig for the numbers. Such is the case with July's horrible unemployment rate, released last Friday, at 8.3 percent. The Obama administration countered that 163,000 private sector jobs were created. Is that a good sign? How can the unemployment rate go up if 163,000 people found jobs?

Kent Engelke, one of Virginia's most recognized stock market analysts (see previous post on what the stock market activity actually tells us), explains (the emphasis is mine):

. . . there are two surveys in the BLS labor report. The first is the household survey, the survey which the unemployment rate is derived. Essentially the labor department calls about 60,000 homes and asks whether or not they are working. The household survey includes sole proprietorships and farm workers.

The other is the establishment survey or nonfarm payrolls. In this survey, the BLS calls 140,000-145,000 large companies asking whether or not they are hiring or firing and by what amount. This survey does not include farm workers.

The household survey jobs dropped by 195,000, led by a massive 459,000 plunge in nonfarm private industry positions that erased three months of gains. So despite even a notable drop in the labor force of 150,000, the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent to 8.3%.

Let's walk through this because the Mainstream Media won't even report these numbers much less explain them. Private indsutry jobs dropped by 459,000 in July. The lack of jobs depressed the labor market so even fewer people sought work — 150,000 less, in fact. Yet, despite fewer people looking for work, which should reduce the unemployment rate because of the smaller pool of people affected, it still increased. Whether it's the raw number of jobs, the percentage of people working or the number of people who consider themselves still in the market to work, the nation's employment condition is nothing less than terribly miserable.

Does the president understand this? Or does he understand it and not care, continuing believe "the private sector is doing fine"? Engelke continues:

The labor participation rate fell to 63.7% from June’s 63.8% level. Other than the past several months, the last time the LFPR was this low was the early 1980s and that was prior to a large influx of women into the U.S. labor pool. This is the inverse direction to where the Fed wants it to go.

The question at hand is whether these workers will ever return to the labor pool. ...

These numbers don't lie and the consequences, as hauntingly expressed in the last sentence, are an entire segment of Americans who may never work again. But theses aren't figures on paper (or a screen). They are lives. Lives wasted. Whether or not the president believes his spin, no amount of manipulation can change how he's changed America the last three years.