Apparently, the government is having trouble hiding the real unemployment rate even with the massive under-counting that is the current U3 measurement. Sooo….if they can’t fix unemployment, they’ll fix how they measure it. This will surely generate oodles of cheerleading and glowing stories of ‘recovery’ at the next release of the unemployment report.
From USA Today:
The change involves the form used for the bureau’s Current Population Survey, based on interviews with thousands of the unemployed. Currently, no matter how much longer than two years someone has been out of work, the form allows interviewers to check off only “99 weeks or over.” Starting next month, jobless stints of “260 weeks and over” can be selected on the response form.
“The BLS doesn’t make such changes lightly,” Barrington says. Stacey Standish, a bureau assistant press officer, says the two-year limit has been used for 33 years.
A two-year limit hampers economists’ ability to compare this recession’s effect on the job market with another severe one in the early 1980s, Barrington says.
Although “this feels like something we’ve not experienced” since the Great Depression, she says, economists need more information to be sure.
Well, if this doesn’t work, they can just elminate unemployment reporting altogether.