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Friday, February 5, 2010

Just be honest with us, please.

The media is at it again: trying to put a positive spin on the jobs numbers. The facts are these: 1) unemployment did drop from 10% to 9.7% which is good on the surface; 2) initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose 8,000 from the previous month's figures to a seasonally adjusted 480,000 - experts expected 460,000; 3) a person is no longer counted in the unemployment statistics after six months; and 4) six months ago the initial jobless claims number was north of 600,000 so it makes sense that since that number falls off and is replaced with a lower number, the unemployment rate would fall.

Economists estimate that the real unemployment rate is probably above 17%. This figure includes those who are counted in the unemployment statistics as well as those who have fallen off the chart because they filed for unemployment insurance more than six months ago. It also includes under-employed people - those who need to work full time but have had their hours cut back to part-time, and many of those people have also lost their benefits (many of our local casino workers are in this situation). The estimate also includes people who were not employed and would like to get a job but can't - my wife, for instance.

While it's important to be positive and to act in a manner that will help our country - spend if you need something, don't hoard your money - it is also important for the media to report the truth. Too many people in our country take what our media says as gospel. When they distort the truth, as they have since the credit markets froze in July of 2007, they will lose all credibility when the citizens of our country learn the truth. Then it will be like the boy who cried wolf - when the media really needs to get a message out, no one will listen because they weren't honest with us all the time.

I'd love to get your comments, ideas, and opinions. Please feel free to leave any of these by clicking on the "comment" link.

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