White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed Thursday Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders is wrong about the unemployment rate being double the number reported.
President Barack Obama and his administration has reported the unemployment rate is now below five percent. Sanders has claimed throughout his campaign, however, that the real unemployment rate is above 10 percent because of labor force dropouts. Earnest doubled down on what the administration has said during Thursday’s press briefing.
“We’ve made a lot of important progress in the last seven years,” Earnest told reporters. “Unemployment rate has been cut by more than half from its high of around 10 percent to now below 5 percent. That is undeniable progress that some Republicans will continue to deny.”
Federal agencies tend to base unemployment numbers on what is known of the civilian labor force participation rate. The participation rate tracks those employed or seeking employment. The problem is it excludes those who have suffered from long term unemployment and have given up on finding a job.
“I think this is the point that Senator Sanders is making, is that we can’t let up,” Earnest continued. “We need to continue to be focused on making sure that we’re expanding economic opportunity for the middle class, and that we’re making the kinds of investments that are going to benefit future generations of American workers.”
Sanders, in contrast, has based his analysis on what is known as the real unemployment rate. His rate is built on total employment, versus everyone who doesn’t have a job. It includes those who have suffered from long term unemployment or who are not seeking work.
“But there is another set of government statistics,” Sanders said July 6 to a crowd of supporters in Maine. “And that that real unemployment if you include those people who have given up looking for work and the millions of others who are working part-time 20, 25 hours a week when they want to work full-time, when you all of that together, real unemployment is 10.5 percent.”
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