Tag Archive for 'U3'

Small Business Advocate Poll: The truth about unemployment

The Question:
Will you give the President credit for the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8%?

17% - Yes - It shows his policies are creating new jobs.

81% - No - it doesn’t include those who stopped looking for work.

2% - Undecided.

My Commentary:
Recently, the U3 unemployment rate was reported to have dropped to 7.8%. For the entire time President Obama has been in office, this indicator has been above 8%, which historically does not bode well for the incumbent facing reelection.

We wanted to know how small business owners felt about this new number, so last week we asked this question on our online poll: “Will you give the President credit for the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8%.” Here’s what you told us.

Seventeen percent said they would indeed give the president credit because “… his policies are creating new jobs.” Those who were undecided came in at 2%. But the big number - 81%, said they would not give the president credit because, “… it doesn’t include those who stopped looking for work.”

U3 is the classic unemployment metric most often referred to, but it is basically a household survey, not a comprehensive standard. In any other context, such a statistic would be considered no more than a rule of thumb. The more comprehensive metric is U6, which includes those who are unemployed and under-employed.

As I have been reporting for at least two years, U6 unemployment is closer to 15%. In human terms, more than 20 million Americans are either unemployed or not employed to their qualifications. Plus this number does not include those who have given up looking for work - or the record number who have recently switched from unemployment to disability.

Regardless of which metric is used, the U.S. has a serious and chronic unemployment problem not seen since the Great Depression. And it will take people who understand how the economy works to help job creators turn this around.

The thing that gives me hope for America’s future is that our poll indicates small business owners are not naïve or uniformed about the truth.


Click here to listen to more of what I have to say about the politics of unemployment percentages on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors

It is generally stipulated among political experts and interested observers of the 2012 election cycle that the presidential contest will be heavily weighted toward the condition of the economy, especially unemployment.

The unemployment metric most often cited by the media and politicians, called U-3, is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and was recently reported to be 8.3%, or just over 12 million Americans. This number does not include those who have given up looking for a job or transferred onto Social Security disability.

But there is another statistic tracked by the BLS called U-6, which covers a more comprehensive unemployment universe, including those who have stopped looking and those who are involuntarily underemployed. The most recent U-6 number came in at 14.8% of the workforce, or more than 22 million Americans. Expect to hear more about U-6 between now and November 6.

It can also be stipulated that the Obama Administration has been keen to promote “green jobs,” seemingly, at times, at the expense of not-so-green jobs. We wanted to know what small business owners think about this type of economic focus, so we asked this question in a recent online poll: “Emphasizing ‘green jobs’ has been a big part of the Obama Administration’s plan for the direction of the U.S. economy. Do you agree with this plan?” Here’s what we learned:

Those who said, “Government should significantly influence conversion to a green economy,” came in at 15% of our sample. The other 85% said, “Innovation and customers should decide how the marketplace converts to green.” This topic apparently brings out strong feelings, because none of our respondents were “Uncertain.”

Another stipulation we can make is that everyone likes it when a “green job” is created. First, it’s a job. Second, it’s good for the environment. And third, well, it just makes us feel good. But right now, what America needs is for the millions of small businesses to create any kind of jobs – period! It shouldn’t matter if it’s green, brown, periwinkle, or any other color in the Crayola box; we need all kinds of jobs – and we need millions of them as soon as possible.

In America’s free market economy, jobs are a product of opportunity and a casualty of fear and uncertainty. Small businesses are telling Washington to promote opportunity for all jobs with policies that minimize fear and uncertainty.

A single-minded focus on green jobs isn’t good economics, policy or politics.


Yesterday on my radio program I talked more about the focus on green jobs and why I - and 85% of my viewers - believe the government should provide opportunities for all businesses, not just green ones. I’ve also had a conversation with Ray Keating, Chief Economist of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council about why there are policies and regulations that favor green jobs, sometimes at the expense of other jobs. Click on the links below to download or listen.

Also, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on whether the government should create specific policies for and subsidize green jobs.

What kind of jobs does President Obama like? with Ray Keating

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors with Jim Blasingame

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

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