Heard two stories about unemployment rates on NPR today.
The first report is about the hottest topic today: “One Jobs Report, Two Different Political Spins” that reports the nation’s unemployment rate in US fell to 7.8 percent in September. As the title suggests: one number, two interpretations:
The Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing.
But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.
Even staring at the same number, people feel so different about it.
Meanwhile, another story about unemployment rate was reported about China: “No One Trusts China’s Unemployment Rate“. The official unemployment rate stands at 6.5%, but the report says no one believes it.
“The unemployment rate in China is one of the most useless and ridiculous statistics out there,” says macroeconomic researcher Arthur Kroeber of Dragonomics. “No one pays any attention to it, because everyone knows it’s a complete fiction.”
It’s not like China isn’t trying. It has a national statistics office that works very hard. But the country is so big, and changing so quickly, that it is actually really hard to keep track of what is going on.
I’m not an economist, but I do see reasons why the reported rate in China might be off target.
At the end of the day, statistics is still labeled as something beyond the damned lies. The value of those numbers really depends how we get them, how we use them and for what purposes.
Let the spin start ……
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