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Monday, September 05, 2011

Jobs - Unemployment in the New Math

I'm dating myself, but I recall how devastating it was when I had just learned the old math, to have some academics come along to decide there was a "new math".

In my mind, this change was some ethereal method based upon "concepts" or "groups".  It didn't really feel like math at all.

Whatever new math was (or is), it never replaced the old math, in my mind.  But, since we've learned math the new way ever since, let' me give the 9.1 percent Unemployment Statistics an analysis by applying the new math, the way I understand the data.

In new math language, the unemployment percentage may be irrelevant. Why? Because, if you're among the 9.1 percent of unemployed Americans, the reality is simple. Unemployment is 100 percent in your "unemployed" universe or group.  (You see, in new math, the number of unemployed is now a "group". In the group of unemployed, 100 percent is the actual statistic.) 

Compared to those who are employed, the data creates a ratio of 9.1 percent;  meaning 89.9 percent of Americans are employed.

When labor statistics were considered excellent indicators of a thriving economy, the number of unemployed was stable at about 4.9 percent. In fact, unemployment has never been "zero".  Never.

A baseline for the unemployment rate might be 4.9 percent, because it's seldom the number drops below this level in a good economy.  So, using "Julie's understanding of new math", we might say 4.9 percent unemployment equals "zero" unemployed, because the data rarely goes below that number.  In a conceptual universe, the normal unemployment rate is usually 4.9 percent; therefore, let's use this data as our baseline.

Employing real math subtraction, an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent minus 4.9 percent means the number of people unemployed exceeds the normal by 4.1 percent.  In other words, the percentage of unemployed who are above the baseline are less than the percentage included in the baseline.

Nonetheless, if you're among the "group" in the 9.1 percent, or the 4.9 percent or the remainder 4.1 percent, your universe of unemployment is still 100 percent.

And the moral of the new "Julie Math" jobs concept is this:  When Republicans rail on the dismal 9.1 percent unemployment rate, they are adding and subtracting using new math.  They aren't offering solutions to the equation.

In other words, if Republicans are subtracting jobs from the economy by cutting money to federal programs like the US Post Office, Medicare, the US Military, Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps, farm subsidies and the public service areas they can root out, then how can the private sector absorb these unemployed?  

There is no plan, only whining.  If the GOP really believes the private sector will absorb the 4.1 percent of "employable" unemployed, they must be living in an ethereal universe. 

Let's get to squared root of the jobs problem.  Let's discard politics as usual, dump the T-party and work together like scientists to solve the unemployment problem. Surely the rhetoric, absent solutions, we're hearing  from political candidates now is just as fuzzy as "Julie's New Math".

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