From CBS Money Watch:
The [National Bureau of Economic Research] report notes, “It is possible that unemployed respondents who have already been interviewed are more likely to change their responses to the labor force question, for example, if they want to minimize the length of the interview (now that they know the interview questions) or because they don’t want to admit that they are still unemployed.”
This ends up inaccurately weighting the later responses and skewing the unemployment rate downward. It also seems to have increased the number of people who once would have been designated as officially unemployed but today are labeled as out of the labor force, which means they are neither working nor looking for work.
I’ve been saying forever that ignoring the long-term unemployed in the unemployment stats creates an Orwellian distortion in the actual state of unemployment in America. Many of these people are over 50 with no retirement savings, and may never work again. This is a disaster for them, and its hidden from view. It needs to be acknowledged and addressed with something other than spirit-crushing permanent welfare. A vigorous and growing economy with real job prospects for these people would help them more than any government program ever can. That would require a bit more enlightenment than currently exists among the politicians, bureaucrats and regulators. They are the ones responsible for this mess. It isn’t just “bad luck.”
Only self-actualizing people can truly flourish. Everyone needs to see themselves as in control of their destiny. For most of us that means having a job that makes us a member of a working community. Wanting or needing a job and not being able to get one defeats a person.