Don’t Believe Those Phony Trump Unemployment Numbers

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What’s the real unemployment rate?

April’s 14.7 percent unemployment rate, announced by the Labor Department last Friday, is awful by any standard. The official tally shows that unemployment increased by 15,938,000 people last month—to 23,078,000 overall—resulting in the highest jobless rate since the Great Depression. As depressing as that may be, it’s not the full story. The Labor Department also reported Friday that the number of employed Americans fell by 22,369,000 people in April. If you reconcile the gap between 22,369,000 and 15,938,000, you’ll find that the real unemployment rate is much worse. The actual unemployment rate for April was at least 18.6 percent.

You can click the link to read all the gruesome details, which I frankly don’t care about. We know what we’ve done to the economy, and the precise numbers don’t matter all that much.

However, after having to endure the 2016 campaign and Donald Trump’s endless claims that the government was lying about the unemployment rate blah blah blah,¹ I can’t help but get a bit of satisfaction from being able to turn that around on him. I guess it doesn’t take much these days to get a bit of satisfaction.

¹“Don’t believe these phony numbers,” Trump told supporters in February 2016. “The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35 [percent]. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.” Other idiotic unemployment claims are collected here.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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