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40oz

Unemployment Rates in the US are misleading

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http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/181469/big-lie-unemployment.aspx


The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

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If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed.

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Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%.

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If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%.

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I wonder how many of these new jobs that were created, actually afford people a decent income. For a lot of people one job simply isn't enough for them to survive, even just by themselves.

If people with advanced stem degrees have it tough, we certainly can't move forward if we maintain a society that alienates newcomers with less education to a life of abject poverty. Especially if they're forced to borrow more and more from the government to get an advanced degree.

EDIT:

I think the government should offer to forgive people's debt, for those who maintain exceptional grades in their academic career, as well as passing the GRE or GMAT. This would demonstrate that the student's loans were actually a great investment into a productive member of society. Moreover, if it means being forgiven of $50,000+ in debt; people will do their damnedest to excel in school. Basically, their government loan should become a retroactive scholarship in full.

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Thread title may as well be 'All government figures in every country are misleading'. It's no different here in the UK. The latest disgusting trend is to send the job-seeker a letter a day or two before the date they need to be at the required appointment, then if they miss it because the letter didn't arrive in time, they get "sanctioned" and their money stops and they're taken out of the unemployment figures. Or demand that someone accept a zero-hour contract "job" that won't give them enough to live on, and if they don't accept it, sanction them for that. Or they convince people to declare themselves "self employed". Not in the traditional sense where they actually -do- something for a living, but again just to get them out of the statistics.

There's also a scheme called workfare, in which companies will take on people claiming unemployment benefit, but those people will still continue to only receive the unemployment benefit, which is lower than the minimum wage. We've effectively created a new underclass of cheap slave labour so that big corporations don't have to pay fair wages.

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DooMAD said:

There's also a scheme called workfare, in which companies will take on people claiming unemployment benefit, but those people will still continue to only receive the unemployment benefit, which is lower than the minimum wage. We've effectively created a new underclass of cheap slave labour so that big corporations don't have to pay fair wages.


I wasn't aware that only big corporations hired workers. Also, what is stopping the worker from getting a job somewhere else anyway once he sees the chance?

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hardcore_gamer said:

Also, what is stopping the worker from getting a job somewhere else anyway once he sees the chance?

Most people won't take that chance.

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I wonder if illegal aliens' and prison labor counts as unemployment or not...probably not.

Such statistical tricks are commonplace everywhere, as the technical conditions for "unemployment" are actually far more restrictive than saying "I don't have a job, man". Imagine how high the actual unemployment is in an economy where with official unemployment rates in the high 20s% despite such trick....yikes

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hardcore_gamer said:

I wasn't aware that only big corporations hired workers. Also, what is stopping the worker from getting a job somewhere else anyway once he sees the chance?

Lack of actual other jobs and the fact that large companies offer the illusion of the possibility of 'full time' work and the benefits that come with it. Shit, they do this to people not on unemployment by reducing their hours per week down to 35 or so and calling them part timers to skirt the law. They are well within their rights to do that, but it's underhanded as fuck.

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What kind of benefits do you get from the average US corporation these days anyway?

Retirement (401k or whatever)? I had this at my last job and it never amounted to much. It was dwarfed by the amount I was saving on my own, by at least a factor of 10. And anyone who wants to can open and fund their own IRA without being full time employee. You need to have some cash to put in there of course, but working 35 hours/week isn't so much less than 40/week, so it should be doable. Of course it depends on your hourly rate (with just minimum wage you won't have much to save up either way).

Health insurance? Yeah that's a big one! It used to be prohibitively expensive to buy your own individual health insurance, at least when you got older. But now there's the Obamacare...

Vacation time? I dunno, never really worked enough years at the same place to accrue much vacation time. Basically only got 2 weeks/year for as long as I can remember. Well except when I did independent contracts, then I got a lot of vacation time (but not much pay) in between gigs.

So what's left? Free coffee/soda/candy privileges? A special parking space?...

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I honestly never would've thought someone would defend these completely transparent and underhanded business tactics, but here we are.

hex11 said:

anyone who wants to can open and fund their own IRA without being full time employee. You need to have some cash to put in there of course, but working 35 hours/week isn't so much less than 40/week, so it should be doable.

Many employers match fulltime employee ira contributions up to a certain amount. That is huge and a very nice incentive to stay at a particular job.

Health insurance? Yeah that's a big one! It used to be prohibitively expensive to buy your own individual health insurance, at least when you got older. But now there's the Obamacare...

Health insurance is just as expensive as it used to be, PPACA or not. Indeed the $500 or so fine isn't very enjoyable.

Vacation time? I dunno, never really worked enough years at the same place to accrue much vacation time. Basically only got 2 weeks/year for as long as I can remember. Well except when I did independent contracts, then I got a lot of vacation time (but not much pay) in between gigs.

So what's left? Free coffee/soda/candy privileges? A special parking space?...

I get 10 days vacation a year too (with 14 years at the same job btw), but 10 days is better than fucking 0 days.

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hardcore_gamer said:

I wasn't aware that only big corporations hired workers.

Hiring someone usually implies that you're paying their wages, which isn't how "work for the dole" programs operate. The corporation is effectively being provided with free labour for 6 months, courtesy of the ever generous UK taxpayers.

Also, what is stopping the worker from getting a job somewhere else anyway once he sees the chance?

Working a 30 hour week leaves less time for job hunting, and I wouldn't be surprised if some companies make it difficult to get time off to attend job interviews.

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"Unemployment Rates in the US are misleading" This is absolutely no surprise....

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I know a ton of people out of work or who are just temps.

My parents own a lot of houses, they follow the housing market very closely. There are lies in that housing market too. Know how you can tell someone doesn't have a job? They rent or buy a house in the winter. Why? Their tax return comes in.

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geo said:

I know a ton of people out of work or who are just temps.

My parents own a lot of houses, they follow the housing market very closely. There are lies in that housing market too. Know how you can tell someone doesn't have a job? They rent or buy a house in the winter. Why? Their tax return comes in.


How would they even be able to get a mortgage from the bank to buy a house if they don't have job?

Also, what kind of a tax return would they get if they aren't paying an income-tax from a job?

Not trying to be facetious, but I genuinely don't understand.

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Kontra Kommando said:

Also, what kind of a tax return would they get if they aren't paying an income-tax from a job?


As if taxes only applied to job incomes....I'd wish!

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geo said:

Know how you can tell someone doesn't have a job? They rent or buy a house in the winter. Why? Their tax return comes in.


Um, can you explain this please?

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My bad. Yes I should have explained it.

People are rarely unemployed all 12 months out of a year. They still have taxes that can get credits.

It all hinges on kids and a single job that doesn't even have to be that long. Have a kid, get a tax credit.

Of course its not always kids, sometimes its just creative filing, but I don't know every single circumstance.

All I know is the deadbeats sure try to rent in the winter after their taxes. People with no job that never seem to have one all throughout the year. The one thing they have in common? Kids.

There's also section 8 housing that the government pays for their rent. A lot of people prefer section 8 because its guaranteed money.

To anyone unemployed, temp agencies always need people.

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geo said:

All I know is the deadbeats sure try to rent in the winter after their taxes.

Yes, the lazy deadbeat, known far and wide for diligently filing their taxes january 2nd and not the first week of april.

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Quast said:

Many employers match fulltime employee ira contributions up to a certain amount. That is huge and a very nice incentive to stay at a particular job.


They match 401k contributions. IRA is the one you setup yourself that has no ties to your place of work.

Anyway, it doesn't amount to very much. Most places match only up to 3% of your total income, anything you add after that is totally out of your pocket. And on top of that, many of the places that manage the 401k have high fees (typically an insurance company...) In contrast, you can setup an IRA at a place like Vanguard which has lowest fees in the business, so you get to keep nearly all of the returns on your investment. Fees don't sound like much when you just glance at them, but you have to think long term... They accrue exponentially, just as interest does, but IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! Many people, even highly educated ones that I worked with, are oblivious to this simple fact. And the reason many corps go with insurance companies to manage their 401k is simple: they get special deals that way. They need insurance anyway, and get better rates if they let them manage the portfolios (because the insurance company makes some money that way, with the fees). It's kind of like a "kickback" deal, get it?

So I'm not defending anyone here, just pointing out that what you think you're getting as benefits isn't really so great a deal after all.

As for health insurance, well I don't know the numbers, as I've actually been living out of the US for some time and never had to pay into the new system. But the old system was hideously expensive unless you got it via a group plan or workplace. And if you had pre-existing conditions? Well then fuck you buddy, better sell a liver or two if you want that health insurance...

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Quast said:

Yes, the lazy deadbeat, known far and wide for diligently filing their taxes january 2nd and not the first week of april.


When it comes to getting money now rather than 4 months from now, you'd be amazed. Especially since everything is online and tax software will pay you instantly even if it takes 3 days to make it to your bank or for you to get a check.

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Maes said:

As if taxes only applied to job incomes....I'd wish!


I didn't mean that taxes don't apply to anything else other than income. What I mean is, the tax return from after they file their income-tax would be meager (or nothing at all) if he didn't earn an income. Thus, it would not be likely that they would use it for a down payment on a house.

Though I'm not entirely sure how it works when unemployed people do their taxes. I've been consistently employed since I was 16 years old.

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geo said:

My bad. Yes I should have explained it.

People are rarely unemployed all 12 months out of a year. They still have taxes that can get credits.

It all hinges on kids and a single job that doesn't even have to be that long. Have a kid, get a tax credit.

Of course its not always kids, sometimes its just creative filing, but I don't know every single circumstance.

All I know is the deadbeats sure try to rent in the winter after their taxes. People with no job that never seem to have one all throughout the year. The one thing they have in common? Kids.

There's also section 8 housing that the government pays for their rent. A lot of people prefer section 8 because its guaranteed money.

To anyone unemployed, temp agencies always need people.


I see now. But I'm not entirely sure if the bank would offer them a mortgage today, given what happened 2008. It has become a lot more difficult for people to get qualified for a mortgage. One of my friends is a banker, and deals with this. Even when he payed for his house, he had to show that he could pay off the mortgagee if he were to lose his job. Therefore, in addition to putting a down payment, he had to show that he had 6-12 months worth of savings as well.


However, his situation was a bit different, he didn't put down 20%; he put down 13% I believe. But because he make big bucks, they gave him the mortgagee. He probably calculated that purchasing that mortgage,at that rate was a better deal for him. He deals with this stuff for a living. He actually bought his house in December.

geo said:

My parents own a lot of houses, they follow the housing market very closely.


My parents own two homes. (Because they're divorced, lol)

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hex11 said:

They match 401k contributions. IRA is the one you setup yourself that has no ties to your place of work.

Anyway, it doesn't amount to very much. Most places match only up to 3% of your total income, anything you add after that is totally out of your pocket.

My IRA is directly through my employer and they match up to 10% or $2500 iirc. It is not a 401k. But understand that I work for a (very) small business and they are going to operate a bit differently than a fortune 500 company would. Regardless, saying that it isn't much is silly because an extra $2500 a year into retirement is pretty fucking nice imo.

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Those numbers are very out of the ordinary.

But anyway, many employers use the supposed "great" benefits to smooth-talk applicants into accepting lower salary during negotiations. That's exactly why I mention these things. Instead of signing and finding out the 401k plan sucks balls (as it does in many places), you're better off to pretend there isn't one and ask for higher salary. Unless their plan really is great, but usually you don't get go over the fine details until much later. In fact, it's quite possible you'll have to call them management company to get straight answers.

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