Friday, March 30, 2012

Abbott and Costello do Unemployment

U.S. Unemployment Up in February | Underemployment is 19.1%, up from 18.7% in January

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible times. It's 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: Wait a minute. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
OSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.


  1. gp jobs It's frightening that as unemployment rises the government is taking benefits from disabled people and saying, go get a job. Who's going to employ us, at extra inconvenience and expense, when fully able people can't get work?

    The MSP vote of no confidence and outright horror at what is happening to the UK's disabled population is fully justified.

  2. This is a great post and blog. We need more right-minded folks who understand economics AND can write well. The prez and MSM play with fuzzy numbers to make things seem not so bad, don't they? I would like to re-blog on my wordpress blog with a link back to your site.