A guy walks into a bar and says, “I’ve been unemployed for so long, I’ve given up even trying to find a job.”
Not actually very funny, is it. As we discussed earlier today, and as we have been discussing for a while, new job creation has barely been keeping up with population growth; the reason unemployment has gone down is because of the drop in the labor force participation rate. For more information on this, see these posts:
- Media Should Report Labor Force Participation Rate — Not Just Unemployment Rate
- Unemployment rate is actually closer to 11.5%
- Infographic: Where Are the Jobs?
- Unemployment hasn’t actually fallen at all under Obama
- And just like that,1.2 million workers vanished
- No, Mr. President, the jobs report is not good news
But just because this is a serious situation doesn’t mean that some aren’t trying to enjoy a little dark humor on the subject. This one is amusing, and we could all use a laugh . . .
COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s about 8 percent.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16 percent.
COSTELLO: You just said 8 percent.
ABBOTT: 8 percent unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 8 percent out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16 percent.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16 percent unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that’s around 8 percent…
COSTELLO: Waits a minute. Is it 8 percent or 16 percent?
ABBOTT: 8 percent are unemployed. 16 percent are out of work.
COSTELLO: If you are out of work aren’t you unemployed?
ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “Out of Work” as unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are out of work!!!
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 who?
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 8 percent. Otherwise it would be 16 percent. You don’t want to read about 16 percent unemployment do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means ther’re two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
COSTELLO:And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
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.
COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!
Abbott & Costello did a comedy routine about fictitious ball players called Who’s On First? The absurdist number of the real unemployed is not a joke.
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.
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