Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants Americans to know what the real unemployment rate is, not the figure that the Bureau of Labor calls unemployment which excludes those who have given up hope and are no longer seeking employment.
Rep. Hunter says his one-page bill, the "REAL Unemployment Calculation Act" (H.R. 4128), is not an effort to make President Barack Obama look bad, but rather to shoot straight with the American people:
If a Republican gets elected this year and gets sworn in next year this will be their unemployment figure too. So you have to have truth no matter who it hurts or who it actually affects. You have to have the actual truth, that’s what we need here - truth to power. And that’s how things start getting fixed, Hunter said on Fox News.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the current unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. If Rep. Hunter's bill were to become law, the current unemployment rate would be 9.6 percent.
Presently, the government already calculates both figures, but reports the so-called U-3 rate as the nation's official unemployment figure. Rep. Hunter's proposal would report the U-5 rate as the nation's unemployment rate.
The U-5 stat measures, “total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force,” while the U-3 stat or the “official unemployment rate,” measures, “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.”
Rep. Hunter believes the currently used U-3 statistics ignores “a subset of Americans who are not counted.”
As The Hill reports, the U-5 rate Rep. Hunter favors does not include all individuals out of work:
Still, the U-5 rate does not factor the reasons that individuals stopped looking for work, such as, deciding to go to school, inheriting money, or realizing that jobs were not available in their local area. It also does not account for the number of individuals who are on unemployment insurance, according to a source familiar with the monthly survey.
Still, Rep. Hunter believes the change would be a step in the right direction and would provide greater transparency about the unemployment crisis:
We need to be realistic and focus our attention on the figure that provides the most accurate representation of national unemployment—not the figure that under-represents the challenge we face.
As Big Government reported Saturday, a record 87,897,000 Americans are not in the labor force. When the number of individuals who have stopped looking for a job and/or who are working part-time but desire full-time employment is included--a figure known as the "underemployment rate"--real unemployment now stands at 19.1%.