Donald Trump Thinks the Unemployment Rate is 42%
The more that Donald Trump emerges as a viable presidential candidate, the more people will want to know about his views on the economy. In an interview with Time (you know, the one where he posed for a photo with an American bald eagle), Trump said “our real unemployment rate is 42 percent.”
Here’s the full quote:
“We have a real unemployment rate that’s probably 21%. It’s not 6. I’s not 5.2 and 5.5. Our real unemployment rate–in fact, I saw a chart the other day, our real unemployment–because you have ninety million people that aren’t working. Ninety-three million to be exact. If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42%. We have a lot of room. We have a lot of people who want to work.”
The official unemployment rate is actually 5.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but many people say it doesn’t count folks who’ve stopped looking for work. That leads “experts” of all types to throw out estimates of their own.
But 42 percent sounds awfully high. Vox thought so, and said that even the U-6 rate — measuring Americans who are not just unemployed, but “underemployed” — is at 10.4 percent. Trump is likely measuring labor-force participation rate, says Vox. That number measures the percentage of the population that’s older than 16 and not actively working. Vox said that number currently sits at 37 percent.
“Factor in Trump’s tendency toward exaggeration, and that’s pretty close to the number he quotes to Time. Keep in mind: No one judges unemployment this way. No one should judge unemployment this way,” said Vox. That’s because the number includes retirees, students, disabled people and others who aren’t interested in working.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, says the labor-force participation rate has been declining due to the retirement of Baby Boomers. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2012 concluded that just over half of the post-1999 decline in the participation rate comes from the retirement of the baby boomers. Barclays economists, meanwhile, say that just 15 percent of the drop in the labor force stems from people who want a job and are of prime working age (25-54).”
Read Trump’s full interview with Time here.