C: What's the unemployment rate in America?
A: These are terrible times. It's almost 9%.
C: That many people are out of work, huh?
A: No, there are 18% out of work.
C: You just said 9%.
A: 9% are unemployed.
C: Right 9% are out of work.
A: No, that's 18%.
C: Okay, so it's 18% unemployed.
A: No, that's 9%.
C: Wait a minute. Is it 9% or 18%?
A: 9% are unemployed. 18% are out of work.
C: If you're out of work you ARE unemployed.
A: You have to look for work to be unemployed.
C: BUT THEY'RE OUT OF WORK!
A: No, Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It just wouldn't be fair.
C: Fair to who?
A: To the unemployed.
C: But they're ALL out of work.
A: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking for work so they're no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
C: So if you're off the unemployment dole, that would count as less unemployment?
A: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
C: The unemployment goes down because you quit looking for work?
A: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 18%. You don't want to read about 18% unemployment do ya?
C: That would be frightening.
A: Yes it would.
C: Wait, that means there's two ways to bring unemployment down. It goes down if someone either gets a job or stops looking for work.
C: So to bring unemployment down, the easiest way is to just stop looking for work.
A: Now you're beginning to think like a government economist.
C: I don't even know what I just said!
And now you understand why unemployment figures are improving!
Thanks to Bob Quinn, former 3-term Mayor of Pacific Grove, CA., for sending me this one!
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