Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unemployment numbers explained by Bud Abbott (A) and Lou Costello (C)

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.


     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.

     A: Bingo.

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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