Media Continues to Misreport Unemployment: 31.8 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment Insurance. Week 18 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

Media Continues to Misreport Unemployment: 31.8 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment Insurance. Week 18 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

I get tired of reporters or bots who don’t read beyond the 2nd paragraph of Labor Department press releases. 2.35 million initial state and federal unemployment claims. PUA claims (gig workers) now 41% of total unemployment. 20% of labor force on unemployment insurance.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

It just doesn’t let up. An astounding number of newly laid-off workers keeps filing for unemployment benefits week after week and pile on top of the people already unemployed. And the number of people who started working again isn’t big enough to make a visible dent in the curve.

In the week ended July 18, the total number of people who continued to claim unemployment compensation  under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers and contract workers, edged down to 31.8 million (not seasonally adjusted), as reported by the Department of Labor this morning. It was the third highest level ever and just a tad off the peak:

Unabated lazy misreporting in the media.

If you read this morning or heard on the radio that 16.2 million people were claiming unemployment insurance – the “continued claims” – and you thought that there were only 16.2 million people who claimed unemployment benefits, you fell victim to lazy misreporting in the media, by reporters or bots that didn’t read the Labor Department’s press release beyond the second paragraph.

Those 16.2 million were only the claims under state programs, and do not include the claims under federal programs. All combined, there were 31.8 million people on the unemployment rolls. That’s what the Labor Department reported further down in the press release.

There is a huge difference between 16.2 million and 31.8 million unemployed people!

Why do the media misreport this data? A bunch of reporters are sitting in a government room, isolated from the world. At 8 a.m., they get the data from the Labor Department; at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department makes the data public. Reporters have 30 minutes to write up their piece and send it to their offices at 8:30 a.m., which then publish it in all haste. To get this done in 30 minutes, reporters only read the first two paragraphs of the long convoluted badly-put-together report by the Labor Department. And the result is flagrant misreporting.

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.