The official government stats for Unemployment carry too much weight (value to the politicians) so there is a huge incentive to fudge them ( election related and just bureaucratic mistake)

Is there a better, more accurate (need not be precise, just consistently accurate) source? I have considered http://www.shadowstats.com/ but it's not transparent unless you buy the service. (Nothing wrong with that but it makes it much less transparent: fewer eyeballs watching it.)

  • I don't think so, but the BLS has multiple measures of unemployment (Politicians and the media seem to only focus on the U1 rate, so there is probably less incentive to fudge the other measures.) Who would want to go to the time/expense of collecting the data? Skeptics.SE had an interesting question regarding unemployment today versus the Great Depression. – user1873 May 5 '14 at 14:37
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    I've seen no evidence of dishonest maths in BLS numbers (and New York Post is not a reputable source). The BLS and CBO constitute unpoliticzed and transparent sources. The premise of your question is wrong. – Avi May 5 '14 at 17:55
  • The politicisation of government statistics in the West happens in terms of the construction of the measure ("what's unemployment") rather than the count. In Australia, at least, ABS explains exactly what they mean by Series A, C, C (modified), CPI and draws attention to issues such as housing. – Samuel Russell May 6 '14 at 1:46

the best way to get accurate unemployment numbers is to look at the BLS report, but focus on the U6 or U5 number. The "official" number is U3 which can be manipulated relatively easily.

explanation of all the levels:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also calculates six alternate measures of unemployment, U1 through U6, that measure different aspects of unemployment:[34]

U1:[35] Percentage of labor force unemployed 15 weeks or longer.
U2: Percentage of labor force who lost jobs or completed temporary work.
U3: Official unemployment rate per the ILO definition occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively looked for work within the past four weeks.1
U4: U3 + "discouraged workers", or those who have stopped looking for work because current economic conditions make them believe that no
work is available for them.
U5: U4 + other "marginally attached workers", or "loosely attached workers", or those who "would like" and are able to work, but have not looked for work recently.
U6: U5 + Part-time workers who want to work full-time, but cannot due to economic reasons

There is another important number to look at, that is the labor force participation rate, which shows the percentage of working age people that are employed, this is also often broken down into demographics and age ranges.

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