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January 15 2019

Two Truths and a Lie: Unemployment

by Hadley Heath

Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.”

Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about our labor market?

  1. Joblessness is at a 50-year low
  2. More than 400,000 Americans entered the work force last month.
  3. Unemployment is low because a high number of workers hold multiple jobs.

Let’s take these statements one at a time:

A: TRUTH! Jobless claims did just reach the lowest level in about 50 years.  This is tremendous news.

B: TRUTH! The unemployment rate went up slightly in the December jobs report, from 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent.  But this happened for a very good reason: More than 400,000 Americans entered or re-entered the workforce. Labor force participation is especially improving among people of color and women. This signals that the current economic boom is finally benefiting everyone.

C: LIE! One persistent myth about our current labor market is that the unemployment rate is low only because many workers are working more than one job. In reality, the share of workers who hold multiple jobs is not higher than in recent years. It’s actually lower than it was in the 1990s. This statement is simply a false talking point that some of President Trump’s detractors use to paint a bad picture of our labor market and the broader economy. Politifact did a fact check of this statement and explained more here,

The bottom line is that our labor market is extremely strong and no matter what your politics, this is something to celebrate. Cheers to this good news!





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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