The Absolute Last Word On The Employment Rate


One of the things that is constantly discussed and argued over in books, newspapers and journals is the unemployment rate compared with whatever subject the author is interested in: influence on marriage (or even getting married), schooling and what happens in schools, effect on dreams, eating, health, you name it. But, in this year, what’s happening in the political scene, particularly election for president, sees unemployment dragged in frequently. So, I determined to come up with something as disinterested as I could.

I chose four states, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, because they (supposedly) have high unemployment rates. At least in my lifetime they have often voted Democratic in national elections, in large part because of the large number of workers related to the automobile industry, but recently have shifted to mostly to the Republican party. Then I set out to gather a set of population data to examine this hypothesis. Naturally, I thought the population data collected by the federal census bureau would be the authoritative place to start. I got the population figures for the four states and found that despite the decline in the economy, the population in all four states had increased slightly. The unemployment figures for the four states were:

Illinois:       848,760,    6.6% out of a total population of 12,860,000
Michigan:   476,283,    4.8%    9,922,576
Ohio:             603,898,   5.2%   11,613,425
Wisconsin:  253,938    4.4%   The absolute  5,771,337

As I stared at these figures wondering what could I do next, it came to me that if the population numbers represented the total population, what was the population beginning at 18, or whatever the beginning working age was in each state? Or did each state have a different age for beginning work? What was the age for stopping work, or at least not counting people in the work force? Were all the unregistered Latinos counted? Were these figures worth a damn? After several days trying to find/work out a universal method of figuring out the number of unemployed workers was beyond me. BUT, I now know that people who are looking for a particular answer could find a way to get it out of the mass of numbers out there!

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