To understand unemployment we must first define it. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 6 different ways to categorize unemployment as seen on the following chart. The tracking method is individuals filing for unemployment benefits which would be U-3 on the chart.
Now that we understand how unemployment is categorized let us talk about the history. Unemployment is a federal program that provides an income for people who do not have jobs; this does not include people who were fired, only people who cannot work for other reasons. Unemployment statistics started being taken during the Great Depression and since then, it has been used as a way to measure how successful the US economy is.
The Flaws and Manipulation of data
The method of tracking has its own flaws. In the past year Corona Virus Pandemic many people have filed for unemployment but are not really unemployed.
There has been many news stories of people filing for unemployment benefits to get an extra source of income. This allows manipulation of data because people are not truly unemployed but wanting to get money. There have also been many cases of stolen identity for the same reason. An anecdotal evidence of this is a friend of mine had had his social security number stolen and used to report as unemployed even though he had never worked in his life.
This causes manipulation of data, on a smaller scale, but it is still manipulation which is not something that a US government statistic to have. Any manipulation of data, especially in unemployment, is very hurtful for one’s image as mentioned on my previous post of data manipulation.
A better method
I believe there is a more invasive and maybe unconstitutional way of tracking unemployment to get more accurate data. The method would be tracking the flow of money through people’s social security and people’s banks. This could be done the old fashion way, which would be manually, just like everything else the government does, or it could be done via using a computer. This method would be code that checks if there is a flow of income or whether it is passive such as dividends, deposits, or cashing of checks at a bank account. This method, although invasive, will be able to help get an accurate reading on unemployment. This would be only useful for people who use banks. For people who use cash as a way of life, there would be more difficulty tracking their flow of income.
In conclusion, the government’s method of tracking unemployment, which could be easily manipulated, needs to change their method of just taking the people’s words at face value. We live in the day and age of technology, so there must be a better way of using funding of tax payers’ money than just to solely have a big military spending when there is no war occurring. I believe that we can use those tax payers money, not just for tracking, but to better the US, America First.