The US Department of Labor reports the unemployment rate at about 5%. However, this figure does not reflect the real unemployment rate of the nation, because it uses specific government-set criteria that are designed to minimize this number.
Donald Trump has recently claimed that the real unemployment rate is 40%. This outlandish figure is actually quite true. However, this number includes the elderly, kids in school, etc – virtually every single person in the US. If you actually look at ALL the people in the country at any given day – only about 60% of them work.
In an interview with Time, the GOP front-runner apparently argued that the nation’s jobless rate should be measured based on the entire adult population, not just adults who want to work.
“You have 90 million people that aren’t working. Ninety-three million to be exact,” he said. “If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42 percent.” Trump’s method of measuring unemployment is not the most common.
The most commonly accepted way to measure the unemployment rate, the one used by the Labor Department, looks at people who do not have a job, are able to work and have actively looked for work in the past month. Under that metric, the unemployment rate was recorded at 5.3 percent in July.
Trump dismissed that measurement in his interview.
“It’s not 6. I’s [sic] not 5.2 and 5.5,” he said.
There are other ways to measure the jobless rate. Another Labor Department measurement takes into account people who are working part-time but would prefer full-time employment, and people who want to work but have given up looking. In July, the Labor Department reported this rate to be 10.4 percent.
Under Trump’s apparent method, the entire adult U.S. population would be considered potential members of the workforce. But using that ratio would include a host of people who do not work and have no intention of working. That would include full-time students, full-time parents and retirees.
Trump made his unemployment claim while arguing that his immigration plan, which calls for the mass deportation of all workers in the country illegally. Critics of the plan have argued such an approach would carry a significant economic hit, because a number of industries across the country rely on a significant population of undocumented immigrants to fill out their workforce.
Trump argued his approach would provide more opportunities to Americans, and allow hard-working immigrants the chance to return.
“We have a lot of people who want to work. But the good people I want them to come back,” he said.