Employment rate base is not entire population

In his letter published April 19, Mr. Joe Sullivan states that 8.2 percent of the U.S. population of some 312.8 million people out of work renders an unemployed population of some 25.6 million people. The arithmetic is correct, but Mr. Sullivan’s underlying assumption is flawed.

When computing an unemployment rate, one can only consider that portion of the population which is eligible and available for work. To arrive at that number, one must first deduct from the total population those children too young to work, retirees, the elderly, the disabled, those who elect not to be employed outside their homes, those youth enrolled in colleges and universities who are not available to work, active duty military members, the incarcerated, that portion of the population who live outside the country, and probably others. Once those groups are removed from the population under consideration, a genuine unemployment rate can be computed.

Mr. Sullivan’s point about the “off-shoring” of 3.4 million jobs every year, however, is compelling. Sooner or later, the impact must be felt.
David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela

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