Pants on fire: Obama accused by polling firm of lying about dropping unemployment rate
Now down to a historical low of 5.6 percent, the unemployment rate is not a true measure of Americans out of work, according to the head of a major polling firm.
The official unemployment rate, reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, has been falling for the past year, but Gallup CEO Jim Clifton says that is not because people are finding work.
"If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed," Clifton wrote in a blog post titled "The Big Lie."
Also not counted in the unemployment rate are "severely underemployed" Americans, according to Clifton.
People who work as little as one hour and are paid at least $20 – for the entire week – are not counted in the unemployment rate either, Clfiton explained.
President Barack Obama has widely lauded the falling unemployment rate, citing it as proof his economic policies are working.
But, as this reporter has noted multiple times in the past, another more accurate measure of employment is also at a historical low.
The labor force participation rate, which measures the percent of people over the age of 18 with jobs, has been on a nearly continuous decline since the depths of the "Great Recession."
Only 62.7 percent of American adults have jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. No differentiation is made between full and part-time work.
The last time the labor force participation rate hit that low a number was December of 1978, during another recession.
That number would seem to jive with a separate Gallup poll, the payroll to population employment rate (P2P), that found only 44.1 percent of Americans aged 18 and older have full-time jobs.
Gallup estimates another 10 million people would need to find work in order to "replenish the middle class" and bring the P2P rate back to a robust 50 percent.
Americans who work fewer than 30 hours per week are not counted in the P2P poll
Gallup's measure of U.S. unemployment stands at 7.1 percent.
The official U.S. government unemployment rate has not been that high since October 2013.
An AOL News request for more comment from Gallup and Clifton has yet to be returned.
The Department of Labor has not commented on Gallup's findings.