Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

December 9, 2012

Are employment numbers ‘Newspeak’?

— — Over half a million unemployed Americans quit looking for a job in November. That’s almost twice the total population of the 10 largest cities in West Virginia. But our government reports that the unemployment rate dropped by a full .3 percent, down to 7.7 percent. How can this be?

It’s not a lie. People who stop looking for work are not counted as being unemployed. They have left the workforce and left the equation. At the same time, only 146,000 people found work. That number counts, even if the person who found a job was previously listed as “left the workforce.”

In the book “1984” by George Orwell there is a new language called “Newspeak.”  It is rewritten, simplified English designed to keep the people pacified. Thinking differently from Newspeak, old words and thoughts are illegal. “Thought crime” is the term used in the book which was written way back in 1949.

Is our government’s reporting of employment statistics Newspeak? Maybe yes, maybe no. Two things are for sure — it’s not honest and it’s totally useless. Wow, did I just commit a thought crime?

Paul Dorsey

Green Valley

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