DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Michael G. Fitzpatrick
Sent By: stephen.sandora@mail.house.gov
Date: 1/28/2014

Become an original cosponsor of the Labor Statistics Improvement Act
Deadline January 31st
Please consider joining me as a cosponsor of the Labor Statistics Improvement Act. Unemployment numbers are carefully scrutinized and cited as an indicator of overall economic health. However many economists, including a former administrator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), have criticized the number as being an inaccurate representation of the actual job market. Currently, the BLS only considers limited statistics when reporting the unemployment rate. I propose the establishment of a commission to examine the processes used by BLS to provide unemployment rates and make recommendations to Congress for any changes in methodology or improvements to such processes.
Among the criticisms of the current system are that the BLS does not consider the difference of an active or passive search for employment; the mismanagement of the “U” system currently in place; evidence reflecting higher unemployment than presented; or changes in the labor market. Definitions must be updated and better defined. Those who would be working under normal circumstances should be properly reflected in the unemployment report. Additionally, under the current report, any work for pay or profit counts as employed; a minimum amount of hours worked or a fair reflection of the adequacy of employment is not included. All these issues – and potentially many more – need to be addressed and accounted for in order for the unemployment number to accurately reflect the labor force.
The committee that the legislation would establish includes four individuals with experience in the private sector, academia, federal service or expertise in the economic market. Appointments are for the life of the commission which will be for no more than 180 days.
An accurate unemployment rate aids the nation’s labor force by providing a better snapshot of the economy and job market, allowing economists to provide more accurate analysis and letting policy makers make more informed decisions. To cosponsor or if you have any questions, please contact stephen.sandora@mail.house.gov or kyle.whatley@mail.house.gov.