WirePOLITICS: U.S. Reps. reintroduce legislation to improve accuracy of unemployment figures

Tom Waring, the Wire

U.S. Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick and John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, have reintroduced Labor Statistics Improvement Act [H.R. 3674] — bipartisan legislation to improve how the Bureau of Labor Statistics derives its unemployment figures in order to provide a clearer picture of the nation’s economy.

“Unemployment numbers are carefully scrutinized and cited as an indicator of overall economic health. Many prominent economists, however, have criticized the number as being an inaccurate representation of the actual job market,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need an accurate unemployment rate that 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.”

Among the criticisms of the current system is that it does not consider the difference of an active or passive search for employment, underemployment, changes in the labor market or the number of workers who have left the labor force.

The Labor Statistics Improvement Act would establish a commission to examine the processes used by the BLS to provide unemployment rates and make recommendations to Congress for any changes in methodology or other adjustments that could help the unemployment rate more accurately reflect the labor market

Fitzpatrick and Conyers’ legislation is co-sponsored by members of the Full Employment Caucus: Democratic Reps. Frederica Wilson, Marcy Kaptur, Gregory Meeks, Brenda Lawrence and Marc Veasey and Republican Reps. Michael Burgess and Lynn Westmoreland.