Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’
June 2nd, 2012 Posted 3:02 pm
The recently announced national unemployment number of 8.2 percent incited a new round of skeptics and pseudo-economists questioning the validity of the numbers. Many are now thinking the numbers are being manipulated at high levels to produce the numbers they want to see, not a true reflection of the true state of employment. Others say the numbers are just as trustworthy as the entity producing the numbers.
One conservative economic organization came out yesterday and said that the numbers are skewed because they now exclude people who have allegedly, out of prolonged frustration, stopped looking for work altogether. These people who had been applying for one or two jobs every quarter, have now stopped applying, stopped wasting their time…time which could be better spent watching Newhart reruns, or playing with the dog. The organization said that the true unemployment number would rise to 15% if they included those neuvo-slouches back in the mix.
Another organization has countered that if you started recounting these people, then you should also count people who currently have jobs, but don’t like their jobs, and are consequently virtually unemployed. Many have been getting paychecks for doing next to nothing, while coworkers are having to pick up their slack, and often having to work overtime. These coworkers should be counted as a person-and-a-half in the equation. Similarly, people who work two jobs should be counted as two, and guys who deliver pizza on the side should get at least half-person additional credit.
The Citizens Against Illegal Aliens (CAIA) group has argued that the whole exercise is irrelevant. They say that if the government stepped-up and took care of the illegal problem, there would be oodles of jobs available in yard work, odd jobs, freight handling, hotel maid, taxi cab, and ethnic food service sub-industries. They acknowledge that most current unemployed people would not want to do the jobs in these sectors because the work is hard and the pay is too lousy. But the jobs would be there if/when the government dole stopped and they got desperate.
Meanwhile, the administration said that the current unemployment figures are the best we have now, and are unwilling to make any formal changes to formulas. The spokesman said that if reelected in November, they will promise to form a blue ribbon commission to examine the numbers, and recommend ways to make them look better so that everyone is not so bummed-out when the numbers are reported.
Disclaimer: all stories in Bizarreville are fiction, but you already figured that out.
August 23rd, 2011 Posted 1:00 am
The President and his crack staff of econo-wizards have looked at the numbers: 10% unemployment, actually 17-18% including the underemployed and people who have thrown in the towel and given up trying. Besides just being concerned, however, the team has decided to take firm action. An Executive Order has been drafted which will require that everything that WalMart sells in this country must be made in this country. No more ugly Chinese tie-dye t-shirts, Indian absorbent cotton jammies, or flabbergammers from Hoogivesacrapistan. All merchandise, whether it be the semi-marginal quality stuff or the cheap, bargain-priced garbage futures, must be made here.
A WalMart spokesman responded that it is not fair to single out one retailer for this Executive Order…it should apply to all or none. She claimed that this Order would force their “everyday low prices” to skyrocket up 30-40%, putting them at a disadvantage to KMart, Dollar Stores, and Fred’s Funktown Econo-village who all carry similar low-end crap. “This could drive us into being forced to sell quality-manufactured goods, a business segment we have no knowledge or expertise in. How can the Administration possibly be expecting us to toss away our successful business model, and plunge into such uncharted territory?”
A spokesman for the President countered that these assertions are not true. “Our citizens can produce the same off-quality and marginally-acceptable merchandise as the Chinese or the Hoogivesacrapians. Maybe even better…or worse, whatever the case may be. The President is convinced that this Order will bring back into the workforce those hordes of workers who haven’t forgotten how to make over-priced, shoddy merchandise, and will be able to quickly regain those fumble skills, piss-poor attitudes, and “close enough, ship it” production behaviors that cannot be easily lost with just a few short years of mindless couch-sitting.
Melvin Farkwarf, a laid-off employee from Stumblebird Textiles and member of the Ironhead Workers United, agrees. “I may have been a lazy, goof-off, unfocused, injury-prone dimwit when I was employed before. But I believe now that I can work without getting hurt. And that’s the main thing. I now have a Can-Do attitude…at least when it comes to some things.”
“All they want is a chance,” CEO Cornelius Stumblebird said. “Just give us a level playing field with those A$$#*les, and we’ll show what we can do. We can make stuff people will buy. Especially if they have, shall I say, limited choices. Wait a minute…is this being recorded?”
Disclaimer: all stories in Bizarreville are fiction, even the ones that seem pretty darn real.
January 25th, 2011 Posted 3:37 am
At a press briefing this weekend, the Administration announced the appointment of Jeffrey Staffmelt as head of the new President’s Council on Jobs. Mr. Staffmelt will organize a special ad hoc team to evaluate the current pathetic job situation, understand its root causes, and develop a crisp Power Point presentation on path forward. It is expected that the team will recommend additional subcommittees, sub-subcommittees, maybe even getting down to the tertiary level of sub-committees before it actually does anything tangible.
Reporters were curious to know why Mr. Staffmelt, CEO of Geritol Electric, a company which has been criticized for plant closures, massive staff reductions, and moving jobs to 3rd world countries, was considered the “best” candidate for the job. In particular, some wondered if Mr. Staffmelt, who is affectionately known as “Julio” around the office for all the jobs he’s shipped to Mexico, has the right mindset to create jobs, rather than vaporize them.
“We think he’s the right guy,” the Administration spokesman retorted. “He’s writing a book on Lessons Learned the Hard Way, which encapsulates the mistakes he has made that have literally shut down entire towns as their factories padlocked the gates. He has actually visited some of those towns to see the devastation. Someone said that he had a tear in his eye when he visited Balloogaville three weeks ago. But another said that he thought he just got finished blowing his nose.”
The spokesman went on to say that the focus will be on jobs where our country has a distinct competitive advantage. “…And that doesn’t mean just flipping burgers at McDonalds. No. There are many other opportunities out there: Burger King, Arbys, Hardees, and…well, thousands of chicken franchises. You know as well as I that these places need good help…you end up waiting in line 10 minutes to get a lousy chocolate shake, for crying out loud. We’re looking to Mr. Staffmelt to establish some tough new industry standards on waiting lines as one of his first priorities. That will get more people on payrolls, and off unemployment compensation.”
It was noted that Mr. Staffmelt has won a number of awards, and last year bought a trophy case that he placed in his vacation cottage office. His most recent award came from Flunkmaster Magazine for having the highest differential between his personal compensation and his company’s performance, among all CEO’s. In the article, Staffmelt credited his best friend and personal agent for developing and negotiating a complex pay scheme algorithm for him, which kept his package skyrocketing in spite of cratering results. “Guy’s a genious,” Staffmelt was quoted. ”True genious. I love the guy. I’d marry him if he weren’t so ugly.”
A spokesman for Staffmelt read a statement that Jeffrey was looking forward to his new post. The appointment was timely, especially given the rumor that he might be s#!t-canned from his current CEO position. Geritol Electric stockholders have been vocally upset about the company’s dismal performance, losing 50% of its value over the past four years, and running a mixed bag of tangled, conglomerated operations that Business Funk magazine called “the most inefficient business model since the days of Textron.” When one reporter referred to that article and asked who the hell Textron was, the spokesman said, “Beats me. Never heard of them.”
Disclaimer: all stories in Bizarreville are fiction, even the ones you think you saw before in the real world.
February 1st, 2010 Posted 4:34 pm
The President, finally faced with having to deal with the unemployment situation after fiddling around for his first year in office, has decided to make a Heartland Bus Tour…which he has chosen to call the “Stop Being Greedy & Start Creating Jobs” tour. He wanted to add the words “You Bastards” after Greedy, but staffers advised against it because children might not understand the dark humor of it all…to which the President responded, “What humor?” He plans to load the First Family and his key Economic Advisory Council in a converted school bus, which he named ‘Air Shocks One’, and hit the road ASAP.
His first stop may be in Elkhart, Indiana, a favorite poster child of skyrocketing unemployment in the Midwest. Elkhart, the RV capital of the world, will most certainly be taken to the woodshed, and chided for its heavy reliance on a single industry producing gas-guzzling behemoths into a highly-discretionary marketplace. Insiders say that the President will suggest that, when times like this get tough, they should turn their RV manufacturing capacity into making Craftsman tool chests, gym lockers, or tool storage sheds…maybe even pole barns. Flexibility, he will say, is the way to compete with the Chinese and other 3rd world nations in the future.
Another stop will be Elyria, Ohio. The President knows he will need Ohio as a blue state, so may make several stops where unemployment is hovering around 11%. Here’s where he will make his Stop Greed pitch. He plans to cite Muckford, Inc. as an example of a company that got so greedy that they laid off some secretaries…secretaries who used to fill out 210-page environmental data forms each month. Bottom line: it ended up causing forms to come in with incorrect font size, page breaks in the wrong spots, and generally bad grammar and capitalization. The government had to step in and shut the plant down for willful form violations. The President will say that it is time to stop the wanton profiteering, and get back to the days when companies lost money proudly but kept people on the payroll until the bitter end.
The tour will make a trip to Detroit, even though the President had visited there recently…attending the annual Detroit North American Auto Show, and marveling at the new technological advances coming soon. During that trip, the President planned to take a test drive in a Chrysler high-performance future concept car, but it konked out in the parking lot and spewed oil all over his Hart Schaffner Marx designer suit pants. He was, however, able to see the special exhibit which showed how to close down a 2500-employee auto assembly plant and bulldoze it down to flat earth in less than 30 days. Time lapse photography was used in creating the film, which attracted huge crowds, and prompted comments from the President, “Now that’s American ingenuity and efficiency at work!”
They may also swing by Baltimore and revisit the Machine Shop where the President got an important photo op last week. During that visit, the workers at the plant repeatedly asked him what he was planning to do about creating more good jobs, and when was it going to happen…but the President did a little lateral shuffle dance. But he told the workers that they need to buckle down, and work harder and smarter if they want to compete long term. Later, the shop foreman asked if he could show the President some new machinery, and have him grind some soft metal for the cameras…but the Secret Service quickly stepped in and said that might not be such a good idea.
When announcing plans for the Bus Tour, a reporter asked about his statement in the State of the Union speech where he promised $33 million tax credits to businesses in order to create job growth. “Yes, I am in total support of these tax cr…cr…cred… carr…curr… a hommina, hommina, hommina… curr..curr… (cough, cough)… curd…cuh… cuh…,” he stammered before a rescuing senior aide said, “Sir, I believe they all know what you mean.”
Disclaimer: all stories in Bizarreville are fiction, even the ones that seem pretty real.
December 9th, 2009 Posted 1:52 pm
The Bizarreville Job Summit is concluding, and the roundtable of guys-with-briefcases (i.e. experts) participated in good constructive debates on how to best stimulate job growth. Their answer: infrastructure improvements.
The first infrastructure priority will be to revamp the entire Bizarreville sewer system, which has badly deteriorated over the decades from the high acid content of our citizens’ urine. In the past, however, it has been difficult to embark on the sewer project for two reasons: (1) too little funding available to pay for the project, (2) too much foul odor to attract good mechanics to fix the problems. The first issue: no problem. But the second issue is still a big concern, and may ultimately require some out-of-the-pipe thinking.
“I’m not friggin’ Ed Norton,” said one journeyman after refusing to traipse down the manhole. “I looked down there in that yellow river and almost passed out after 15 seconds. What have these people been eating around here?”
“One of my buddies used to work in the sewers 10 years ago. And you know what? He still stinks. That’s right…you can still smell sewer on him. Even if he puts on after-shave, he just smells like cinnamon-scented crap.”
Leaders say that they will not be dissuaded by the working condition issue, and vowed to pull out their checkbooks to find some shmucks/ any shmucks who will slop in the defilement for a price. “May cost a couple hundred bucks an hour, but by God, we’ll find low-lifes with low scruples who’ll do it,” said a spokesman. “We may not get high-skills, but we’ll make up for it with more warm bodies. Hey, that’ll reduce unemployment even more.”
When asked about training these subtrained workers, he replied, ”I can teach my grammaw how to weld pipe. Granny’d probably do a better job than these ‘I’m too good for sewers’ prima-donnas anyway.”
November 18th, 2009 Posted 3:22 pm
The Bizarreville Labor Dept is proud to announce that another 50 thousand job losses were avoided last month. This marks the 6th consecutive month of job loss avoidances, which Dept officials cite as evidence of a significant rebound in the economy.
As you know, Job loss avoidances are determined by telephoning a sample of businesses and asking them “If things don’t get better fast, will you have to shut down?” Then asking them, “Do you know that Congress recently passed a Stimulus bill?” If the answers are YES to both questions, that is considered an official Job Loss Avoidance. Numbers are then tallied, and statistical extrapolations are used to determine the nationwide estimate.
Unfortunately, slightly dampening that good news was the report that there were 30 thousand Job Gain Avoidances during the month. Several large expansions by Bizarreville companies were abruptly cancelled, when certain favorable tax incentives were dropped. Legislators had called for these tax revisions, claiming that the firms were getting “just too darn greedy”, and needed to pay more of their Fair share. One of the firms, Melfnerd Industries, decided to pull up stakes altogether and move the company to Botswana where the economic climate is better, and Leaders actually want the jobs there. Many legislators have dismissed the Job Gain Avoidance number as being “totally speculative and hypothetical, aimed at dampening an otherwise rosy picture.”
The Labor Dept also reported that Mean Wage Gain Avoidance was high last month, but Executive Compensation Loss Avoidance was much less than expected. “More evidence of the growing Avoidance disparity between the high-end and low-end of the pay scale,” cited liberally-minded Dept officials. “With consumer price inflation avoidance less than expected and crude oil price decline avoidance less than originally projected, there continues to be a ratcheting squeeze on the lower middle class…particularly those who failed to avoid the mortgage crunch.”
A night class is being scheduled at Bizarreville Community College to explain economic avoidance theory. At this point, however, the College is still searching for someone who would know how to teach it.
November 8th, 2009 Posted 5:38 pm
Bizarreville leaders are perplexed about what next to do, now that unemployment has tipped over 10 percent. They are belatedly all realizing that their so-called “stimulation” just stimulated themselves. Citizens are getting pretty tired of watching all the self-stimulation by these guys, and are demanding something new.
One proposal was to do some work on Pothole Boulevard, a road that has fallen into major disrepair over many years. The suggestion was made to have the Unemployed with shovels and wheelbarrows filling the 16 gazillion potholes that have turned the boulevard into a slalom course. But critics argue that if you fill the potholes, we would have to change the name of the street, entailing huge costs of re-signage, new maps, GPS changes, retraining, and so on. Besides, “Patchhole Boulevard” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Another suggestion was to have the Out-of-Work form clean-up teams to clean up the filth and grossness in some of the East side neighborhoods….trash, garbage, animal feces, beer cans, wee wee …just pick up the junk and power-clorox-wash the whole freaking place. But opponents argue that won’t solve the root cause of the problem: people treating their neighborhoods like pig stys. It will all just get re-messed a few weeks later, and return to Filth-boro.
A third idea was to turn them into entrepreneurs by planting vegetable gardens at the Bizarreville Landfill, and setting up veggie stands to peddle their harvests. But nay-sayers responded that growing any kind of food on that nasty landfill would probably be laced with carcinogens, mad cow diseases, and purple fungus. “No one’s gonna eat that sh*!#.”
It was becoming abundantly clear that the unemployed really did not want to do this kind of stuff…much simpler to stay at home and collect unemployment checks. “That kind of work is way beneath us. We’ve come a long way, and no way we’re going back in that direction,” said an Association for the Unemployed spokesperson. “Are those nacho cheese chips over there? Yeah…pass ‘em here.”
October 23rd, 2009 Posted 8:06 pm
Bizarreville was fortunate to get its fair slice of the Economic Stimulus bill, and it will be put to good immediate use. The Bizarreville Unemployment Compensation building was tremendously undersized and needed help. Stimulus funds have been earmarked to expand the office capacity by a factor of 3, add 18 rows of new cattle gates, and install a high-tech number-taking system to handle the burgeoning flow of jobless applicants.
“We have jobless who are doing the carpentry work, saying it will now be much easier to collect their comp checks. Of course, we reminded them that they aren’t eligible anymore….got a pretty good laugh out of it…ha, ha, ha ha.”
“But seriously…it’s money well spent. It creates jobs on one hand, and truly builds for our future on the other. We will also be adding clerks and changing management practices to allow us to handle 4 or 5 times as many jobless as we could a few years ago. May be able to do even better once we get things rolling. I hate to say this, but we’re hoping the Algoofco aluminum factory down the street shuts its doors so we can really test our new systems here. My opinion: we’ll be ready.”
The new number-taking system actually stamps the number on the applicant’s left hand when he/she comes in the door. No more little tickets that people whine about: “Oh, I didn’t know I had to take a ticket,” or “Oh, I lost my ticket, but I’m really number 49.”
“That’s been frustrating, let me tell you, but now it will be: Let me see your dang hand, “49″ or whatever your number is.”
They’re going to go ahead and spruce up the office restrooms while they’re doing the rehab work. There’s a large “Unidentified Miscellaneous” category in the funding package, and the current toilets have those old large flush tanks. “We’ll save water and help the environment,” claims the project manager. As a finishing touch, they plan to use some leftover cattle gates to make an organized waiting line for the women’s restroom. “If there’s another Stimulus bill, we may be able to add a baby-changing table in both restrooms…but we’ll just have to wait and see.”