Frank Mulligan: The 'counting unemployment' industry

Frank Mulligan

A recent job report indicates unemployment has plummeted to lows not seen since the last figures were announced several days ago.

Jobs have meanwhile disappeared in numbers not seen since sometime yesterday afternoon, according to the same report. Economic experts warned that the new figures should be regarded cautiously since they “don’t make sense.”

One economist noted that the divergent trends could be the result of “us not actually knowing what we’re talking about.”

Another opined that perhaps employment and jobs were actually different things altogether, which could account for the contradictory findings.

Still another noted that unemployment figures were calculated by a monthly survey of employees while job numbers were tallied following consultations with employers. One or both could be making stuff up.

The recently released report also stated definitively that jobs in the summer tourism industry began to fall off shortly after summer ended.

In a related development, jobs in the winter tourism industry are expected to increase once winter begins.

A report will be forthcoming, experts noted.

The fall tourism industry has experienced very little surge in new numbers since there is, in fact, very little fall tourism, outside of the occasional elderly couple taking a drive to see the foliage and stopping along the way for “a nice cup of tea.”

Financial and business services gained jobs during the current time period being studied, construction and manufacturing lost jobs and there were substantial gains in jobs involving counting how many jobs were gained or lost in other industries.

The leisure sector experienced a flurry of activity while the hospitality sector seemed to experience a rude awakening.

The findings on jobs in the information industry were inconclusive due to a lack of data.

The seemingly contradictory findings even had political pundits nonplussed. One faction predicted they will become a political football while another prognosticated they would become a political hot potato. A third group thought they could end up becoming a political table lamp, which seemed to indicate a failure to understand the concept of metaphor in general.

A separate report ballyhooing a surge in employment figures lost credibility upon disclosure that it had been calculated on an abacus.

One thing remains clear, however. The business of issuing contradictory economic reports has never been stronger.

Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Raynham office, and can be reached at