Funky Media Hucksters: How does one “Re-enter” the Work Force?

by Bud Meyers, published March 19, 2015

[* Editors note: This could be considered “Part Two” or an “update” to a previous post I did on this subject.]

Bill Anderson, chief economist of Nevada’s Department of Employment says: “We are starting to see more people re-enter the labor force” — and that’s the reason why the Las Vegas unemployment rate jumped UP from 7.0 to 7.5 percent.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval also said the increase in the unemployment rate was “a reflection of more Nevadans re-entering the workforce and seeking suitable employment” — and that employers are “regaining confidence, and are steadily adding jobs to the economy”.

How does one determine that more people “re-entered” the labor market — either nationally, or on the state or city level? How does the government (or anyone) know that tomorrow, after being unemployed for the last 6 years, someone will wake up and start looking for a job — thereby, re-entering the labor market?

Because, supposedly, when people say they’re looking for work (regardless of whether they receive unemployment benefits), they are still counted as “unemployed” — and so, are considered part of the labor force. But how does a person (or millions of people at once) step back and forth over than fine line between being “unemployed” and “not in the labor force”?

So hypothetically speaking, this would mean that if EVERYONE who was interviewed for the Current Population Survey had said they were NOT looking for work, the unemployment rate would go down to 0% — because none of them would be officially “unemployed” — because they’re not looking for work, and so therefore, are not considered an “active” part labor force (as either “unemployed” or “employed”.)

Currently there are 8,705,000 jobless Americans counted as “unemployed” and looking for a job as of March 2015 — PLUS — We also have 6,575,000 working-age Americans “not in the labor force” but also say they “want a job now” — which together equals 15,280,000 total unemployed Americans who say they currently want a job.

But of those, only 2,417,000 currently receive an unemployment check — or less than 16% of all those out of work who say they’d rather be working.

4 Questions for the Media Hucksters and the Republicans

1) If we cut off unemployment benefits for those 2.4 million jobless Americans receiving jobless benefits, will that create an additional 2.4 million net new jobs?

2) And if so, will those 2.4 million new jobs go to those 2.4 million people who currently receive unemployment benefits?

3) Is that because, cutting off their unemployment benefits forced them to take 2.4 million open jobs that they are currently rejecting, and that maybe it’s because:

  • they’re lazy and prefer to be on the government dole
  • they are drug addicts and can’t pass a drug test
  • they lack the necessary skills

4) If we cut unemployment benefits to 2.4 million people, and 2.4 million jobs were created as a result, and all 2.4 million were hired to take those jobs, could we also do the same thing for 8.9 million people on disability — and in the process, create an additional 8.9 million new jobs? Mister Funk might think so…

Robert A. Funk (CEO of Board of Express Employment Professionals, an employment agency headquartered in Oklahoma City) claimed in a recent interview for the Columbus Dispatch:

“What’s happening is that some of the public is learning that entitlement programs are paying them instead of going to work and earning a living, and this has steadily worsened over the past four years.”

[Editor’s note: Claims for disability always rise during recessions; but over the last couple years, both “claims” AND “awards” have actually declined.]

Funk’s company recruits employees for clients and has 730 offices throughout the country. He said his clients tell him that applicants want annual pay of $40,000 to $45,000 in most states before they’ll consider giving up benefits from entitlement programs. He says, “It discourages people from going to work and looking for work”.

[Editor’s note: The average disability payment equates to $14,000 a year; most sane people aren’t going to turn down a $40,000 a year job to live on $14,000 if they didn’t have to; and unemployment benefits, at the very most, lasts for 26 weeks (12 weeks in Florida and 14 weeks in North Carolina) — and they would take a job paying much less than unemployment when they’re benefits run out. If one has a monthly nut to crack, say a mortgage or car payment, one does what they must to keep their head above water. They aren’t going to take the very first crappy job they’re offered if they can’t even pay the rent, let alone buy food (etc.)]

Funk said the country has a duty to help those who are disabled and unable to work, but part of the increase in the number on disability comes as benefits have become easier to obtain. “The system has become more lenient, much more empathic”.

[Editor’s note: It’s not easy at all to get approved for a disability claim; and for many that do, it can take 3 years or longer after the appeals process. Here are the odds. And for the long-term unemployed, older workers, and the disabled — it is especially harder to find work when perfectly healthy young people fresh out of school can’t find a job.]

Funk said his firm has 49,000 openings that it is having trouble filling because of the skills they require. He believes that many collecting disability benefits are 25 to 39 and worked as general laborers or in manufacturing, then lost their jobs because of the recession. He thinks they lack the skills to compete for jobs available these days and don’t want to go back to school to be trained. “That’s a shame. My philosophy for 50 years is that there is a job for every person and a person for every job.”

[Editor’s note: According to the BLS, there are 5 million job openings for 15.3 million who say they want a job — and many jobs that are advertised aren’t really open jobs at all. And the skills gap is a myth. And a lot of people DO go back to school — enrollments are at record highs. And the vast majority of those on disability are older workers over 50 — and most probably worked in labor intensive jobs for 30 or 40 years.]

Note that, in that very misleading article at the Columbus Dispatch, they also don’t link to any data either. I wrote to them to complain about their article:

“This article is so filled with mistakes (or misstatements, false facts, mistruths, half-truths, or whatever one wants to nicely call them), that I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll just leave you with a few links to debunk the article yourself. The report was so shabby and poorly researched that it made my stomach turn. Accuracy and honesty is needed in the Fourth Estate, or “journalism” might as well be confined to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.”

* This was sent to the author at and cc’d to their editors, copywriters and other reporters at:

I provided them with the links below, but I never received a single response from any of them — and they never even bothered to correct or delete their article. Feel free to email them if you think YOU can get a truthful explanation from them. The Columbus Dispatch is just another example of why the former assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Paul Craig Roberts) recently shamed corporate media hucksters who have been masquerading as “journalists”.

A few links at the Social Security Administration:

A few articles I’ve written about Social Security and disability: