I read the Great Bend Tribune article: “Jobless rate on the rise” (Aug 26 issue). I have felt for many years that the employment rate or others would call it “unemployment rate” is artificially skewed. It depends on those who have the strength, guts, good health, and ability to “report” their “status”. As the article noted: some people get too discouraged and quit looking for work; others may grow ill and if they don’t qualify for Official Disability or other government programs, they may simply rely on “savings” until that gets exhausted. I wish the government had a more accurate way of “counting”. Too often, politicians want to jigger unemployment numbers to make the economic picture look as they want voters to see it. That artificial portrait does an injustice to all citizens. I wish there would be “self-reporting”, not just at employment agencies, but also drop boxes where you could write your name and contact-information at post offices, stores, courthouses, and the like. Perhaps, people in search of jobs wouldn’t feel the stigma of jumping hurdles of the bureaucracy or fall thru the cracks of bureaucracy. In my view, it we had a clearer tally, with more people being other people’s “Job-seeking Advocates” instead of “number-crunchers”, we’d improve citizens lives. We would match up prospective employers with prospective employees quicker; the poverty rate would go down, and most of all the numbers would reflect a significant increase in accuracy. We need to view human beings as people in need of a job, instead of numbers on a tally-sheet. The jobless reporting system needs fine tuning. We need to focus more on finding, accurately counting, and facilitating the means by which people merge onto the on ramp or lane leading to employment. Government is obsessed with counting when the count may take artificial swings. Nobody who wishes to be left out should be ignored or removed from the tally-sheet. Inclusion is the key, and allowing self-reporting would paint a far more realistic picture whether seasonal employment or even during steady periods of employment.
James A. Marples