Treasury Secretary pick Steven Mnuchin at his confirmation hearing on Thursday, was dismissive of the sharp decline in the unemployment rate.
The former Goldman Sachs alum argued that the average American still has not felt anything from the economic recovery, saying that the reduced unemployment rate is “not real.”
Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Mnuchin said that his travels with President-elect Donald Trump have changed his mind, arguing that that nation needs a new approach.
As part of his argument, he challenged the validity of one of the nation’s central economic guideposts, the unemployment rate, which is currently at 4.7 percent. Mnuchin appeared to be confusing the issue a bit as he was not making clear that he was not challenging a decline in unemployment using the parameters that the current guidepost does. He appeared to be challenging the use of those parameters.
“I absolutely understand why he got elected,” said Mnuchin. “The average American worker has gone absolutely nowhere. The unemployment rate is not real.”
Trump has repeatedly attacked the unemployment numbers published by the U.S. government claiming that, in actuality, there are tens of millions more unemployed than is measured by the index. “The unemployment number, as you know, is totally fiction,” he said at a post election ‘thank you tour’ rally in Iowa. While Trump may be technically correct, he appears to be including every man, woman, and child in his numbers whether or not they are old enough to work — meaning not violate child labor laws, for example — or retired, or otherwise unable to or unwilling to work.
While Trump’s message may resonate with those still seeking employment or those whose jobs have either been off-shored or otherwise eliminated — particularly in the Rust Belt — earning him the votes to election victory, his basis for making the claim is questionable.