Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Two Jobs Gaffe

 

In an interview segment discussing the economy, primarily the unemployment rate, Ocasio-Cortez dismissed claims that the economy is strong because of a historically low unemployment rate because “unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”

The issue with this claim is, namely, that the unemployment rate does not distinguish between the number of hours that people are working, nor the number of jobs they hold. While there are a narrow set of rules to be considered unemployed, only about 5% of Americans currently hold multiple jobs:

While politicians routinely make mistakes regarding the economy (1, 2), this gaffe is particularly note-worthy because Ocasio-Cortez holds a bachelors degree in economics from Boston University.

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  1. I suspect that what she is trying to get at is the fact that the official employment rate includes people who are working part-time, but would rather be working full time (even if they are working two or more part-time jobs). As a result, a low unemployment rate would underestimate the degree of struggle people are facing in the current economy. Meanwhile, a number of discouraged workers have simply left the workforce altogether (as evidenced by our lower than normal labor force participation rate) – which would certainly underestimate our official unemployment figure.

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