August 24, 2006

U.S. poverty undercounted in job surveys, study finds

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Official jobs figures may considerably
underestimate the number of poor and uninsured Americans,
according to a new study from the Center for Economic Policy

The U.S. government's Current Population Survey (CPS) is so
severely miscalibrated that it could exclude as many as 2.5
million adults who are out of work, the research found.

"The group that is falling out of the survey is
economically marginalized, less likely to have a job, less
likely to have health-insurance, and more likely to be poor,"
said John Schmitt, senior economist at CEPR and a co-author of
the report.

That is particularly true because the yearly national
survey on U.S. poverty, due out next week, relies on the same
data, said Schmitt.

"Since non-employed adults are more likely to be poor and
less likely to have health insurance, the CPS failure to
capture a large group of non-working adults also leads to
undercounting the poor and those without health insurance," the
study said.

It also that as many as 600,000 people in poverty and
350,000 people without health insurance are simply absent from
the government statistics.