PolitiFact last year called this statement "mostly true":
For African-Americans between the ages of 17 and 20, "the real unemployment rate … is 51 percent."
— Bernie Sanders on Monday, July 6th, 2015 in a rally in Portland, MainePolitiFact this year called this statement "mostly false":
Says the unemployment rate for African-American youths is 59 percent.
— Donald Trump on Friday, June 10th, 2016 in a speech.PolitFact's staff no longer even tries to hide their contempt for the facts.
Sanders cited a report from the Economic Policy Institute.
For Sanders, PolitiFact said:
The statistic EPI used, known by the wonky shorthand U-6, is officially called a measure of "labor underutilization" rather than "unemployment." EPI itself used the term "underemployment" in its research.
It’s a real statistic, but Sanders didn’t really describe it the correct way. He twice used the term "unemployment rate" and once used the variation "real unemployment rate," a vague term that doesn’t have any official definition at BLS and wasn’t mentioned in the EPI research he was quoting.
On the other hand, Sanders’ choice of statistics actually understated his broader point. Since it’s reasonable to assume that dropouts have an even higher unemployment rate than high-school graduates, the figure for "young people who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school," as he put it, is probably even higher than 51 percent, since that figure includes only high school graduates.
All in all, economists agreed that Sanders had a point despite his problems with terminology.For Trump:
The 59 percent unemployment rate for black youths caught our attention. We wondered if Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is right.
The latest figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics pegged the unemployment rate for blacks, ages 16 to 19, at 27.1 percent in May.
So where did Trump come up with the eye-popping 59 percent? We can’t say with certainty, because Trump’s campaign, as usual, didn’t respond to our question. But Tara Sinclair, an economist at George Washington University, offered a clue.
Sinclair told us Trump’s percentage probably comes from a Bureau of Labor Statistics statistic called the "employment-population ratio." This is a figure that gauges employed people, age 16 and older, as a percentage of the entire population of adults.Yes, that was the same U-6 figure. It was 58.5 percent.
Guess that half-percent made all the difference.
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