mcdonalds50k.jpgDuring the recent Presidential campaign, there were vows to create 1 million new jobs, and post-election plans have been put forth to create 3 million new jobs by the end of 2010.

The intent is well and good but the full context is vital to complete understanding.

The U.S. population grows by well over 2 million people a year (and that 2 million growth is only about 2/3 of 1% of our current 302 million population).

Let’s say that only 60% enter the job force. That is 1.2 million more people each year (100,000 per month) looking for jobs. In other words, just to stay even (as a percentage) the U.S. economy needs to add 2.4 million jobs over the next 2 years (2009, 2010).

So a gain of 3 million jobs by the end of 2010 really only puts us 600,000 jobs ahead. Which is wonderful until you take note that “at least 5 million jobs, and probably more, will have been lost during the downturn” (The New York Times, January 11, 2009, p. A17).

I trust the United States economy will recover and times will get better.

My point here is that numbers must be understood in context (see posting “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics) and that you need the entire picture to fully comprehend and make wise choices. All too often we are presented with partial views of a situation or incomplete facts. The best decision makers possess open and inquiring minds that ferret out the rest of the story.

Effective questions to ask are, “What haven’t I been told?” “What other points of view exist?”