CHAZ Unemployment Rate

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CHAZ unemployment rate

Hopefully, this is an obvious parody. (click for larger image)

The meme above about the CHAZ unemployment rate was making the rounds on the internet a few days ago.  I laughed, my wife laughed, I posted it on Facebook.  One of my economist colleagues pointed out an obvious error.  It turns out the actual unemployment rate in CHAZ is undefined.  Read on for details.

For those who have been someplace pleasant and cut off from the news, CHAZ is the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle.  There has been a move to renaming it CHOP, the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.

My economist pal pointed out, correctly, that to be counted as both unemployed and in the labor force a person must be looking for work.  Both those numbers are zero.  Meaning the unemployment in that area, whatever name you use, is 0/0.  This is undefined, if only because division by zero is a big no-no.

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.