LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The number of companies hiring in March plunged to the slowest pace in three months, renewing calls from at least one Southland lawmaker to revise the way the government tallies unemployment data.

New figures from the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday showed the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week, but over the last month rose 5,500 to 374,750 — the most since January.

Some economists have chalked up the uneven gains in the job market to employers’ hiring spree at the start of the new year, but Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) told KNX 1070 the numbers may not be calculated accurately.

“If we’re going to make good policy, we have to know what the truth is, we have to know what the real numbers are or we’re going to be making policy that’s associated with a false number,” said Hunter.

Hunter introduced the Real Unemployment Calculation Act last month in order to require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to include the number of individuals who have given up looking for work in the federal goverment’s official unemployment data.

Under HR 4128, the California unemployment rate would jump from its current rate of 11.6 percent up to 13.4 percent, a number that Hunter said is more aligned with economic reality.

“These numbers are all there right now for everybody to see, we just want this number to be the official number that we go by when we look at things to make policy,” said Hunter.


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