Live by the numbers, cry by the numbers.
U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs in April. That's good, better than the 218,000 analysts were predicting. The nation's unemployment rate was also down, to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent a month ago.
And amid all the "hoorays for a recovering economy" comes a cold slap in the face: Where are jobs statistics that actually reflect real life?
Because these numbers don't. They don't include the people who've quit looking, the people working off the books and the people cobbling together meager existences from multiple little pickup gigs. These numbers don't reflect all the people working far below their talents or usual pay rates. The stats don't acknowledge a minimum wage stuck in the food-stamp zone or unemployment benefits in the deep freeze.
Who has a new statistic that takes these painful realities into account? The old numbers plainly do not.
After the cheery numbers appeared on Friday, newsday.com asked a simple question in a reader poll: Is the job market actually better? When I last checked, the percentages were running 17 "yes" to 77 "no."
They know better than Washington does.
TAKE THIS JOB
1. And export it.
2. And downsize it.
3. And reclassify it.
4. And nuke it.
5. And give it to me.
ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Did Hampton Bays' tennis coach Jon Caico leave six of his players behind after a maddening 7-0 loss to Southold/Greenport? He denies it, but he's the ex-coach now . . . How bummed are Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and Penn that All-Ivy Kwasi Enin chose some school in Connecticut? . . . Darn, did I forget to train for the RXR Long Island Marathon — again? . . . Will 759 new dorm beds at Stony Brook U quiet complaints from student-weary homeowners? Or will many students still prefer the charms of off-campus living, despite the neighbors' scowls? . . . Haven't robins ever heard of windows? So why do the little birdies keep slamming into the Kersiches' living-room glass in Holbrook? . . . Will Albany's Democratic Assembly do the same favor the Republican Senate did for Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio and Councilwoman Lynne Nowick: Give the two a second-chance 30-day window to file their forgotten oaths of office? . . . How did Suffolk County get the worst-air-in-New-York-State award? All the cars, right? Will local Realtors start quoting the American Lung Association: "If you live in Suffolk County, the air you breathe may put your health at risk" . . . Nassau schools are still segregated 60 years after Brown vs. Board of Ed? Is that what the Supreme Court meant by "all deliberate speed"? . . . You see who won the most gold medals at the United Nations Inter-Agency Games, held at Hofstra University, Eisenhower Park and the Mitchel Athletic Complex? The International Atomic Energy Agency. Nuke-hiding dictators, consider yourselves warned!
THE NEWS IN SONG: I ain't working here no more: David Allan Coe, "Take this Job and Shove It," tinyurl.com/jobcoe
LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: TAYLOR SINETT
When her cousin Casey had to confront a frustrating disease called ulcerative colitis, Taylor Sinett didn't do what most 14-year-olds would: Throw up her hands and say, "Aw, that's too bad." The eighth-grader at Port Washington's Weber Middle School got busy. Doing research. Raising money. Even writing a children's book. "Weasel on an Easel" is all about learning to love yourself as you are. And there Taylor was on Thursday in front of 1,000 people at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, being called a "Rising Star" by the Crohn's And Colitis Foundation of America. She spoke. So did Casey. And the book was on sale at tinyurl.com/weasbook with all the money going to the Crohn's and Colitis group.
Follow on Twitter @henican
To find poll: newsday.com/business/unemployment-drops-to-6-3-after-u-s-adds-288-000-jobs-in-april-1.7897172