Congress Doesn’t Talk About the ‘Jobless’ As Often Anymore

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If it feels like politicians have been less focused on jobless Americans this year, there’s a good reason for that.

The number of times legislators mentioned words like “unemployment” and “jobless” dropped considerably this year compared to 2010, according to data from CapitolWords.org, a new online tool from the Sunlight Foundation that tracks the number of occurrences of words and phrases in the Congressional record dating back to 1996.

In 2010, there were as many as 1,694 mentions of the word “unemployment” in a single month and more than 1,000 mentions in December of that year. By January though, when the new Congress took over, that number dropped to just more than 100 mentions and only rose higher than the 500 mark twice this year.

Similarly, the word “jobless” has been uttered just 87 times this year, less than half the number of times it was last year. This is particularly startling when you compare it to a very similar phrase with a much different meaning: “job creators.” That word, typically referencing big businesses and the wealthy, was said as many as nearly 145 times in a single month this year, more times than “jobless” was said in the entire year.

To be fair, some politicians have been more focused on the unemployed. Democrats were responsible for the vast majority of utterances of words like “unemployment” and “jobless” and “poverty,” while Republicans can take credit for being more likely to mention “class warfare” and “socialism.”

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at Seth.Fiegerman@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.

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