WASHINGTON — Stocks of pocket calculators moved rapidly Tuesday as market participants fled to office supply stores and sought safety in computer-aided arithmetic following the unexpected disclosure by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that when they said the unemployment rate was 9% in November they were completely forgetting to carry the one.
A sheepish spokesperson for the BLS confirmed that the actual proportion of Americans who would “gladly trade the pathetic remains of their Roth 401(k) for a first round interview at Burger King” is more like 19%.
The director of the Division of the Counting on Fingers, American-educated economist Bruce Reynolds, accepted blame for the error. In an open letter of resignation obtained by the mathematics department at Englewood High School he wrote, “Although we have yet to use our toes to double check, the preliminary answer key indicates that when I got up to ten and started over with no fingers I must have forgotten to keep my pinky up to keep track of the tens place.”
“When a column of numbers adds up to more than ten, what you want to do is write down the answer with the units place at the bottom of the column below the equals line and then put a one in the tens place to the left,” explained former Englewood math teacher Jennifer Rice, who lost her job after she didn’t think to cheat on the No Child Left Behind student achievement test by giving the answers ahead of time.
An official familiar with the situation divulged that the error would almost certainly have gone undetected if a napping Chinese three year-old had not rapidly done the math in her head and then blogged about the imperialist omission on her Ph.D. advisor’s website. When asked for comment, America declined.