20-09 CR Challenger

The unemployment rate in the United States fellfrom 7.5 percent in 1981 to 6.9 percent in 1986. Itcannot, however, be properly concluded from thesestatistics that the number of unemployed in 1986was lower than it had been in 1981 because-----.

(A) help-wanted advertisements increased between1981 and 1986

(B) many of the high-paying industrial jobs avail-able in 1981 were replaced by low
-wage ser-vice jobs in 1986, resulting in displacementsof hundreds of thousands of workers
(C) in some midwestern industrial states, the unem-ployment rate was much higher in 1986 thanit had been in 1981
(D) the total available work force, including thosewith and without employment, increasedbetween 1981 and 1986
(E) the average time that employees stay in anyone job dropped during the period 1981to 1986

answers and explanation in comments


newnaren 20/9/09 5:23 AM  

Choice D

The question is about absolute numbers. The absolute numbers of a smaller percentage can be more than the absolute numbers of a larger percentage, if the denominator of the former is significantly larger than that of the latter. For example, isn’t 3% of 300 bigger than 5% of 150? D brings out the fact that, the total work force happened to be larger in 1986 than in 1981.

But there is a small pitfall here. The difference between the two bases should be significantly large.For, 3% of 200 is not bigger than 5% of 150. Choice D could have made it explicitly clear, although it is still the only plausible choice that supports the argument

A – Advertisement is irrelevant to the issue
B. – talks of internal shift, which in no way affects overall unemployment
C: talks of a sectional occurrence in some states rather than the national average. Not filly scoopful
E. - outside the scope because the issue here is about 1981 and 1986 and not during 1981 and 1986. Secondly we are discussing total unemployment and not the stint.

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