I recently posted a column on the real unemployment rate. The point was an old one: the official unemployment rate is a terribly inadequate metric that lets a lot of people fall through the cracks. While the monthly Department of Labor report does in fact include the numbers of people who have left the labor force -- i.e. just given up looking for a job - it misses those who earn as a little $20, worked only a few hours, work in jobs that pay far below their talents or capabilities, or are stuck in jobs that pay less than previous jobs. But the greatest inadequacy of the official figures is simply the figures themselves. They are metrics that don't tell stories of real people. We can argue all we want about proper quantification of real problems but sometimes it only takes a real person to hit us on the head and wake us up. And I should know this better than anyone else: we pollsters do not poll numbers, we poll people.

Enter Alice from Spartanburg, South Carolina, who wrote me a note thanking me for even raising the issue of the real unemployment rate but wanting to make sure I let everyone know that behind every statistic on unemployment is some real pain. Here are some excerpts from her email:

I am not a statistic. I am a real person. My name is Alice Lang. I live in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. I am a writer, teacher, advocate and project manager with a Master's degree in history and a Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have been looking for gainful employment since August 2014 after my job as a college instructor was downsized due to budget cuts.

I entered the job hunt with great energy and immediately began networking, making cold calls, searching internet job sites, and using other creative methods for "pounding the pavement." Unfortunately, none of these efforts has yielded a job. I talk to people every day while waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in the dentist's office, or simply walking down the street. Without fail, I learn that either the person I am speaking with is unemployed or one of his friends or family members is out of work.

So, you can imagine what a slap in the face it was to read in today's AP article by Christopher S. Rugaber that the job market is "healthy" and "robust." Paradoxically, within the body of this saccharine sweet article, he adds that many job seekers "have given up searching for work." The inference is that the long-term unemployed no longer are counted, so we can be conveniently subtracted from the Bureau of Labor statistics.

Being ignored is exactly how job seekers feel in the "robust" [NOT] job market. We are invisible and voiceless because, according to the government and the press, we do not exist. I, for one, am determined to change that, and I invite others to join me.

Leaders in government, media and industry need to acknowledge the existence of the millions of people who are out of work. We are not going away and we are not going to stay silent on this issue. My hope is that courageous journalists and activists will come together to bring this issue to the forefront and launch a national dialogue.

To all politicians considering a run for President in 2016, sit up and take notice: You should include solving the unemployment crisis as a major plank in your platforms. Believe me, if I found a potential candidate who was speaking out on this issue, I would hitch my wagon to his or her star!

Now to be fair, I believe that most political officials care about unemployment and I do trust that over 3 million jobs have been created during the past year. But I agree that not enough is being done. We know we desperately need new teachers, physicians and other medical professional, mental health workers. We are in vital need of highway and bridge construction and repair. And that is not all. Mayors and governors are leading the way - but the federal government must step up to the plate. This is not spending, it is public investment and there is a ton of waste elsewhere that can truly be cut.

There are many existing and potential entrepreneurs in our cities and towns who need microloans, advice, mentoring, and continuous learning. Local governments and institutions of learning are doing a decent job of building this new and dynamic workforce of the future. But these are not simply interesting human interest stories, they are a vital public necessity. Where is that vaunted $2 trillion in corporate cash when we need it now?

In short, Alice is a seasoned professional, someone with a lot to offer, with a passion to serve and succeed. She is very real and, as she says, not a statistic. I too don't want to go through another election cycle with political blather. Tell me what are you going to do for Alice of Spartanburg, South Carolina.