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Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people

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Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 03:46
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Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed.

Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population

(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents

(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

Argument Construction

Situation
Roland is alarmed that 90 percent of the population knows someone who is out of work. Sharon replies that a normal level of unemployment is 5 percent, illustrating her point by saying that if a person knows 50 workers, at least one of them is likely to be unemployed.

Reasoning
What assumption does Sharon make in putting together her argument? Sharon makes a general statement claiming that if a person knows 50 workers, it is likely that at least one of them is unemployed. Sharon’s generalization would not likely be true if unemployment were concentrated in certain geographically isolated areas.

(A) Sharon’s argument is about a normal level of unemployment; how rarely or frequently that level is exceeded is outside the scope of her argument.

(B) Correct. This statement properly identifies an assumption that underlies Sharon’s argument.

(C) Although Sharon’s argument is compatible with saying that even more than 90 percent of the population knows someone who is unemployed, nothing suggests that she assumes that this is true.

(D) Sharon’s argument is not based on the figure Roland cites and does not assume its accuracy or inaccuracy; her argument merely points out that his figure is not inconsistent with a normal rate
of unemployment.

(E) The fear of losing a job is not part of Sharon’s argument; this statement is irrelevant.

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 248: Critical Reasoning

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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 03:47
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The heart of Sharon's argument is pretty straightforward: she thinks that what Roland sees is somewhat "normal", and not "alarming".

Let’s break down the reasoning behind her argument:

1. A "normal" unemployment rate is 1/20.
2. So if you know 20 typical workers, odds are good that one will be unemployed.
3. And then if you know 50 workers, at least 1 of them will probably be unemployed.
4. Therefore, it’s likely at any given time that 90% of people in the country know at least 1 unemployed person.

In her reasoning, Sharon refers to nationwide levels of unemployment. When she jumps to step 4 of her argument, she assumes that the employment patterns of the 50 workers each of us knows personally will resemble the nationwide employment patterns. In order to accept this assumption, we need evidence that the normal unemployment rate in any given area will roughly match the normal rate of unemployment for the entire country. Otherwise, it could be the case that the unemployed workers are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few parts of the country, and most people elsewhere might NOT know any unemployed workers.

So Sharon's argument relies on which of these assumptions?

Quote:
(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

It makes no difference whether normal levels of unemployment are exceeded rarely or frequently. As long as the current level of unemployment is normal, then Sharon’s argument is valid.

In other words, normal levels of unemployment could be exceeded frequently. But according to Sharon, the data cited by Roland is evidence that unemployment levels are normal right now. Sharon’s argument does not rely on choice (A), so eliminate this one.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Choice (B) gets to the heart of Sharon’s assumption. If unemployment is evenly distributed across the population as opposed to being concentrated in certain states, cities and industries, then we’ll have an easier time agreeing with Sharon. If (B) is true, then any person who knows approximately 50 workers -- anywhere in the country -- is likely to know at least one unemployed worker, even if unemployment levels are moderate.

If (B) were NOT true and unemployment levels were moderate, then we would expect people in the geographically isolated segments to know several unemployed workers. In that case, most people in other parts of the country would NOT likely know at least one unemployed worker. If (B) were not true, then Roland’s evidence would be "alarming", and Sharon’s argument would fall apart.

Let’s keep choice (B) for now and try to eliminate the rest.

Quote:
(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population

Choice (C) could certainly weaken Roland’s argument (by suggesting that the evidence is normal, not alarming). But does Sharon’s argument rely on this assumption? What if unemployment levels are sometimes LESS than moderate? In that case, there would certainly be times when the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is NOT higher than 90% of the population.

Regardless, we are only interested in the fact that that 90 percent NOW report that they know someone who is unemployed. According to Sharon, this is no cause for alarm. Sharon’s argument would be the same regardless of whether (C) is true, so we can eliminate this one.

Quote:
(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents

Sharon’s argument doesn’t depend on whether Roland is honest. There would be no reason for continuing to this conversation if Roland were rattling off fake news he saw on Facebook, but Sharon’s logical connection wouldn’t be affected.

Sharon’s argument is basically, “Even if your evidence is true, there is no cause for alarm.” If the evidence is false, Roland might be a liar, but Sharon’s logic remains sound.

(D) isn't necessary, so we can eliminate it.

Quote:
(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

Choice (E) very well may be true, but it tells us nothing that would affect the logical argument Sharon is making. She says we shouldn’t be alarmed because normal unemployment rates explain the seemingly abnormal rates of knowing an unemployed person. Fear of losing one's job is completely irrelevant to her argument.

So (E) is out, and (B) is our answer.
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General Discussion
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 04:33
souvik101990 wrote:
Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed.

Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population

(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents

(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

Conclusion here:
"So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed."
"So" is a conclusion indicator.

A) Shell game answer - Out
B) We don't care about geographically isolated segments. - Out
C) Hold
D) Out of scope - Out
E) Irrelevant - Out

Hence C is the Ans. Waiting for OA

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks.
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 11:33
C
I was initially confused between B and C.
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2018, 07:20
1
Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed.

Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

assumption question
BID : sharon states a data :1/20 or 5% employment in the overall region stating the 90 percent data is not so high
Missing GAP :the Data is sufficient to counter roland's argument
:numbers and percentages coincide

so now looking at options

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded( Not an assumption rather the conclusion)

(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population (hold- increases the applicability of the data point
for example: if the unemployment rate of 1/20 is not applicable to other locations then sharon cannot contradict Roland argument )

(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population (no mention of the same )

(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents (we have no idea : out of scope )

(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics(out of scope )

correct B
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2018, 11:23
Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population
If unemployment is normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments (imagine, very poor areas of a city), her conclusion does not hold true. Most of the people who don't live in isolated segments wouldn't know 1 or more unemployed workers for every 50 ppl they know. It is unlikely that this people know the people from isolated areas.
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2018, 04:43
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed.

Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population
(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population
(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents
(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

According to Sharon, the fact that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed is no cause for alarm. Why not? .. because if the average person knows about 50 workers and if the moderate unemployment level is 5%, then it is likely that the average person will know at least one unemployed person. In other words, the fact that 90 percent of people know someone who is unemployed might be explained by moderate unemployment, not necessarily by alarming levels of unemployment.

We need an answer choice on which that line of reasoning depends.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Say we have moderate levels of employment (with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed). If unemployment is spread out evenly across the country, then the author's argument makes sense. In other words, if unemployment is evenly spread, then I can pick any 100 workers and expect to find about 5 unemployed workers in that group.

What if most of those unemployed workers are concentrated in a few geographically isolated segments of the population? In that case, if unemployment is moderate, we would expect MOST people to NOT know an unemployed worker and SOME people to know several unemployed workers.

But Roland tells us that now 90 percent of the people in this country report knowing someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is concentrated in only a few isolated segments, then this statistic is alarming. Why?... because now most people, even those who are NOT in those isolated segments, know someone who is unemployed. Unless unemployment is evenly spread, Roland's statistic suggests that unemployment is much higher than 5%.

I hope that helps!

Hi GMATNinja,
I got this explanation from other topic,

what i can get from Sharon's statement, a moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent and if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed, is that the unemployment rate is lower than moderate level if a person knows about 50 worker, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.
I feel sharon argures against Roland, But i am not sure how ?

I am not complete understand your reasoning:

GMATNinja wrote:
But Roland tells us that now 90 percent of the people in this country report knowing someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is concentrated in only a few isolated segments, then this statistic is alarming. Why?... because now most people, even those who are NOT in those isolated segments, know someone who is unemployed.

if most people, althoug those who are NOT in those isolated segment, know someone who is unemployed, it does not mean it is a alaming fact,
what if the most people know the unemployed workers from same source,
I mean, some unemployed workers have a section of one forum, and most people are in another section of the same forum.

Have a nice day
>_~
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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27 Mar 2018, 06:20
GMATNinja wrote:
The heart of Sharon's argument is pretty straightforward: she thinks that what Roland sees is somewhat "normal", and not "alarming".

Let’s break down the reasoning behind her argument:

1. A "normal" unemployment rate is 1/20.
2. So if you know 20 typical workers, odds are good that one will be unemployed.
3. And then if you know 50 workers, at least 1 of them will probably be unemployed.
4. Therefore, it’s likely at any given time that 90% of people in the country know at least 1 unemployed person.

In her reasoning, Sharon refers to nationwide levels of unemployment. When she jumps to step 4 of her argument, she assumes that the employment patterns of the 50 workers each of us knows personally will resemble the nationwide employment patterns. In order to accept this assumption, we need evidence that the normal unemployment rate in any given area will roughly match the normal rate of unemployment for the entire country. Otherwise, it could be the case that the unemployed workers are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few parts of the country, and most people elsewhere might NOT know any unemployed workers.

So Sharon's argument relies on which of these assumptions?

Quote:
(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

It makes no difference whether normal levels of unemployment are exceeded rarely or frequently. As long as the current level of unemployment is normal, then Sharon’s argument is valid.

In other words, normal levels of unemployment could be exceeded frequently. But according to Sharon, the data cited by Roland is evidence that unemployment levels are normal right now. Sharon’s argument does not rely on choice (A), so eliminate this one.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Choice (B) gets to the heart of Sharon’s assumption. If unemployment is evenly distributed across the population as opposed to being concentrated in certain states, cities and industries, then we’ll have an easier time agreeing with Sharon. If (B) is true, then any person who knows approximately 50 workers -- anywhere in the country -- is likely to know at least one unemployed worker, even if unemployment levels are moderate.

If (B) were NOT true and unemployment levels were moderate, then we would expect people in the geographically isolated segments to know several unemployed workers. In that case, most people in other parts of the country would NOT likely know at least one unemployed worker. If (B) were not true, then Roland’s evidence would be "alarming", and Sharon’s argument would fall apart.

Let’s keep choice (B) for now and try to eliminate the rest.

Quote:
(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population

Choice (C) could certainly weaken Roland’s argument (by suggesting that the evidence is normal, not alarming). But does Sharon’s argument rely on this assumption? What if unemployment levels are sometimes LESS than moderate? In that case, there would certainly be times when the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is NOT higher than 90% of the population.

Regardless, we are only interested in the fact that that 90 percent NOW report that they know someone who is unemployed. According to Sharon, this is no cause for alarm. Sharon’s argument would be the same regardless of whether (C) is true, so we can eliminate this one.

Quote:
(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents

Sharon’s argument doesn’t depend on whether Roland is honest. There would be no reason for continuing to this conversation if Roland were rattling off fake news he saw on Facebook, but Sharon’s logical connection wouldn’t be affected.

Sharon’s argument is basically, “Even if your evidence is true, there is no cause for alarm.” If the evidence is false, Roland might be a liar, but Sharon’s logic remains sound.

(D) isn't necessary, so we can eliminate it.

Quote:
(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

Choice (E) very well may be true, but it tells us nothing that would affect the logical argument Sharon is making. She says we shouldn’t be alarmed because normal unemployment rates explain the seemingly abnormal rates of knowing an unemployed person. Fear of losing one's job is completely irrelevant to her argument.

So (E) is out, and (B) is our answer.

Thanks for the wonderful explanation !!!
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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10 Apr 2018, 01:41
zoezhuyan wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed.

Sharon: But a normal, moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent, with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed. So at any given time if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population
(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population
(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents
(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics

According to Sharon, the fact that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed is no cause for alarm. Why not? .. because if the average person knows about 50 workers and if the moderate unemployment level is 5%, then it is likely that the average person will know at least one unemployed person. In other words, the fact that 90 percent of people know someone who is unemployed might be explained by moderate unemployment, not necessarily by alarming levels of unemployment.

We need an answer choice on which that line of reasoning depends.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Say we have moderate levels of employment (with 1 out of 20 workers unemployed). If unemployment is spread out evenly across the country, then the author's argument makes sense. In other words, if unemployment is evenly spread, then I can pick any 100 workers and expect to find about 5 unemployed workers in that group.

What if most of those unemployed workers are concentrated in a few geographically isolated segments of the population? In that case, if unemployment is moderate, we would expect MOST people to NOT know an unemployed worker and SOME people to know several unemployed workers.

But Roland tells us that now 90 percent of the people in this country report knowing someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is concentrated in only a few isolated segments, then this statistic is alarming. Why?... because now most people, even those who are NOT in those isolated segments, know someone who is unemployed. Unless unemployment is evenly spread, Roland's statistic suggests that unemployment is much higher than 5%.

I hope that helps!

Hi GMATNinja,
I got this explanation from other topic,

what i can get from Sharon's statement, a moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent and if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed, is that the unemployment rate is lower than moderate level if a person knows about 50 worker, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.
I feel sharon argures against Roland, But i am not sure how ?

I am not complete understand your reasoning:

GMATNinja wrote:
But Roland tells us that now 90 percent of the people in this country report knowing someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is concentrated in only a few isolated segments, then this statistic is alarming. Why?... because now most people, even those who are NOT in those isolated segments, know someone who is unemployed.

if most people, althoug those who are NOT in those isolated segment, know someone who is unemployed, it does not mean it is a alaming fact,
what if the most people know the unemployed workers from same source,
I mean, some unemployed workers have a section of one forum, and most people are in another section of the same forum.

Have a nice day
>_~

Hi GMATNinjaTwo, GMATNinja

Have a nice day
>_~
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2018, 10:51
zoezhuyan wrote:
Hi GMATNinja,
I got this explanation from other topic,

what i can get from Sharon's statement, a moderate level of unemployment is 5 percent and if a person knows approximately 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed, is that the unemployment rate is lower than moderate level if a person knows about 50 worker, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed.
I feel sharon argures against Roland, But i am not sure how ?

I am not complete understand your reasoning:

GMATNinja wrote:
But Roland tells us that now 90 percent of the people in this country report knowing someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is concentrated in only a few isolated segments, then this statistic is alarming. Why?... because now most people, even those who are NOT in those isolated segments, know someone who is unemployed.

if most people, althoug those who are NOT in those isolated segment, know someone who is unemployed, it does not mean it is a alaming fact,
what if the most people know the unemployed workers from same source,
I mean, some unemployed workers have a section of one forum, and most people are in another section of the same forum.

Have a nice day
>_~

Hi zoezhuyan, if you haven't done so already, check out the breakdown of Sharon's argument in the beginning of this post.

According to Sharon, when unemployment is normal and moderate, 1 out of 20 workers ON AVERAGE is unemployed. So if you know 50 people, you will likely know more than 1 unemployed worker. If most people know at least 50 workers, then most people will know an unemployed worker, EVEN WHEN unemployment is normal and moderate. So according to Sharon, the statistic cited by Roland is not alarming. Instead, that statistic can be explained by normal and moderate unemployment conditions.

But now let's take all (or most) of our unemployed workers and, without changing the total number of unemployed workers, put them all in one or two GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED areas (i.e. a couple cities or perhaps a small, coastal area). So now we have a whole bunch of unemployed workers in a couple areas and very few unemployed workers in the rest of the country.

Remember, we haven't changed the total number of unemployed workers. ON AVERAGE, the country still has 1 unemployed worker for every 20 workers. But in those geographically isolated areas, we would expect MORE than 1 unemployed worker for every 20 (i.e. maybe 1 out of 4 are unemployed). In the rest of the country, we would expect LESS than 1 unemployed workers for every 20 (i.e. maybe 1 out of 500 are unemployed in the rest of the country).

If the average person knows 50 workers, then people in the REST of the country will probably NOT know any unemployed workers when unemployment is normal and moderate. Why not? Because all of those unemployed workers are concentrated in a couple geographically isolated parts of the country. In order for the ENTIRE country to know at least one unemployed person, unemployment would have to be MUCH HIGHER than normal and moderate levels.

So if (B) is true, then Roland's statistic is alarming. But if (B) is not true and unemployment is evenly distributed, then Roland's statistic is not alarming.
_________________

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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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05 May 2018, 10:40
Dear GMATNinja,

Initially, I selected C as the answer. After reading your explanation above I understood that there can be periods where unemployment rate is more or less than 5%. Also, the word "always" should have grabbed my attention.
However, I still don't understand B. How can we infer that Sharon assumed geographical distributions of workers, and Roland says The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed. Doesn't he assume the whole country in his argument?
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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08 May 2018, 19:14
Mehemmed wrote:
Dear GMATNinja,

Initially, I selected C as the answer. After reading your explanation above I understood that there can be periods where unemployment rate is more or less than 5%. Also, the word "always" should have grabbed my attention.
However, I still don't understand B. How can we infer that Sharon assumed geographical distributions of workers, and Roland says The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed. Doesn't he assume the whole country in his argument?

Yes, Roland is referring to the entire country (90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed).

Forget about Roland for a second and think about normal unemployment (5%--i.e. 1 in 20 workers are unemployed). Now let's imagine that unemployment is spread evenly across the country. In that case, if you know 20 workers, there's a good chance that you know an unemployed person (since, on average, 1 in 20 are unemployed). And if you know 50 workers, 1 or more will very likely be unemployed. This is Sharon's argument.

But that argument ONLY works if we assume that unemployment is spread evenly across the country... why? Consider a country with 1 million workers and normal unemployment (so 50,000 unemployed workers). What if ALL 50,000 of those unemployed workers live in the same city? In that case, everyone who lives in that city will likely know someone who is unemployed, but everyone else in the country will NOT know someone who is unemployed.

That is obviously an extreme example. The point is that if unemployment is concentrated in a few isolated areas, then people OUTSIDE of those areas will be less likely to know someone who is unemployed. If unemployment is at 5% and distributed evenly, then anyone who knows 50 workers will likely know an unemployed worker (Sharon's argument). If unemployment is at 5% and NOT distributed evenly, then only the people in the high-concentrations areas will likely know someone who is unemployed. Outside of those areas, people who know 50 workers are MUCH LESS likely to know an unemployed person.

So if unemployment is evenly spread and 90% of people in the country know someone who is unemployed, then the data can be explained by normal unemployment figures. However, if unemployment is concentrated and, still, 90% know someone who is unemployed, then unemployment is likely higher than normal.

I hope that helps!
_________________

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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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17 May 2018, 04:10
GMATNinja wrote:
The heart of Sharon's argument is pretty straightforward: she thinks that what Roland sees is somewhat "normal", and not "alarming".

Let’s break down the reasoning behind her argument:

1. A "normal" unemployment rate is 1/20.
2. So if you know 20 typical workers, odds are good that one will be unemployed.
3. And then if you know 50 workers, at least 1 of them will probably be unemployed.
4. Therefore, it’s likely at any given time that 90% of people in the country know at least 1 unemployed person.

In her reasoning, Sharon refers to nationwide levels of unemployment. When she jumps to step 4 of her argument, she assumes that the employment patterns of the 50 workers each of us knows personally will resemble the nationwide employment patterns. In order to accept this assumption, we need evidence that the normal unemployment rate in any given area will roughly match the normal rate of unemployment for the entire country. Otherwise, it could be the case that the unemployed workers are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few parts of the country, and most people elsewhere might NOT know any unemployed workers.

So Sharon's argument relies on which of these assumptions?

Quote:
(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

It makes no difference whether normal levels of unemployment are exceeded rarely or frequently. As long as the current level of unemployment is normal, then Sharon’s argument is valid.

In other words, normal levels of unemployment could be exceeded frequently. But according to Sharon, the data cited by Roland is evidence that unemployment levels are normal right now. Sharon’s argument does not rely on choice (A), so eliminate this one.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Choice (B) gets to the heart of Sharon’s assumption. If unemployment is evenly distributed across the population as opposed to being concentrated in certain states, cities and industries, then we’ll have an easier time agreeing with Sharon. If (B) is true, then any person who knows approximately 50 workers -- anywhere in the country -- is likely to know at least one unemployed worker, even if unemployment levels are moderate.

If (B) were NOT true and unemployment levels were moderate, then we would expect people in the geographically isolated segments to know several unemployed workers. In that case, most people in other parts of the country would NOT likely know at least one unemployed worker. If (B) were not true, then Roland’s evidence would be "alarming", and Sharon’s argument would fall apart.

Let’s keep choice (B) for now and try to eliminate the rest.

Hi GMATNinja ,

Thanks for this detailed explanation.

I have a general and a specific doubt related to this question.

Specific Doubt -
As per me , Sharon is making 2 assumptions at two different stages of her reply.
1 - She assumes that what ever she is going to reply will contradict/explain what Roland has said, i.e. 90% people of the country know someone unemployed
2 - In her reply itself, she assumes that , as lucidly explained by you, the unemployment is not geographically concentrated.

My problem was that I concentrated on the 1st assumption(if it can qualify as an assumption of Sharon) that 90% can be explained by the 1/20 logic . And if an answer choice says that , well, not every time it is 1/20 then it simply damages that assumption.

General Doubt -
In cases like the current question. Where there Is 1st person and the 2nd person replies to the 1st by giving a statement which -
a) Is making an assumption that the reply as a whole addresses the problem.
AND
b) The reply content itself is assuming something.

Then in such a case which assumption to target. first one or the second one?

I hope I am able to express my line of thought.

Thanks
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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19 May 2018, 08:21
testprep11 wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
The heart of Sharon's argument is pretty straightforward: she thinks that what Roland sees is somewhat "normal", and not "alarming".

Let’s break down the reasoning behind her argument:

1. A "normal" unemployment rate is 1/20.
2. So if you know 20 typical workers, odds are good that one will be unemployed.
3. And then if you know 50 workers, at least 1 of them will probably be unemployed.
4. Therefore, it’s likely at any given time that 90% of people in the country know at least 1 unemployed person.

In her reasoning, Sharon refers to nationwide levels of unemployment. When she jumps to step 4 of her argument, she assumes that the employment patterns of the 50 workers each of us knows personally will resemble the nationwide employment patterns. In order to accept this assumption, we need evidence that the normal unemployment rate in any given area will roughly match the normal rate of unemployment for the entire country. Otherwise, it could be the case that the unemployed workers are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few parts of the country, and most people elsewhere might NOT know any unemployed workers.

So Sharon's argument relies on which of these assumptions?

Quote:
(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded

It makes no difference whether normal levels of unemployment are exceeded rarely or frequently. As long as the current level of unemployment is normal, then Sharon’s argument is valid.

In other words, normal levels of unemployment could be exceeded frequently. But according to Sharon, the data cited by Roland is evidence that unemployment levels are normal right now. Sharon’s argument does not rely on choice (A), so eliminate this one.

Quote:
(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population

Choice (B) gets to the heart of Sharon’s assumption. If unemployment is evenly distributed across the population as opposed to being concentrated in certain states, cities and industries, then we’ll have an easier time agreeing with Sharon. If (B) is true, then any person who knows approximately 50 workers -- anywhere in the country -- is likely to know at least one unemployed worker, even if unemployment levels are moderate.

If (B) were NOT true and unemployment levels were moderate, then we would expect people in the geographically isolated segments to know several unemployed workers. In that case, most people in other parts of the country would NOT likely know at least one unemployed worker. If (B) were not true, then Roland’s evidence would be "alarming", and Sharon’s argument would fall apart.

Let’s keep choice (B) for now and try to eliminate the rest.

Hi GMATNinja ,

Thanks for this detailed explanation.

I have a general and a specific doubt related to this question.

Specific Doubt -
As per me , Sharon is making 2 assumptions at two different stages of her reply.
1 - She assumes that what ever she is going to reply will contradict/explain what Roland has said, i.e. 90% people of the country know someone unemployed
2 - In her reply itself, she assumes that , as lucidly explained by you, the unemployment is not geographically concentrated.

My problem was that I concentrated on the 1st assumption(if it can qualify as an assumption of Sharon) that 90% can be explained by the 1/20 logic . And if an answer choice says that , well, not every time it is 1/20 then it simply damages that assumption.

General Doubt -
In cases like the current question. Where there Is 1st person and the 2nd person replies to the 1st by giving a statement which -
a) Is making an assumption that the reply as a whole addresses the problem.
AND
b) The reply content itself is assuming something.

Then in such a case which assumption to target. first one or the second one?

I hope I am able to express my line of thought.

Thanks

testprep11, I wouldn't say that Sharon's reply depends on an assumption "that 90% can be explained by the 1/20 logic." Sharon is simply saying that with normal, moderate levels of employment, 1 in every 20 workers is unemployed. Given only that information, on average, anyone who knows 20 workers, probably knows 1 unemployed worker. Anyone who knows 40 workers probably knows about 2 unemployed workers, on average. So anyone who knows 50 workers is LIKELY to know at least 1 unemployed worker.

This could explain why "90 percent of the people in this country now report that they know someone who is unemployed." But Sharon's logic is independent of the statement by Roland. The point is that, given the information provided by Sharon, the 90% is not necessarily alarming.

But without the assumption in choice (B), Sharon's argument would not make us doubt whether the 90% figure is indeed alarming.

As for your general doubt, let us know if you have any other relevant examples. In general, I wouldn't try to rely on memorizing approaches to various questions that you've seen. In this case, Roland cites a statistic and says that it is alarming. According to Sharon, we can't simply conclude that this statistic is alarming. I don't quite think that Sharon is "making an assumption that the reply as a whole addresses the problem."

I hope that helps!
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SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations
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Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja and @GMATNinjaTwo in your post. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.

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Joined: 23 Sep 2015
Posts: 1071
Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2018, 01:15
1
Premise:
1. unemployment is 5%. means 1 out of 20 would be unemployed.
2. so if a person know 50 people then chances are that he know atleast 1 to 2.5(avg) unemployed people.
3. How Roland's statement fit into sharon's - Many people are talking/know same unemployed person.

Pre-thinking:
For this all to be hold true many assumptions are needed. such as
1- What if many group of people that do not know each other.Suppose group of 20 people isolated with each other and every group has 1 unemployed. Can Roland statement still holds true. So we have to say that we must not have this kind of isolated groups.
2. Which bring us to ultimate assumption - Many group of people know same person as unemployed.

Sharon's argument relies on the assumption that

(A) normal levels of unemployment are rarely exceeded --- it makes no affect on conclusion or either of the statements.

(B) unemployment is not normally concentrated in geographically isolated segments of the population --- This one is more on the lines we have thought about. Concern is that if it does the grouping will be more on isolated people and 90% statics will not be successful completely. Though it is talking about a very edge of the situation and not exactly.

(C) the number of people who each know someone who is unemployed is always higher than 90% of the population --- This will make whole thing go imbalance.

(D) Roland is not consciously distorting the statistics he presents ---- well this could be an assumption for roland. but sheron's argument does not depend on it.

(E) knowledge that a personal acquaintance is unemployed generates more fear of losing one's job than does knowledge of unemployment statistics --- irrelevant
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2018, 16:28
Can someone help me understand where my thinking is wrong here?

My answer was C although I did flag that it was a bit extreme. I got rid of B because I thought - you would have to make another assumption on the assumption that the 50 workers that a person knows is not concentrated in that area (because we aren't supposed to use real world knowledge) so B could not be true and have the argument still stand. Because it COULD BE that everyone in the country knows the 50 workers from that region, whereby if it was concentrated in a region, the conclusion is still true.

Whereas if C is true all the time (even though it does not need to be that extreme), then the conclusion MUST be true.
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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2018, 16:43
1
helterskelter wrote:
Can someone help me understand where my thinking is wrong here?

My answer was C although I did flag that it was a bit extreme. I got rid of B because I thought - you would have to make another assumption on the assumption that the 50 workers that a person knows is not concentrated in that area (because we aren't supposed to use real world knowledge) so B could not be true and have the argument still stand. Because it COULD BE that everyone in the country knows the 50 workers from that region, whereby if it was concentrated in a region, the conclusion is still true.

Whereas if C is true all the time (even though it does not need to be that extreme), then the conclusion MUST be true.

_________________

Thanks!
Do give some kudos.

Simple strategy:
“Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Best Gmat Resource:
GmatPrep CR|GmatPrep SC|GmatPrep RC

My Notes:

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Joined: 10 May 2018
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Concentration: Finance, Sustainability
Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people  [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2018, 05:16
Same. I was confused between answer choices (B) and (C) too.
damaniaayush87 wrote:
C
I was initially confused between B and C.

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Re: Roland: The alarming fact is that 90 percent of the people &nbs [#permalink] 25 Jul 2018, 05:16
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