Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Jobless Rate Now 22%?

The current unemployment rate is 10%, but as I have mentioned on numerous occasions the unemployment rate is not a measure of how many people are not working. There are certain conditions the unemployment statistics use to whittle down the number. The number of people not working may be more then double the number of technically 'unemployed'; at least as far as the rate is concerned. Be sure to scroll down to see the graph of total jobs.


"John Crudele writes in today’s New York Post that the actual unemployment rate may be much higher than that — perhaps as high as 22%:

I’ve been mentioning that under-employed figure — called U-6 by the Labor Department — for years and I’m glad everyone else has finally caught up.

But that larger figure doesn’t include a huge number of unemployed folks who have given up looking for work because they feel the search is hopeless. Last Friday’s report said 661,000 such people left the labor force in December.

If you count these hopelessly unemployed, the real jobless rate is probably close to 22 percent. If these all weren’t such important issues, this would all be a big joke.

Ironically, one of the Obama administration’s top economic advisers made this same point — only Austan Goolsbee did his complaining in 2003
This chart from the BLS shows the number of jobs rather than derivatives such as the unemployment rate, and I have added a circle to the period to which Goolsbee referred:

To be helpful, I’ve added a big rectangle to the data from the last two years.  Note that the slope of the decline actually remains the same in 2009 as in 2008 before bottoming out in November.  The period between 2003 and 2008 is when the Bush economic plan created a massive expansion of jobs, in case anyone forgets that point.


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