Government's broader unemployment measure still at 17%

The government reports that the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.6 percent in October.

The government’s broader measure of unemployment, sometimes referred to “true unemployment,” is still at 17 percent. There was drop of 318,000 in the number of people employed part time but who would prefer full-time work. The drop resulted in a slight decrease in true unemployment from 17.1 to 17.0 percent.


The higher, more inclusive, unemployment number is buried in the government’s monthly report as “U6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force” in “Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization.” Unlike the “official” unemployment rate, the U6 number includes both marginal and part-time workers as the “true” or “real” unemployment level.

As explained in the video available here the number of people underemployed is equivalent to:

  • The 50 largest U.S. companies (by number of employees) laying off all of their workers, hiring new workers, and then laying them off too.
  • More than all of the employees in the U.S. manufacturing and retail industries.
  • Everyone who currently has a job in these twenty-seven states: Alabama, S. Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, Oregon, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, Utah, Arkansas, Nevada, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, W. Virginia, New Hampshire, Idaho, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming.

As we said last month, this is once again a good time to recall President Obama’s promises about his failed so-called stimulus boondoggle.

Also posted at Right Side Politics.


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