8.2% unemployment? BLS' U-6 is where it's really at

While I’m waiting for Mitt Romney to hibernate his jet ski for the balance of the campaign season, and prove to us for the 2012 race that he’s in it to win it, I offer up another talking point for his campaign.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides an “alternative” unemployment number, i.e., U-6, which has once again been on the uptick since May and now stands at 14.9%. According to BLS, the U-6 definition is:

U-6  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.

And their further definitions:

Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.

For those of you who are more data driven, the following chart (you can view the original and other charts by clicking here):

U-6 Unemployment: 2005-2012 (courtesy of Portal Seven.com)


The President says we’re taking “a step in the right direction,” although according to his stimulus lingo, we should have been at 5.6%.

When you consider the groups that the U-6 number aggregates, it includes portions of “food-stamp nation” and the millions who have recently swollen the disability rolls.  Come November 6, I wonder which candidate they’ll be voting for.