The Corner

The Broader Measure Of Unemployment: 13.1 Percent

Patrick has already provided a good summary of the job report this morning: The situation isn’t good. I would add one more thing: A broader measure of unemployment reveals that the job market is worse shape than the official unemployment rate suggests.

I have mentioned in the past the most commonly reported unemployment rate – which now stands at 6.7 percent — is a very imperfect measure of the health of the labor market. It’s the number of people without jobs who are available to work and are actively seeking work in the four weeks preceding the survey as a percentage of the labor force (the sum of people in the economy who have a job or want one), but it doesn’t tell you anything about the people who have given up looking for work and the people who are employed but only on a part-time basis (i.e., underemployed).

Taking these factors under consideration, a better measurement of the health of our labor market is the U6 unemployment rate, which provides the broadest picture of the current labor situation. According to the new BLS data, the U-6 number now stands at 13.1 percent. It is nearly twice the official unemployment rate. As you can see here, it has slightly declined since the onset of the recession (and it stood at 13.2 percent in November) but is still significantly higher than pre-recession range of 8 percent to 9.3 percent from 2005 to 2007.

My colleague Jason Fichtner and I have updated our chart that looks at the different measures of unemployment. Here it is:

 

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
U.S.

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More