Real Unemployment 9.3%

By Michael W. Chapman | January 6, 2017 | 10:16am EST


( -- Although the national unemployment rate for December was 4.7%, the real or total unemplyment rate -- people who work part-time because of the economy and other marginally attached workers -- was 9.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The last time it was as low as 9.2% was in April 2008, more than eight years ago. 

As Gallup explains, "Widely reported unemployment metrics in the U.S. do not accurately represent the reality of joblessness in America. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not count a person who desires work as unemployed if he or she is not working and has stopped looking for work over the past four weeks."

"Similarly, the BLS does not count someone as unemployed if he or she is, for instance, an out-of-work engineer, construction worker or retail manager who performs a minimum of one hour of work a week and receives at least $20 in compensation," said Gallup. 

That's where the Total Unemployment, or U-6, rate comes in. Although provided by the BLS in its monthly data, it is not often reported by the mainstream media. It is reported by Gallup every month.  

While the total unemployment rate in December was 9.2%, it was 9.3% in November and 9.5% in October. Between June 2008 and September 2015, the total unemployment rate in the United States was in double digits, reaching a high of 17.1% in October, November, December 2009 and in March and April 2010. 

The total unemployment rate (U-6) as explained by the BLS refers to "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers," 16 years old and over, seasonally adjusted. 

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