Real Unemployment Rate: 9.5%

By Michael W. Chapman | November 4, 2016 | 10:52am EDT


( -- Although much of the major media are reporting the national unemployment rate for October as 4.9%, the "real unemployment rate," as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and which includes part-time workers and those marginally attached to the work force, is 9.5%.

In other words, the real unemployment rate in the United States for October is nearly double the 4.5% rate reported by most media. 

The "total unemployed" rate, or U6 number, is defined by the BLS as, "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," seasonally adjusted, workers 16 years old and over.  

The Gallup survey group explains the incomplete nature of the "national unemployment rate." 

"Widely reported unemployment metrics in the U.S. do not accurately represent the reality of joblessness in America," says Gallup. "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."

For that reason, the BLS also provides the U6 rate, or total unemployed rate. That rate was 9.5% in October and 9.7% in September. It was 9.6% in June.  

The last time the real unemployment rate was below 9.6% was in April 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, more than 8 years ago. 

It peaked at 17.5% in October, November, and December 2009. It fell below 10% for the first time in October 2015. 

To see all the numbers, visit the BLS website and click on "subjects," then "national unemployment rate," then "top picks labor force statistics," and then "data tools." 



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