Saturday, August 4, 2012

U3 and U6: The REAL Umemployment Numbers

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I probably should stick to the Fifty Shades of Gray stuff because that is what everybody wants to read about these days.  The last thing they probably want to do is read about U3 and U6.  Life right now is tough enough with high gas prices, food prices going up, local municipalities trying to raise sales taxes, and we're in re-runs on TV.  Thank goodness for the Olympics!  Ok.  Gird your girders.  This blog is about the unemployment rate.  Please don't run! Don't run away from the lion because the lion, in this case, the truth, will bite you in the butt.

The government actually releases two unemployment rates: the one the government and the mainstream press want you to know about and the "real" unemployment rate, the one they don't want you to know about.  An ignorant populace is a compliant populace.  Therefore, I find it my patriotic duty to inform you of the difference between the U3 report and the U6 report. 

U3:  This unemployment rate measures ONLY those who are out of a job and currently looking for work.  Well, isn't that what the unemployment rate is?  It is if that's the only data you CHOOSE to look at. It currently is at 8.3% (a little under but pretty darned close).

U6:  This number INCLUDES the disaffected, those who have simply thrown in the towel and are no longer looking for employment.  It also INCLUDES the UNDER employed.  Those that have lost their jobs but instead of being able to find a full time position, they have taken a part time or part time positions.  This report according to CNBC (and many other money oriented sites), "provides a more complete tally of how many people really are out of work." 

Here is a chart indicating the Unemployment rate of the U6 type (provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics):  Chart is generated for a range of 22 year only

2012 % U6  monthly through July:  15.1, 14.9, 14.5, 14.5, 14.8, 14.9, 15.0

In 2002, the average % of the U6 category was 7%.  In 2012, it's a little over 14.5%.  Here are some individual state stats for the U6 from CNBC:  Nevada-22.1%; California-20.3%; Rhode Island-18.3%; Florida- 17%.  That's some powerful hurting, people. 

Who is not included in any labor force numbers?  From US Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Labor force measures are based on the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years old and over. Excluded are persons under 16 years of age, all persons confined to institutions such as nursing homes and prisons, and persons on active duty in the Armed Forces. The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed. The remainder—those who have no job and are not looking for one—are counted as "not in the labor force." Many who are not in the labor force are going to school or are retired. Family responsibilities keep others out of the labor force."

So there you have the ugly, unvarnished truth directly from the mouth of babes (I don't think so).  Why did you have to go there?  Because it's important you know this stuff! But I was just getting my Olympic fix...

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