Unemployment at 23%, Not 7.8%

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports their monthly unemployment figures, they reflect only a certain portion of the overall unemployment numbers.  Of the six different unemployment figures in their monthly report, only one gets all of the media attention.

The BLS lists six categories of unemployment figures, but the media only looks at the U-3 category and ignores all of the rest.  The U-3 category used by the government and media does not include anyone that has not looked for a job in the past four weeks as they are considered to be out of the workforce.  The six categories and their December 2012 figures are:

  • U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force – 4.3%
  • U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force – 4.1%
  • U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate) – 7.8%
  • U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers – 8.5%
  • U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force – 9.4%
  • 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 – 14.4%

Economist John Williams, contends that even the U-6 category is not an accurate reflection of the real unemployment figures.  For one thing, he says they do not take into account those individuals who have been unemployed and given up looking for work for at least a year.  He refers to his system as ShadowStats Alternative Unemployment Rate.  In his alternative calculations, Williams adds the U-6 figures with those of the long term unemployed that quit looking but still list themselves as unemployed.  That calculation gives him a total unemployment rate of nearly 23%.

Williams explained to WND:

“To the extent that there is any significance in the monthly reporting, it is that the economy is not in recovery, and that unemployment has made a new high, at a level that rivals any other downturn of the post-Great Depression era.”

“If you were to survey everyone in the country as to whether they were employed or unemployed, without qualification as to when they last looked for a job, the resulting unemployment rate would be close to the ShadowStats estimate.”

So when you see the media report unemployment figures on the news, realize that those are only a fraction of the real numbers that they don’t want you to see.  The real number are three times what they report and those numbers also say that the economy and jobs are not in recovery as Obama would have you believe.  The real numbers indicate that almost 1 of every 4 working class adults are unemployed.