Is the "official" unemployment rate actually official bulls*it?
Come with me below the fold...
The official unemployment rate excludes lots and lots of the real unemployed.
Part-Time Workers Mask Unemployment Woes
By DAVID LEONHARDT
Published: July 14, 2009
In California and a handful of other states, one out of every five people who would like to be working full time is not now doing so.
After Richard Smith, 58, was laid off from jobs at two carmakers, he moved to Charlotte, N.C., and found only part-time work. He makes $9.50 an hour repairing clubs at a Golf Galaxy store.
It is a startling sign of the pain that the Great Recession is inflicting, and it is largely missed by the official, oft-repeated statistics on unemployment. The national unemployment rate has risen to 9.5 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter-century. Yet it still excludes all those who have given up looking for a job and those part-time workers who want to be working full time.
Include them — as the Labor Department does when calculating its broadest measure of the job market — and the rate reached 23.5 percent in Oregon this spring, according to a New York Times analysis of state-by-state data. It was 21.5 percent in both Michigan and Rhode Island and 20.3 percent in California. In Tennessee, Nevada and several other states that have relied heavily on manufacturing or housing, the rate was just under 20 percent this spring and may have since surpassed it.
Other people not considered part of the labor force include prisoners, people confined to nursing homes, members of the Armed Forces on active duty, homemakers, students and retired persons.
Thus, the official unemployment rate excludes all sorts of categories of people.
Therefore, the "official" unemployment rate is really a lie.
Oh, wait, if you do some digging you may find that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does produce "alternative measures." But is it publicized beyond being buried on a government site far removed from access or knowledge of the average adult?
Not as far as I know.
Does the average adult know this site exists?
Almost certainly not.
Would the average person be able to read, interpret and glean the significance of the spreadsheet if they DID stumble upon it?
Well, maybe. Maybe not. I tend to doubt it.
Forget even the part-time workers for the moment. Unemployed means, and most people take it to mean, just what it says: