The Real Unemployment Rate?
Originally authored by Catherine Holohan

Posting updated February 01, 2012


This report confirms what honest folks have been saying for years ... that politicians have been providing misleading information about unemployment in the United States.

The statistical data are old but the procedure predicting unemployment has not changed!

pink slips

Real Unemployment Rate:
2009 2010 2011 2012
15.6% 21.5% 22% 23%

The official US jobless rate [ March 2009 ], now 8.5%, excludes millions of people -- among them those who have given up on finding work and those forced into working fewer hours than they'd like.

 Actual 2011 Federal Deficit Topped $5.0 Trillion • U.S. Government Debt and Obligations Top $80 Trillion    Williams: Unemployment rate 2012

Unemployment in States

By Brian Hicks, "A New Development in the North Dakota Bakken,” Wealth daily Analysis, December 23rd, 2009

Job losses by state, comparing the years 2008 and 2009:

An 8.5% unemployment rate is unmistakably bad. It's the highest rate since 1983 -- a year that saw double-digit unemployment, nearly 30 commercial bank failures and more than 15% of Americans living below the poverty line.

But the real national unemployment rate is far worse than the U.S. Department of Labor's March figure, announced today, April 03, 2009, shows. That's because the official rate doesn't include the 3.7 million-plus people who are reluctantly working only part time because of the poor labor market. And it doesn't include the workers who have given up scouring want ads for seemingly nonexistent jobs.

When those folks are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 15.6%. In March 2008, that number was 9.3%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this alternative measure (.pdf file) in 1995.

"The situation out there is very grim," says Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. "We have seen the mounting of job losses faster than any point since World War II. I have never seen anything escalate this bad."

Even the Department of Labor's expanded unemployment measure doesn't fully capture how difficult the job market is for American workers. It doesn't include self-employed workers whose incomes have shriveled. It doesn't look at former full-time staff employees who have accepted short-term contracts, without benefits, and at a fraction of their former salaries. And it doesn't count the many would-be workers who are going back to school, taking on more debt, in hopes that an advanced degree will improve their chances of landing a job.

Here's another way to look at the unemployment figures: More than 5 million people have lost their jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007. And more than 13 million people are unemployed. That's the highest number the U.S. has seen since it began tracking unemployment after World War II. For every job out there, more than four people are competing for it, says Boushey. Mitch Feldman has seen the results of such intense competition firsthand. As president of New York executive placement firm A.E. Feldman Associates, he has watched lawyers accept paralegal jobs after failing to find any companies that are hiring. He has seen Ivy League-educated financial professionals accept lower-paid contract work after searching in vain for banking jobs. "When some of the big investment banking firms had layoffs a year ago, those people were looking for permanent jobs," but now they're taking six-month and yearlong contracts, says Feldman. "And they're competing with other contractors who were on contract before. More supply, less demand, and the prices go down."

For more supporting information: Government statistics


Holohan Catherine, “The real unemployment rate? Try 15.6%” MSN Money, March 03, 2009.   real unemployment rate 2009

For info about government manipulation of jobs and unemployment, go to: Shadow statististics by government

Commentary on jobs January, 2010: Umemployment 2010

USA job mess: job mess

Williams John, "Shadow government statistics," The SGS Newsletter, January 30, 2012.  Williams: Unemployment rate 2012