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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Unemployment: What is it? 
5th-Nov-2009 09:22 am
Inspiration
As it turns out, it depends a lot on who you want to count. The key numbers are in table A-12 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics release.

Let's spend a moment with those definitions, using the rationales of the people who created them:


U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the
civilian labor force.

U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a
percent of the civilian labor force

U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor
force (official unemployment rate)

U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of
the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers.

U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other
marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian
labor force plus all marginally attached workers

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers,
plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a
percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally
attached workers.

NOTE: Marginally attached workers are persons who currently
are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they
want and are available for a job and have looked for work
sometime in the recent past. Discouraged workers, a subset of
the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason
for not looking currently for a job. Persons employed part
time for economic reasons are those who want and are available
for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time
schedule. For more information, see "BLS introduces new
range of alternative unemployment measures," in the October
1995 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. Updated population
controls are introduced annually with the release of January
data.


So what is our unemployment in September?


5.4 (U-1)
6.8 (U-2)
9.8 (U-3) (official)
10.2 (U-4)
11.1 (U-5)
17.0 (U-6) (comprehensive)


UPDATE:

5.7 (U-1)
6.9 (U-2)
10.2 (U-3) (official)
10.7 (U-4)
11.6 (U-5)
17.5 (U-6) (comprehensive)
Comments 
5th-Nov-2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Wow.
5th-Nov-2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
I dunno. I'd sort of prefer, "Oh, no!" to that last number.
5th-Nov-2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
How about "Oh noes!"?

Funny. All I keep reading in the newspaper and seeing on tv is how the economy is now in recovery and things are improving "across the board", how Teh Bamster's and Con-gress' hard work has "turned things around".
5th-Nov-2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
If this is "turned around", then I'm not sure what direction he was planning on going.
6th-Nov-2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Post updated. Now I'm even more discouraged.
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