Friday, March 6, 2009

U.S. Department of Labor Reports 8.1% "Official" Unemployment Rate, But An "Actual" Unemployment Rate of 16%.

The U.S. Department of Labor came out with new unemployment and related numbers today on their website (link below). They are reporting on the front of their website that the "official" unemployment rate has now reached 8.1%, with another 651,000 Americans thrown out of work in February.

The various items listed on the first page of the website are backed up by many schedules, including Table A-12, which lists the "real" unemployment as being closer to 16%. The real unemployment figures, in other words, are generally twice what is being counted for a variety of reasons.

Table A-12 , section U-6, lists 16% unemployment as of February of 2009 if we include total "official" unemployment, plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, plus what they call "marginally attached workers." These are people who want to be working but do not technically fall into the Department of Labor's criteria to be considered "unemployed."

" '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. "

More details are discussed in an article by Dean Baker at Truthout, link below, and include the following:

- 2 million jobs lost in the past 3 months
- 845,000 additional manufacturing jobs lost since September

- 88,000 truckers lost their jobs since October
- black men have a 15% "official" unemployment rate; (remember, the actual rate is twice that, or 30% actual unemployment for black men).
- Hispanics have an 11% "official" unemployment (22% actual)
- 4 million Americans are involuntarily employed part-time because their wages have been cut against their wishes.

How long will the Bush-Cheney depression last, and how many lives will be ruined? Stayed tuned.

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