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Thu Oct 15, 2020, 11:53 AM

America's True Unemployment Rate

'Exclusive: America's true unemployment rate,' by Felix Salmon, Axios, Oct. 13, 2020.

A person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage — but who can't find one — is unemployed. If you accept that definition, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is a stunning 26.1%, according to an important new dataset shared exclusively with "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: The official unemployment rate is artificially depressed by excluding people who might be earning only a few dollars a week. It also excludes anybody who has stopped looking for work or is discouraged by a lack of jobs or by the demands of child care during the coronavirus crisis.

If you measure the unemployed as anybody over 16 years old who isn't earning a living wage, the rate rises even further, to 54.6%. For Black Americans, it's 59.2%.

The backstory: The official definition of unemployment can be traced back to the 1870s, when a Massachusetts statistician named Carroll Wright diagnosed what he referred to as "industrial hypochondria". By restricting the "unemployed" label to men who “really want employment,” Wright managed to minimize the unemployment figure. Wright went on to found the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and he brought his unemployment definition with him.

To this day, to be officially counted as unemployed you need to be earning no money at all, and you need to be actively looking for work...

More, https://www.axios.com/americas-true-unemployment-rate-6e34decb-c274-4feb-a4af-ffac8cf5840d.html

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Reply America's True Unemployment Rate (Original post)
appalachiablue Oct 15 OP
JT45242 Oct 15 #1

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Thu Oct 15, 2020, 12:47 PM

1. Great point ...underemployed etc.

During the last great recession we heard a lot more about the 'underemployed' who had only part time work, etc. Short trem gig work, etc. with no financial security or benefits.

They should report all of those categories. So, we would get a better picture of how the economy does not work for many in the economy.

The only problem with 'earning a living wage' for those over 16 is that for many social security does not provide a living wage but but when you add in whatever pension, IRA/401K/503B dispersals they receive, many seniors combine to a living wage.

Hopefully, Biden will get someone like Reich to take over some of these things come January.

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