Unemployment's Hidden Numbers Reveal Weaker Economy

Unemployment's Hidden Numbers Reveal Weaker Economy


I’ve been talking about this for a while now, and it’s encouraging to see some dead trees taking up the story.

Basically, the unemployment figures that get reported are known as U3, which are simply the number of people who are applying for unemployment insurance. And that’s not a good gauge because a lot of people’s benefits are running out and/or they simply stop looking for work because they’re discouraged.

More at True/Slant.

  • kranky kritter

    It’s certainly true that UE numbers underreport the number of people without jobs. And folks should certainly be aware of that.

    Let’s all notice that one of the most important utilities of any data figure that gets measured and reported regularly is comparability. When I see that UE is being reported currently at close to 10%, I compare that figure to the rate that has been reported in the past over years and years.

    So if and when folks out there decide to get alarmed by reports of unemployment that is even higher than what is being reported, don’t forget that unemployment has always been undercounted, tabulating only “active job seekers” and not making any adjustment for underemployed folks in part time jobs and so on.

    Also don’t forget to notice that it’s not entirely unsensible when measuring unemployment to want to know the percent of people without jobs from the poll of who really actually want jobs. I regularly see the line about people who are “discouraged:” and not looking for a job even though they want one. While I appreciate that folks can get discouraged, how badly can you say you want a job if you aren’t trying to find one. What’s the strategy there?

    In other words, if someone tells you that real unemployment

  • jessica Aires

    hmmm..So happy I finally got a job !