The real unemployment rate: 15.6%?
The official U.S. unemployment rate is bad enough, but another government measure of the ranks of jobless is far worse -- well into double digits.
The Labor Department’s broadest measure of unemployment reached a stunning 15.6% in March, seasonally adjusted. That was up from 14.8% in February and 9.1% in March 2008.
The government’s broadest measure of the jobless encompasses those who are trying to find a work as well as two other groups:
--- Marginally attached workers, defined as people 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." This group includes "discouraged workers," people the government says "have given a job-market-related reason for not looking currently for a job."
--- Persons employed part time for economic reasons, which include people who "want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule."
So if the economy feels worse to you than an 8.5% jobless rate would suggest, it isn’t your imagination.
-- Tom Petruno
Photo: Job seekers lined up for a career fair in New York this week. Credit: Jeremy Bales / Bloomberg News