I can say with confidence that the unemployment rate is not 7.7%, since that figure is only one of six measures the Labor Department uses to decipher U.S. unemployment. For some bizarre reason, “news” stations keep feeding us this one measure without doing the slightest bit of analysis; they are the country’s (or administration’s) cheerleaders instead of information providers. The written news media sometimes do a better job at reporting the actual figures (see the source article, for instance).
The unemployment rate is closer to 14.3%. This is the figure the Labor Department also came up with for February, 2013, which includes all those persons underemployed who want an actual job that pays their bills (it does not include part-timers who are happy with their hours), those persons who want to work but have stopped looking because there’re no jobs where they live, etc. As a note, since these figures are based on surveys, and the unemployed/homeless might not be answering their phone (if they have one), the statistic has the possibility of being too low. There are a lot of homeless around here and I don’t think they’ve answered any survey calls from the Labor Department – but they should be a part of the statistic given in the next paragraph.
Another statistic put out by the Labor Department is the ratio of employed persons relative to the overall working-age population. For February, that ratio had not changed. It is standing at 58.6%. By way of comparison, in the year 2000 it was 64.7%.
The long-term unemployed number has not changed, standing at 4.8 million. The longer these people remain unemployed, the harder it will be for them to get hired. That is what we saw happen during the recession, in any case, and I don’t see employers changing their hearts on this matter. Underemployment also stands the same as before, at 8 million. I don’t see corporations changing their hearts on this either – it’s all about making more and more money to bolster stock prices and returns (this is my opinion based on personal experience, talking with others, and documentaries).
And what to make of this? From Recession Like Symptoms, March 7, 2013.
In its reporting of monthly job-cuts for February this morning, Challenger, Gray & Christmas informed us of a sharp spike in layoffs. It is information that certainly runs counter to the market’s direction today, and it asks an important question about the economy, too. . . .
Maybe it’s for good reason. Job-cuts increased by 37%, to 55,356, which is a rather high level and could offer another warning about the economy. After all, fourth quarter GDP was just revised barely into positive territory and last month’s Employment Situation Report showed deterioration. Those are important recession-like symptoms, and hard to mistake for anything else.
Source of this information, Unemployment rate: How many Americans are really unemployed?, and recommendations: The Recession and Recovery in Perspective; Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted; Unemployment Is 18.0% NOT 7.7% (alternate link: http://wallstreetgreek.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-false-prophet-unemployment-is-really.html).