Monday, February 8, 2010

Unemployment, Again

Return with us now, to a soapbox near and dear to my heart, unemployment. You may have heard pronouncements from the BLS regarding exactly how many people are in one state of unemployment or another. Here's a graph of recent BLS numbers:
Since nobody at the BLS is running for office, these numbers have a certain amount of credibility. It looks like the U-3 is made up of 2.6 million, and the long-term unemployed is about 6.4 million.

You have probably heard the bluebird of hopeiness telling us that the unemployment rate, U-3, has fallen to 9.7%. Let's assume, in this case, that the government is telling us the truth.

OK, when you've cleaned your drink out of your keyboard, and gotten up off the floor, let's check a number. If 2.6 million unemployed represents 9.7 % of the workforce, then 6.4 million must represent, (pull out the calculator, fumble with buttons) 23.8%. A number that hasn't been seen since the great depression.

It is possible, of course, that the larger number in the chart above is, in fact, the U-6, which includes the regular unemployed in it, but that would suggest that the U-6 is about 14.7% and even the government doesn't claim that.

I think I know what all those climate scientists do to moonlight.

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