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The Real Unemployment Rate is 17%

U-6 Counts Everyone

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted October 2, 2009


unemployment line


You won't read any of this in the news today but the real unemployment rate is a staggering 17%.

That's the total number of workers—discouraged or otherwise—who are now without a job. It's otherwise known as the U-6.

Instead, the best you can hope for is to read about the official number (U-3) of 9.8%, which—while awful in and of itself—makes for much happier stories.

Here's one of them...if you can call it happy.

From Bloomberg by Bob Willis entitled: U.S. Economy: September job Losses Exceed Forecast

"U.S. job losses accelerated last month and the unemployment rate climbed to the highest level since 1983, stark reminders of how the worst financial crisis in more than seven decades may undermine consumer spending and economic growth in the months ahead.

Payrolls dropped by 263,000 in September, exceeding the median forecast in Bloomberg's survey, with losses extending from cash-strapped state and local governments to retailers to builders, today's report showed.

The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent in August, while working hours matched a record low.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg last month projected the jobless rate will reach 10 percent by late 2009 and average 9.7 percent for all of next year even as the economy expands at an average 2.6 percent pace in the second half of this year and 2.4 percent in 2010.

Fed chief Bernanke told lawmakers in Washington yesterday that he anticipated the jobless rate will hold above 9 percent though 2010.

September's losses bring total jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 to 7.2 million, the biggest decline since the Great Depression."


To read the full unemployment report including the U-6 figures click here


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