Published — September 10, 2008 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

A comprehensive look at unemployment figures


Revelations that the nation’s unemployment rate reached its highest level in five years in August helped make the economy issue No. 1 on the campaign trail this week. But the situation is actually worse than the media or candidates would have you believe.

The monthly unemployment rate reported last Friday rose from 5.7 percent to 6.1 percent last month, the eighth successive monthly increase in job losses, accounting for 84,000 lost jobs in the one-month period and 605,000 lost jobs for the year.

However, those figures do not include people who have simply given up. Known in the jargon as “discouraged workers,” these people “have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job,” in the words of the Department of Labor. In other words, they stopped looking for work because they couldn’t find any.

Those discouraged workers are a subset of a broader category: “marginally attached workers.” The definition is pretty technical; they are “persons 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.” Basically, they are people who want a job, but are not looking for work right now.

Right now, the official unemployment rate is 6.1 percent. Including discouraged and marginally attached workers, that number rises to 7 percent. But there’s also another group to consider: people who are working “part time for economic reasons.” That is, people who would like to be working more than they are, but can’t find more work. With those people included in the tally, the rate goes up to 10.7 percent. This time last year, that number stood at 8.4 percent.

Thus, politicians, and the reporters who question them, might want to expand their scope beyond just the people who are looking for work to the people who have given up and the people who are working part time and desperately seeking full employment. A comprehensive solution to economic problems may require a more comprehensive sense of the problem.

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install itunes on windows 7Bob FrankstonLinda GordonET69Jello Beyonce Recent comment authors
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sam fetters
sam fetters

What do AT&T, Verizon and Crown Castle International Corp have in common? The largest institutional shareholders of each includes firms like: Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street (the “Big Three”), Invesco, Fidelity (FMR), JP Morgan, Wellington Management, Geode, T Rowe Price, Bank of America, and other of the largest money-management and investment firms, whom operate collaboratively (even comprising the largest shareholders of each other), forming virtual monopolies amongst the largest “competing” corporations, in most every single industry, via large share holdings. (source = These are the same firms whom also largely own the third largest telecom, T-Mobile. The own the largest… Read more »

Jello Beyonce
Jello Beyonce

I’ve a theory that the supposed “Trade Wars” and “sanctions” and political/military strife going on between the U.S., China, Russia, etc. are merely distractions, serving to divert attention away from the growing authoritarianism and Oligarchic control spreading across the globe. “Nationalism” is being used as a propagandist covert means of continued increasing Globalism. As this article states: “A Russian woman stood up to speak at one of these public meetings, and she said that when she lived in Russia, the government slam dunked her and she had no say,” King said. “Now she lives in the United States of America,… Read more »


Marx was right about capitalism . Capital gets more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. There is no way out of this greed. We need socialism!

Linda Gordon
Linda Gordon

5g is a kill grid. The depployment of this weapon is an act of terroism genocide and ecocide. The marketers need to be jailed as terrorists.

Bob Frankston

The real issue with 5G is that it’s an attempt to roll back the Internet and return to the telecom of the 1970s when the phone company controlled all.

install itunes on windows 7

I have read the post and it is really helpful as I have got to know about the 5G wireless cities which are accepting the technology and other cities which are rejecting it.