Tuesday, September 14


Susie's back:

It's hard to believe that journalists and even economists keep citing the "low" unemployment rate:

In August alone 150,000 workers left the labor force. They no longer tell surveyors that they are seeking work. They have given up the job hunt to help out at home, take classes or simply wait until a job hunt is more likely to produce results. When Bush took office, the labor force participation rate – which measures the fraction of the civilian population over 16 that is either working or looking for work – was 67.2 percent. Today that percentage has dropped to 66.0 percent. If the same share of the population had remained in the work force it would be 2.7 million workers larger than it is today. That would push the unemployment rate up to 7.1 percent.

In addition, the unemployment rate does not count all the people who are forced into part-time work because of the weakness in the labor market. In our increasingly agile labor market, many people are choosing to work part-time to balance their competing needs. But the number of people who, when surveyed, said they are working part-time only because they could not find full-time jobs has increased by 35 percent since Bush took office, the largest increase for any President on record. If we were to count these 4.5 million involuntary part-time workers as 'part-unemployed' the overall unemployment rate would increase further.


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