Real Unemployment = 30.5%? What is the Real Misery Index?

The Working Class Studies Association has just crunched some numbers that shed light on why we feel so . . . well, depressed about the economy.  Maybe if we saw THESE figures, we’d have a different idea that it might not be our own personal failing.  http://cwcs.ysu.edu/resources/cwcs-projects/defacto

De-facto Unemployment Rate

Month 12/07 12/08 4/09 8/09 12/09 4/10 8/10
Unemployed*

7.6

(4.9%)

11.1

7.2%

13.7

(8.9%)

14.9

(9.7%)

15.4

(10.0%)

15.3

(9.9%)

14.9

(9.6%)

Marginally

Attached

1.35

(.8%)

1.3

(1.2%)

2.1

(1.3%)

2.3

(1.5%)

2.3

(1.5%)

2.4

(1.5%)

2.4

(1.5%)

Discouraged

.279

(.02%)

.642

(.04%)

.740

(.05%)

.758

(.04%)

.861

(.05%)

1.17

(.07%)

1.1

(.07%)

Underemployed

4.75

(3.1%)

8.8

(5.2%)

8.9

(5.75%)

9.1

(5.8%)

9.2

(6.0%)

9.15

(6.0%)

8.9

(5.8%)

Excess disability** Est.

(6.0%)

Est.

(6.0%)

Est.

(6%)

Est.

(6%)

Est.

(6%)

Est.

(6%)

Est.

(6%)

Government Programs** Est.

(4.0%)

Est.

(4.0%)

Est.

(4%)

Est.

(4%)

Est.

(4%)

Est.

(4%)

Est.

(4%)

Subtotal

18.52% 23.64% 26% 27.84% 28.35 27.74 (26.9%)
Prison Population

2.300

(1.49%)

2.300

(1.48%)

2.300

(1.48%)

2.3

(1.48%)

2.3

(1.5%)

2.3

(1.48 %)

2.3

(1.49%)

Military

Population (active)

2.0

(1.3%)

2.0

(1.35)

2.0

(1.3%)

2.0

(1.3%)

Total

20.01% 25.12% 27.48% 30.6% 31.2% (30.52) (30.5)
HuffPost Real Misery Index** 29.6

May 2009

29.9

June 2009

32.2

August 2009

33.1

April 2010

24.0
* Numbers in Millions.
**Huffington Post has developed a Real Misery Index that adds to the official unemployment rate, the number of people losing homes, losing health care, going bankrupt, and defaulting on credit card payments.  (Real Misery Index, September 2010)

See also  The Geography of the Recession since 2007 by LaToya Egwuekwe

Last Decade:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of nonfarm private-sector jobs as of October 1999 was 109,487,000. The total number of nonfarm private-sector jobs as of April 2010 was 107,590,000.  This is net loss of 1,897,000 over the last decade.  During the same decade, the US population grew by over 34,573,000.

Definitions:

Officially Unemployed– Persons who worked less than one hour during the nationally determined reference period (one week), looked for during this period, and were available for work during this period.

Latent Job Candidates

Marginally attached workers – Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for work and who have looked for a job sometime in prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Discouraged workers – Persons not is labor force who want are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months)

Underemployed –Persons who would like to work full-time but are not able to do so for economic reasons such as unavailability of full-time work or reduced demand for hours by current employer

Excess disability – Persons who are excluded from labor force because of sick leave or early retirement

Government Programs – Persons receiving government subsidized or government provided programs. For example, low wage workers receiving Earned Income Tax Credits

Prison and Jail Populations – Persons not in labor force because of incarceration.

Other Issues

These estimates may be low given what has happened in the economy and the lack of current data other than that of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, individuals going to colleges and universities have increased dramatically during the current recession/regional depression but are not counted as part of labor market. Also, military and prison/jail estimates are total numbers as there are vast differences in opinion over what constitutes a standing army or expected number of inmates. For our purposes, the use of the total number of service men and inmates represents individuals not in the labor market.

New News: There are large numbers of people that have unexpectedly filed for Social Security before they have reached early retirement.  Most have given up looking for work and are not counted as part of the unemployed.  See. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/08/AR2010080802591.html

For more information about the de-facto unemployment rate, contact John Russo at the Center of Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University at jbrusso@ysu.edu.

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