Does the Unemployment Rate Mask Today’s Job Market Hardship?

Earlier this month I posted links to two articles about the real unemployment numbers — as opposed to the deceptive numbers we keep hearing from the old media. I’d missed this from Peter Schiff when he posted it:

Here’s more on the topic from the NCPA:

For the past three months the unemployment rate has remained stuck between 7.5 percent and 7.6 percent. This is more than half the unemployment rate at the end of 2007, the last time the job market was at or near full employment. In other words, the recent unemployment rate is between 2.5 and 3.0 percentage points above the level we should expect at full employment, says Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Is the standard unemployment measure “masking” the true extent of hardship in the job market? It’s certainly telling us the job market is a long way from good health. The standard unemployment measure certainly misses some kinds of labor market hardship.

  • Since the end of 2007, the number of employed workers who work part-time but want full-time jobs has increased about 4.3 million, or more than 70 percent.
  • These part-time employees get counted as “employed” in the employment statistics and are missed in the standard unemployment numbers, so in a sense their hardship is missed by the unemployment rate.

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