Monday, August 04, 2003

You know how every month you see the unemployment rate, and there are a bunch of articles in the news how things are actually better or worse because of certain people not counted? Ever wished someone would tell you the real unemployment rate and be done with it?

Here's Wampum's original May post - as always, the quote is a link to the whole, which also has active links that don't show up in my quote.

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April unemployment figures. The rate, which had decreased from its high of 6.0% in December to 5.7% in January, due to a shell game "change in statistical calculations", crept up to 5.8 in March, and returned to 6.0% in April.

But a number of questions have been raised recently on exactly what does the "official" rate mean, and is it indicative of the actual employment picture in the US economy. Last weekend, the New York Times focused on the influence of long-term joblessness on the numbers, as these workers have been purged from the calculations in increasing numbers in the past few months. Yesterday, See the Forest asked what factors are included and does the BLS provide a number which includes such factors as discouraged workers, part-time due to economic factors, etc.

Well, the answer turns out to be yes and no. Or, I should say, the BLS provides that information, but only in "raw" numbers, i.e., not seasonally adjusted. It claims that somehow the information it needs to calculate the "real" unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, is "not available".

Funny, with a little digging, I was able to do it. By using archived reports, I was able to find those counted as unemployed, those not in the labor force but desiring employment, and those employed part time for economic reasons, e.g., no available full time jobs.

He also has a monthly graph of the real unemployment rate.

Here's his August first update, as a chaser for those little unemployment graphs you saw in the paper.

And here's incentive for me to update my sidebar.

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