Unemployment Statistics

After reading that the March 2009 U-6 unemployment rate was 16.2 (seasonally adjusted was 15.6), I had to ask Sybil what U-6 meant. She told me, but–surprise, surprise–I realized I had more research to do.

Here’s a handy link to definitions by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the source of this:

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.

It’s nice to know the breakdown because few newspaper articles give the definition they used. For example, “Recession Outlasts Even Extended Jobless Benefits” gives the unemployment rate as 8.5 percent.

This fits with the Bureau of Labor Statistics listing for U-3, seasonally adjusted, for March 2009. They define U-3 as “Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor (official unemployment rate).”

How many of us have any experience with the art of statistics? Believe me, lying with statistics is an art. There are many books on the topic.

Check out Shadow Stats. I don’t have a subscription, but much of the info is available. For example, here’s a C-Span link: “John Williams, Shadowstats.com, on the Unemployment Rate.”

See. Things are even worse than they seem.

Have a nice day.



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