The Daily Beast
By Zachary Karabell
Sept 2, 1011
Another month, another sign that the job market remains unchangingly, distressingly stuck. The official unemployment rate according to just-released figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 9.1%, but that fails to capture the weakness of the overall employment picture. The headline number has been essentially unchanged since April – and indeed there has been almost no net job creation for the past year. Underneath that number, however, there is a more confusing – and troubling – picture.
The government employment report, however, aka the official jobs report, exposes other realities. That report shows not just 14 million unemployed, but a permanent underclass of underemployed, underpaid, and marginally attached workers. Four million of those 14 have been out of work for more than six months. An additional 2.6 million are “marginally attached” to the labor force, meaning they have looked for work, but not as assiduously as the statisticians have deemed necessary and hence aren’t statistically part of the work force. If part-time and discouraged workers are added in, the “real” unemployment rate skyrockets to more than 16 percent.