Often when my friends and I talk about issues of unemployment a question comes up. How do we know if this number that we read in the paper is including everyone?
What about your friend who hasn’t had a job in two years and has just stopped looking?
What about people who work temp jobs, so they sort of have a job, but not really?
What about people who got a job at the mall during the SUPER SUMMER SALE, but then got let go?
I found a table to answer those questions.
There is a table in the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. It’s table A12. It is the Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization. (H/T to Jonathan Tasini of Working Life, I was actually going to work this number out the old fashioned way with pencil and paper, but you saved me time.)
16.5% is the number of unemployed nationally if you take into the account all of things that we all wonder about in regards to true unemployment:
This is the table that takes all of the people we have questions about into account and gives a more real picture of what it actually looks like out there in the job market.
If your dad was working part time at the mall, would you say your dad had a job. I’m going to say no. You would probably says, “My dad kind of a has a job.” But that’s not going to be the kind of job that is going to prevent you andyour family from living in a van down by the river. A job to me and to most Americans is a job where you can at least do the basics: pay rent, keep the electricity on and eat.
For California if you take the Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization chart into account we’re not number six in regards to unemployment, we are number two. Michigan is number one.
Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization Unemployment Rate second quarter 2008 through first quarter of 2009 averages
The above is looking at section U6 of the A12 Table.
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.
For the people who do have jobs the situations doesn’t look that much better. In the United States only 25.2 percent of American workers has a job that pays at least $16 an hour and includes employer-paid health insurance and a pension plan. Source Center for Economic and Policy Research.
I obviously have no solutions. I am not an economist. I’m not an accountant. But I think everyone deserves to know what is going on and how to find out what is going on.