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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alternate Unemployment Rate Increases: 18.2% June 2011

The Alternate Unemployment Rate Has Gone Up to 18.2% in June 2011 from 17.9% in May 2011.

The seasonally-adjusted alternate rate is 18.2% for June 2011.  This is three-tenths (.3%) of a percent higher than the 17.9% that it was in May 2011.  In seasonally-adjusted numbers, 18.2% of the American labor force were either "officially" unemployed, working part-time but wanting full-time work, or "wanted work" but hadn't looked in the past four weeks for some reason such as being discouraged or convinced that there was no work for them.  (I do not count people among the alternate unemployed unless they say that they "want to work" according to the BLS Current Population Survey.) 

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Just published:
 What was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office? (Update for August) 
How Many Jobs Has Obama Created or Lost? (August update).
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Who are the "underemployed"?  What is the "underemployment rate"?

See below the jump for the explanations of all of this.

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Other Articles on Unemployment:
  • Other articles you may wish to check out:

The Ultimate List of What the GOP Fights For
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The "official" underemployment population consists of those people who are working part-time but want full-time work.  These are the only "underemployed" people tracked and counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, people working at jobs below their skill level might are also considered "underemployed"; unfortunately, there are no national statistics on those workers.      

For this month, June 2011, the underemployment rate is 6.1%.  That is, the number of people working part-time who want full-time work as a percentage of all employed is 6.1%.  We could divide the 8,552,000 who want full-time work by the total civilian labor force of 153,421,000, and that's about 5.5%.  Some writers use the term "underemployment" to include those who are unemployed as well, but I use it only for those working part-time who want full-time work.

Here's how the numbers for the alternate unemployment rate break down for June 2011:
  • 14,087,000 officially unemployed in June 2011 (vs. 13,914,000 in May)
  • 8,552,000 working part-time but wanting full-time work (vs. 8,548,000 in May)
  • 6,537,000 who "want work" but haven't actively looked in the past 4 weeks (vs. 6,227,000 in May).
That adds up to 29,176,000 who are the "alternate" number of unemployed for June 2011 (vs. 28,689,000 in May) .

29,176,000 out of 159,958,000 alternate total labor force gives us the alternate unemployment rate of 18.2%


500,000 More People unemployed or underemployed in June vs. May 2011.

The seasonally-adjusted number of people who are "officially" unemployed went up about 170,000 from May to June.  The number of people working part-time who wanted full-time work was unchanged.  But the biggest increase in the alternate unemployment numbers came from an increase in people who have expressed a desire to work but haven't done anything specific about finding work in the past four weeks; that is, the number of people who have said that they "want work".   There isn't any additional information about this group of people and why they want work but haven't looked recently.  It may include people who:
  • Were previously looking, stopped for some reason, and are now again considering looking for work.  Perhaps they perceived that the job market had improved in April or May, so they started looking in June.  
  • Are recent graduates who have not yet started their search for work.
  • Are students who want summer work but haven't actively looked for such work. 

Some of these people may actively enter the work force next month.


As usual, we need to remember that this number doesn't include people working temporary jobs, people who are working micro-businesses that may not make much money, nor does it include people who have returned to work for wages much less than what they received in their previous jobs.

Other comments on the unemployment situation:
  • This is the third month in a row that the number of unemployed has gone up.   
  • The number of people working part-time but wanting full-time work dropped from April to May, but has been unchanged from May to June.
  • The number of people who "wanted work" dropped quite a bit from April to May; about the increase in the number of people who were actively looking for work (the official unemployed); but that number has gone up quite a bit from May to June.
  • The size of the alternate work force (those employed, those actively looking, and those who "want work") is basically unchanged for the last three months.
Let's see what happens next month!

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