NOV Fri, Dec 2: +178,000 jobs. Unemployment rate drops to 4.6%.NOV details here!.. Jobs since Obama took office?... Unemp. rate under Obama?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Alternate Unemployment Rate Increases: 18.3% in August 2011

Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate Has Increased to 18.3% in August  2011 from 18.1% in July 2011. 


The increase is due primarily to a 5% increase in the number of people working part-time who want full-time work.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 430,000 more people are working part-time who want full-time work in August 2011 over July 2011.

Therefore, Molly's seasonally-adjusted alternate unemployment rate is 18.3% for August 2011. It is up two-tenths (.2%) of a percent from the 18.1% of July 2011.
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 September jobs numbers will be released
Friday, October 7.  Check back then! 
Updated with August Numbers:
What was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office? (August update) 
How Many Jobs Has Obama Created or Lost? (August update).
 How Many Jobs Were Created or Lost in 2011? (August update) 
How Many Jobs Were Created or Lost in August 2011?
Private and Government Jobs Lost and Gained Through August 2011 
Seasonal Adjustments to Jobs Numbers: An Explanation 
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29,286,000, over 29 million people, are unemployed and want to work OR underemployed (working part-time and wanting full-time work). This is an increase of 384,000 people from the 28,902,000 who were unemployed and/or  underemployed in July.

The details of Molly's alternate unemployment rate continue after the jump!
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Men and Women in the Recession:  Who is winning?  Who has lost?  
America's Poor: Lazy? Irresponsible? Dependent? 
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In seasonally-adjusted numbers, 18.3% of the American labor force were either:
  • "Officially" unemployed,
  • Working part-time but wanting full-time work,
  • or "Wanting a job" 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.
(Unlike others who calculate alternate unemployment rates, I do not count people among the alternate unemployed unless they say that they "want to work" according to the BLS Current Population Survey. How can you count someone as unemployed if they don't want to work?)

Here's how the numbers for the Alternate Unemployment Rate break down for August 2011:

  • The number of those unemployed and actively looking for work:13,967,000 (vs. 13,931,000 in July)
  • The number of those working part-time who want full-time work:8,826,000 (vs. 8,396,000 in July)
  • The number of people who "want a job" but haven't looked recently:6,493,000 (vs. 6,575,000 in July)

The total number of unemployed or underemployed is 29,286,000 (an increase compared to 28,902,000 unemployed or underemployed in July).

The Alternate Work Force consists of the 153,594,000 people in the official BLS Civilian Labor Force plus the 6,493,000 people who "want a job" but haven't actively looked recently. That is a total of 160,087,000 people (compared to 159,803,000 in July.).

Therefore, Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate for August 2011 is 18.29 or 18.3%.  


Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate for August went up primarily due to an increase in the number of people working part-time jobs who want full-time jobs.  That number, now 8,826,000,  increased over 400,000 since July.  

Who Do You Count and Where Do You Find These Numbers?

In greater detail, Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate counts as the un/underemployed the following groups of people:

  1. All of those "officially" unemployed (actively looking) for work from the monthly BLS Employment Situation report.
  2. All of those "underemployed"; that is, those who are working part-time but who want and can't find full-time work according to Table A-8 of the same monthly Employment Situation Report.
  3. All of those who say that they "want a job" even if they have not actively looked for work in the past four weeks from the same monthly Employment Situation Report Table A-1. (This is a broader definition than the "discouraged workers" that BLS uses in calculating their U-6 number.)
The base workforce for Molly's Alternate Unemployment Rate includes the Civilian Labor Force (all of those employed, whether full or part time plus all of those actively looking for work) according to the BLS report plus the people who "want work" but have not actively looked in the past four weeks.

(As I wrote above, I do not include people who do not want a job; so if someone drops out of the labor force and tells the interviewers that they are no longer interested in obtaining a job (for whatever reason), they are not counted.)

Other comments on alternate unemployment and underemployment:

  • 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, August 2011, the underemployment rate is 6.3%, an increase from the 6.0% in June. This rate is the number of people working part-time who want full-time work as a percentage of all employed. 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.
  • As usual, we need to remember that the alternate unemployment 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 the past.

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