Posts Tagged ‘unemployment numbers’

 Before we begin, I would like to clarify the importance of the unemployment rate. Most economists (the nerds) will agree that it is a ‘lagging indicator’, meaning it reflects data in the past and does not accurately represent the current situation. Actually we will experience an improvement in the unemployment rate 3-6 months before that improvement is represented in the rate reported. That being said, why do I think the ‘real’ unemployment rate is closer to 20% than to the reported 10%?

1. Many jobs have been reduced to part-time or are less than 40 hours and are not accounted for in the rate.

 2. There are millions of discouraged workers who were banging the pavement and could not find work so they stopped looking.

3. There are still 4-6% of the work force that never has been able to keep a job and I see this number rising as desperation continues.

The danger we face is the number of ‘almost unemployed’. These are the families that are making less because of salary cuts, a cut in hours, or one member of the family is now unemployed. They are teetering on the ability to pay their obligations and one more layoff could force them into bankruptcy. This is a middle class problem that can tip the scales of the whole economy. We have bailed out all the big guys and have done nothing to help small businesses and families prosper. As I have stated in the past, if we do not get credit flowing again, this crisis will have a long, drawn-out recovery.


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