Summary of U.S. Real Unemployment – June 2012

July 6, 2012 in Homepage, Recent News by Joyce Sheppard

The Summary of U.S. Real Unemployment includes everything that BLS leaves out.  It also identifies the ‘Real Jobs Gap’ which needs to be closed in order to be at 5% full employment in real terms; official job openings; and official average weeks unemployed.  As of June 30:

  • The number of Real Unemployed Workers, in all categories, increased by 463,000 workers.  By contrast, the economy must add, in real terms, at least 125,000-150,000 new non-farm jobs each month simply to keep up with new entrants into the labor force. 
  • The total number of Real Unemployed Workers now stands at 28.1 million, which is well more than twice BLS’s official total unemployed figure of 12.7 million.  Total Real Unemployment has increased by 11.5 million workers since the start of the Recession in December 2007 and by 3.6 million since the Inauguration.
  • The Real Unemployment Rate was 17.3%, which is more than twice BLS’s official rate of 8.2%.  (May’s Real Unemployment Rate was 17.1%.)

According to the BLS, the number of workers unemployed a half year or longer is 5.4 million.  In real terms, an estimated 8.4 million workers (around 30% of the overall Real Unemployed) have probably now been out of full-time work for more than a year. 

It needs to be that the official BLS unemployment figures count only those who say they are looking for work, and therefore always significantly understates Real Unemployment.  It Does not take into account the 15.4 million workers who are currently either:

  • Part-time-of-necessity, the so-called “underemployed” who are unable to find full-time jobs or whose hours have been cut back, who usually earn at the very low end of the wage scale with no benefits (now 8.2 mm workers);
  • Marginally attached to the labor force because while wanting a job, they’ve not searched for one in the past four weeks because of lack of availability, skills or personal reasons (now 2.5 mm workers); or
  • Discouraged and have removed themselves from the labor force (now 4.7 mm workers).  This single category – which has increased in number by 1.6 million since the Recession began in December 2007 and by 1.4 million since the Inauguration – is one of the better measures of the true employment health (or, in a recovery, non-health) of the economy.



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