Jonathan Cohn

And Now, the Number of the Day

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Today we launch a new, hopefully daily feature at Citizen Cohn: The number of the day. And today's number is...  

 

 16.5

 

In early July, we heard that unemployment rose slightly, to 9.5 percent. But the true employment picture is even worse.

The number usually reported as “unemployment” only includes people actively seeking work. That leaves out people who are involuntarily working part-time and people who have grown discouraged and temporarily given up looking for a job.

If you count those people, as the Labor Department does in a measure called U-6, unemployment comes in at a whopping 16.5 percent. In other words, almost one out of every six Americans is working less than they desire. 

The graph below charts U-6 over the past decade and shows that despite falling slightly since October 2009, it's still near a record high.

U-6 Unemployment Over Time U-6 Unemployment Over Time

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