Nearly a quarter of the potential workforce unemployed

Is the Real Unemployment Rate 22.6%?


But if all discouraged workers are included, the 8.6% figure rises. Including “marginally attached workers” – those who are discouraged – was 15.6% in November, according to government data. John Williams, a statistician and economist, says the real unemployment figure including all discouraged workers who stopped looking for work is closer to a staggering 22.6% — nearly a quarter of the potential workforce. Since 1994, the government data defines discouraged workers as those who have been looking for work within the last year. Williams includes all discouraged workers. “I know plenty of people who have been discouraged for more than a year,” he says.


The employment rate – those with jobs as a percentage of the population – gives a more accurate picture, says Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn consultants in Roseland, N.J. It was 58.5% in November,

Comment: I know half a dozen who basically have given up

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