Ethics & Public Policy Center

The Jobs Report Reveals the True American Carnage

Published in The Washington Post on May 8, 2020

Friday’s unemployment numbers are horrific enough. A deeper dive into the data, though, shows that it’s even worse than the headline unemployment rate suggests.

At 14.7 percent, the headline rate, which is based on the number of people who are out of work and looking for a job, is already the highest in the history of government unemployment statistics. But millions of people who aren’t working and realize that it’s useless to try to find a job during the pandemic are not counted in that number. Adding these people who are “marginally attached to the labor force” into the equation would produce a much higher rate.

And that’s not all. The 14.7 percent figure — officially, the “U-3” rate — also does not include people who are working only part time for economic reasons. That number soared by more than 5 million people in April. A separate unemployment number, the U-6, includes the marginally attached and those working part time for economic reasons as well as the officially unemployed. That rate is a mind-boggling 22.8 percent.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.


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