Ilargi: VK, roving reporter for The Automatic Earth, has been playing with the numbers from the January 7 employment report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It seems valuable to look at unemployment from this, a different, angle. Some of it may even surprise you.
The total non institutional civilian labor force (Americans 16 years and older who are not in a institution -criminal, mental, or other types of facilities- or an active military duty) is reported as 238.889 million. Of these, we see:
- Employed: 139.206 million people (58.3% of labor force)
- Unemployed: 14.485 million people (6.1% of labor force)
Obviously, that can't be the total picture, we're only at 64.4%. This is why:
- Part time employed for economic reasons: 8.931 million people. This concerns people who want a full-time job but can't get one.
- Part time employed for non-economic reasons: 18.184 million people. Non-economic reasons include school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, but also childcare problems and family or personal obligations.
The BLS definition states: "Not in the labor force (NILF). A person who did not work last week, was not temporarily absent from a job, did not actively look for work in the previous 4 weeks, or looked but was unavailable for work during the reference week; in other words, a person who was neither employed nor unemployed." (Clearly, this does include lot of unemployed people).
To summarize: 108.616 million people in America are either unemployed, underemployed or "Not in the labor force". This represents 45.5% of working age Americans.
If you count the "Part time employed for non-economic reasons", you get 126.8 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, working part time or "Not in the labor force". That represents 53% of working age Americans.
So only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs. While the official unemployment rate is 9.4%. Something's missing somewhere.
A few more factoids on the topic:
- Today, the long term unemployed make up 42% of total unemployed. That is to say, of course, those who are actually counted as unemployed instead of "Not in the labor force".
- 43.2 million Americans receive foodstamps. That's 18.1% of all working age Americans. If they all have on average 1.5 dependents, which is probably a reasonable estimate, a full one third of the US population receives at least part of their food through this syste