The unemployment rate is a measuring stick with many problems, one of which is that it tends to shift our focus from a human tragedy to the measuring stick itself, as if we were discussing the level of water in a reservoir.
It is important to remember that we’re talking about people: almost 23 million Americans couldn’t find full-time work in April.
Americans Who Cannot Find Full-Time Work (in Millions)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The widely quoted “unemployment rate” of 8.1 percent reflects only the red portion of this chart, the 12.5 million people who did not work in April, and actively searched for new work. A broader “unemployment rate,” which carries the catchy name U6, includes all the people in this chart, and stands at 14.5 percent.
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