Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent – highest since April

Unemployment, as traditionally reported, climbed upwards to 9.8 percent in November. Total unemployment remained at 17 percent.

SoldAtTheTop / The Paper Economy
Traditionally-reported unemployment (red line) rose to 9.8 percent in November. Total employment (blue line), which includes under-employed workers, part-time workers, and those who have given up the job search, remained at 17.0 percent.

Today’s Employment Situation report showed that in November “total unemployment” including all marginally attached workers went flat at 17% while the traditionally reported unemployment rate inched up to 9.8%.

The traditional unemployment rate is calculated from the monthly household survey results using a fairly explicit definition of “unemployed” (essentially unemployed and currently looking for full time employment) leaving many workers to be considered effectively “on the margin” either employed in part time work when full time is preferred or simply unemployed and no longer looking for work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers “marginally attached” workers (including discouraged workers) and persons who have settled for part time employment to be “underutilized” labor.

The broadest view of unemployment would include both traditionally unemployed workers and all other underutilized workers.

To calculate the “total” rate of unemployment we would simply use this larger group rather than the smaller and more restrictive “unemployed” group used in the traditional unemployment rate calculation.

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