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Today's Employment Situation report showed that in April total unemployment -- including all marginally attached workers -- increased slightly to 13.9%, while the traditionally reported unemployment rate declined to 7.5%. 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). That leaves 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.

Source: On The Margin: Total Unemployment - April 2013