On The Margin: Total Unemployment - June 2013

by: Sold At The Top

Last week's Employment Situation report showed that in June, total unemployment -- including all marginally attached workers -- increased to 14.3%, while the traditionally reported unemployment rate went flat at 7.6%. 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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