Thursday, July 16, 2009

Unemployment: Bad or Worse, Take Your Pick

We'd mentioned U-6, which is the broadest measure of unemployment. Its measure is far worse than the usually-mentioned U-3.

But there are even more scary numbers out there; I was reminded of this by a friend.

John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics specializes in removing these questionable tweaks to the government's statistical data to better align current numbers with the methodology used to gather historical data. After reviewing the data, Williams believes that "the June jobs loss likely exceeded 700,000."

...The more inclusive "U-6" measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers, jumped from 16.4% to 16.5%. But even this doesn't adequately capture the situation on the ground: Back in the Clinton Administration, the definition of discouraged worker was changed to only include those that had given up looking for work because there were no jobs to be had within the last year.

By adding these folks back in, William's SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure rose to a jaw-dropping 20.6%. Separately, the Center for Labor Market Studies in Boston puts U.S. unemployment at 18.2%.

The author also mentions the now-expiring UC benefits, which will (cough) 'depress' consumer spending.

Yup. It's time to raise taxes, alright. 'Cause THAT will help a lot.

1 comment:

J. Strupp said...

I agree. But at the state level, raising taxes to fill budget gaps is less harmful then spending cuts which will, no doubt, result in more job losses.

At the federal level, most tax increases aren't set to take effect for a few years (Bush's tax cut expiration and Obama's new income tax hikes). Hopefully, we are out of this mess by then. If not, we should delay these increases further.