Charts of the Day: U.S. Unemployment above 10%, Underemployment near 20%
With the jobs numbers coming out tomorrow, it bears noting that the official U.S. data have been marred by low labour participation rates. The reality is that while the jobs picture is improved, many of the long-time unemployed have dropped out of the labour force and are not being counted as unemployed as a result. This has led to the unemployment rate declining at a rate which is not consistent with the fundamental picture in the labour market.
The data from polling firm Gallup do not have this problem. Below is their chart of the unemployment rate for 2010-2011.
Regarding underemployment, Gallup says:
The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work worsened considerably in February, increasing to 9.6% of the workforce from 9.1% at the end of January. A larger percentage of the U.S. workforce is working part time and wanting full-time work now than was the case a year ago (9.3%).
Underemployment Surges in February
Underemployment, a measure that combines part-time workers wanting full-time work with those who are unemployed, surged in February to 19.9%. This resulted from the combination of a sharp 0.5-point increase since the end of January in the percentage unemployed and a 0.5-point increase in the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work. Underemployment is now higher than it was at this point a year ago (19.7%).