Is the ‘real’ unemployment rate stuck?

at 04:03 PM ET, 02/01/2012

Back in December, the Financial Times’s Ed Luce estimated that “if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.” Perhaps, many of us wrote at the time, that should be considered the “real” unemployment rate.

Today, Cardiff Garcia notes an unsettling chart from Nomura that compares the unemployment rate we have, where people can drop out of the labor force and thus out of the numbers, to this “real” unemployment rate, where discouraged workers aren’t dropped from the rolls. Worryingly, it’s barely moved:

“What is striking about the broken line above isn’t where it now ends — at 10.3 per cent — but rather the lack of any meaningful, sustained improvement for more than two years,” comments Garcia. “This alternative measure has remained above 10 percent since September 2009, and aside from a bit of skittishness (some of which is down to uncaptured seasonality) has mostly just moved sideways.”

 
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