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The True Unemployment

Unfortunately, the level of the Dow Jones gets much more press than the millions who are unemployed or taking low paying jobs just to get by.  We continue to see waves of job losses even as the US economy is given repeated shots of adrenaline to revive it from the dead.  I think the obvious question is: besides overdosing on debt, where did the United States go wrong?   What kind of country will we have if our unemployment stays in the stratosphere?

The percentage of people getting by on food stamps has hit an all-time high Source: SNAP

The percentage of people getting by on food stamps has hit an all-time high Source: SNAP

If 12% of the US population require food stamps to survive, then there must be a missing link in the employment equation.  We have all heard that our country has “progressed” by moving away from manufacturing and towards more intellectual endeavors such as finance, consulting, education, and research.  We have focused our country on the value of intellectual property rather than compete in industrial endeavors that could easily be outsourced to China or India at lower costs.

A deeper employment decline with little capitulation

A deeper employment decline with little capitulation

The economy has laid off over 5% of the labor force since the beginning of the recession over 22 months ago.  Previous recession rebounded much more quickly and looking at the chart it seems that this is a rising trend in our employment cycle.

The publicized unemployment is currently 10.2%(U-3), but total unemployment is 17.5% (U-6)

The publicized unemployment is currently 10.2%(U-3), but total unemployment is 17.5% (U-6)

The bureau of labor statistics releases the U-3 statistic as the “official” unemployed percentage, but in reality the U-6 statistic provides a better look at the actual employment outlook.  Unfortunately, the BLS does not provide data on U-6 before 1994.  I think if they did, it would look very similar to the upward sloping percentage of  U.S. Citizens depending on food stamps to survive.


 

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  1. Angela says

    Hi Surly Trader,

    What a sad state of affairs.
    We know the high levels on the indices is government bailout money and its been handed to banks to give to the city boys to get stock higher. At least some savvy investors are not falling for the trick, but the ones that are will be broke and on the breadline, and be part of adding to those numbers on food stamps.

    Ang (UK)



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