Home > Anything Else, Man-Made Disasters > US: An Unprecedented Number of Americans — Nearly 26 Million — Are Either Unemployed or Underemployed

US: An Unprecedented Number of Americans — Nearly 26 Million — Are Either Unemployed or Underemployed


Change You Can Believe In

By Ben Baden – “While the number of unemployed workers has held steady at around 14 million in recent months, another telling measure of frustration in the labor market—the number of underemployed individuals—rose for a third consecutive month in September, by almost a half of a million people.

Almost 9.3 million Americans are considered underemployed, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as working part-time for economic reasons, such as unfavorable business conditions or seasonal declines in demand. That’s up from just over 8 million in July, but down from a peak of about 9.5 million in September 2010. In addition, about 2.5 million individuals are considered ‘marginally attached to the labor force,’ meaning they were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. (They are not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for a job in the past four weeks prior to the survey.)

Put together, almost 26 million Americans are either unemployed, marginally attached to the labor force, or involuntarily working part-time—a number experts say is unprecedented.

‘The labor force is substantially underutilized relative to what we experienced in most of the post-World War II period,’ says Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at accounting firm J.H. Cohn and former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor.” Read more.

US ‘Misery Index’ Rises to Highest Since 1983 – “An unofficial gauge of human misery in the United States rose last month to a 28-year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment. The misery index — which is simply the sum of the country’s inflation and unemployment rates — rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday. The data underscores the extent that Americans continue to suffer even two years after a deep recession ended, with a weak economic recovery imperiling President Barack Obama’s hopes of winning reelection next year.” Read more.

A Long, Steep Drop for Americans’ Standard of Living – “Think life is not as good as it used to be, at least in terms of your wallet? You’d be right about that. The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the US government began recording it five decades ago. Bottom line: The average individual now has $1,315 less in disposable income than he or she did three years ago at the onset of the Great Recession – even though the recession ended, technically speaking, in mid-2009. That means less money to spend at the spa or the movies, less for vacations, new carpeting for the house, or dinner at a restaurant.” Read more.

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