Job Stats: Too Good to be True
Marc Breslow & Jesse Hahnel
If you believe the Clinton administration, unemployment has practically disappeared as a problem. But while the official rate is now around 4.6% (still well above what we used to think of as full employment), this figure omits millions of people who want full-time jobs but can't find them. If all these people were included, the rate would rise to 10.3%--presenting a far more dismal picture of job prospects in the United States. The two main categories omitted from the unemployment statistics are: everyone who wants a job but has not looked for one during the past month, due to discouragement or other difficulties, and everyone who has a part-time job but wants full-time work. In addition, the U.S. prison population is now over 1.7 million ... Inclusion of prisoners would add another 1.2 percentage points to the unemployment figure, raising it to 11.5%.
©1998 Dollars & Sense Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Subscriptions to Dollars & Sense Magazine are $1895 from 1 Summer St., Somerville, MA 02143. (617)628-8411.
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