Is the Real Unemployment Rate Higher?

Christina Lewellen
July 10, 2013
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

Last week, as many of us were enjoying the Fourth of July festivities, the business-minded folks were digesting the news that the government's latest jobs report featured a decent, worthy-of-discussion uptick in June. As we continue to rebound and level out from the extended economic downturn, it's nice to have some additional optimism poured into the system that has affected so many of our friends and neighbors (and perhaps even ourselves at some point along the way).

In response, a blog, however, points out that the news may not be as rosy as the jobs report lets on. Contributor Dan Diamond points out that those who are underemployed are not reflected in the most common gauge of the health of our job market. "The 'official' unemployment rate doesn’t count men and women like G. — discouraged workers who have settled for part-time jobs or have given up looking altogether," he writes. "Tracking those individuals, under what’s called the 'U-6' rate, gives a very different measure of the nation’s unemployment rate: 14.3 percent."

This week, I'd like to hear about what you're seeing in your local markets. Even if the unemployment rate is holding steady or getting better, do you get the sense that underemployment is high in your region? Are your employees, or even friends and acquaintances, suffering under the hardship of fewer hours or reduced pay and/or benefits? Have you had to cut back your employees' hours (or had yours cut back) for the benefit of the health of the company? Send me an email or post a comment below to share your thoughts.

Survey Results for 07/10/2013 :


Does your local market suffer from high underemployment?











Not sure





The employment picture might be getting better, but window and door executives suggest there's much progress to be made still.  More than two-thirds of respondents to last week's poll reported seeing high underemployment in their local market.  

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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This is a very good analysis of the real unemployment rate. Consider that as the "Unemployment Rate", which is hovering around 7.6% shows any improvement, the people in the U-6 rate who have stopped looking or who are underemployed will begin actively looking. The impact will be that the highly published unemployment rate will not drop.

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