True Unemployment Is Much Higher Than You Think

When the pandemic hit and so many businesses folded, or laid off or furloughed their employees, the BLS unemployment statistic more than tripled, jumping from 4.4% to 14.7%. LISEP’s ( Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity) True Unemployment Rate also went up significantly, by almost 9 points, from 23.8% to 32.4%.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

On October 2, 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its latest employment report and it wasn’t good news. Unemployment, BLS said, stood at 7.9%. It marked the fifth straight month that unemployment dropped, after the enormous jump from 4.4% in March (itself a significant increase over February’s 3.5%) to 14.7% in April.

But the September decline was only 0.5% and still left the United States well above February’s level when the labor market was extremely healthy. Or was it?

Most of what we hear about the economy, from journalists, politicians, economists, and pundits, is that we need to get back to where we were before COVID hit. But mid-way through October, that seems an unlikely prospect.

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