Thursday, January 2, 2014

Missing Workers And The Unemployment Rate

According to the Economic Policy Institute, I am a "missing worker". What is a missing worker? It is someone who is not only unemployed, but who, if jobs were readily available, would be actively seeking work. A missing worker has given up looking, and thus is not counted in the official unemployment rate.

Many Americans... I am one... have utterly given up looking for work. In my case, it didn't take long for me to realize that no company wants, in this economy, to hire an IT professional near or at retirement age. As long as demand is low (read, e.g., Krugman), they simply don't need so many workers that they would engage people as expensive to employ as the elderly inevitably are, no matter how good they may be at their trade or profession.

EPI seeks to remedy the omission of people like me from the official unemployment rate by adding a "missing workers" estimate. For details of how they do this, please follow the link above. As of their most recent update, Dec. 6, 2013, the official unemployment rate was 7.0% (in some states, considerably worse)... unless one accounts for missing workers; then the effective unemployment rate becomes 10.3% (and one presumes commensurately higher in high-unemployment states). On average, one in every 10 unemployed Americans is either looking for work or has given up looking because s/he cannot find a job.

I'm sorry, President Obama... that's not good enough. How about making it a priority? I mean, a real priority, not just an item in a speech?

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