Hidden Unemployment — The U-6 Unemployment Rate

People throw around a lot of different unemployment rates and numbers, and it can get confusing sorting them out.

In the U.S., the basic unemployment rate is defined as people age 15 and over actively looking for work, but not actually working for pay.

However, these aren’t the only people to be concerned about in labor force. Some people may have looked unsuccessfully for work that they’ve simply given up and no longer even bother to look. Others may be working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs. These people aren’t “unemployed”, but they’re still a indicator of problems in the economy.

These people are sometimes called the “hidden unemployed”. Labor economists sometimes add the numbers of these people together to calculate what they less creatively call the U-6 Unemployment Rate. In any case, it’s important to consider these hidden unemployed, though equally important not to confuse these numbers with the real unemployment rate.

Here’s a graph of the U-6 Unemployment Rate from 1994 to the present, courtesy of PortalSeven:

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