Weekly Jobless Report
According to this mornings weekly employment report from the Department of Labor, jobless claims continued to rise week-over-week, to 898,000. This is the highest reported level since August 22nd.. According to the AP: "the job market remans fragile, and it coincides with other recent data that have signaled a slowdown in hiring. The economy is still roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering all the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring."
Here are the actual compared to expected numbers:
Real Versus Actual Unemployment Numbers May Differ Starkly
To add to this, the actual number of the unemployed may be much higher. According to research by LISEP, the actual number of unemployed may be close to 26%. The number is arrived at by including people who are outside of the standard definition of unemployed, which is: "to be officially counted as unemployed you need to be earning no money at all, and you need to be actively looking for work." There are a number of workers who are still actively looking for work, or available for work but given up on an active search, who do not get counted. Including those waiting to be called back from furlough, and part-timers who want full-time work (all those new Shipt workers, for example), and the number gets higher quickly.
A more conservative estimate, from the Economic Policy Institute, puts the number at 21.5 million, but estimates total harm to be close to 33million, according to Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and former chief economist at the Department of Labor.
Why This Matters
Even though 7.9% unemployment is high, it “totally understates the amount of damage and pain in the labor market,” Shierholz said. “If you’re trying to set macroeconomic policy — how much relief do we need? What kind of recovery are we facing? Where do we need to step in? — it’s really important to know how bad it is.”
The reported number of unemployment needs to be closer to reality, in other words, for the nation's leaders (both in government as well as in the private sector) to begin to make sober long-term plans to move the country out of this bog we seem to be stuck in.
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