Michael on December 7th, 2009
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Last week I read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal called Working Two Jobs and Still Underemployed. The piece highlights a growing disconnect between government-provided labor statistics and the reality on the street.

You: How so?

It starts with the fact that if you’re working you’re not considered unemployed.

You: That makes sense.

Technically.

You: But?

But what if Bob’s previous job was running a division of a multi-national corporation and, after Bob got laid off, the best new job he can get is as a part-time bookkeeper?

You: Bob’s probably a pretty ticked-off bookkeeper.

Indeed, and likely overqualified.

You: I can see that. Plus, his salary is probably way down.

Not to mention his hours.  Nonetheless, the unemployment rate considers Bob employed as if he were still working at his old job making his old money working his old hours.

You: That’s somewhat misleading.

Yes it is.  Currently, the unemployment rate is 10%, quite high by historical standards.  But when you figure in under-employment, the rate is more than 70% higher, or 17.2%.

One of the more brilliant (and tragically humorous) summaries of this phenomenon if the video below from Mint.com.  It’s about two minutes long.  Enjoy.

What do you think . . . now?

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