How to determine the real unemployment rate in the United States
When the government releases its “official” figures on the unemployment rate, you should understand that those numbers are always wrong. They intentionally omit a large number of people from their statistics. If a person has been unemployed a long time, he or she may become depressed and be less diligent about seeking employment. She may give up looking altogether. In any case, if she is not actively engaged in seeking employment through the state-run employment agency, she disappears from the ranks of the unemployed.
Anyone who works four hours a week for minimum wage is classified as employed. Anyone who is not registered with the state as actively seeking work is not classified as unemployed. The government has offered various explanations as to why it calculates the numbers this way. They say they need accurate, verifiable numbers, and they cannot use data about people who have stopped looking for work or those who are underemployed because that data might be inaccurate. The real reason they do their calculations the way they do is to intentionally understate unemployment figures. They want things to look better than they are.
The unemployment figures from the government indicate unemployment is between 9% and 10%, and has not improved significantly for a long time. The true figure is upwards of 15%. If those who are seriously underemployed, for example a mid-level marketing executive who is currently working as a greeter at Wal-Mart, are included, more than 17% of our potential working population is in trouble. For those who have jobs, many of them are very insecure about being able to keep that job, and the resulting low morale causes a lot of problems in the workplace.
People who cannot find work have trouble meeting their obligations, for obvious reasons. Houses go into foreclosure, which benefits nobody. Tax revenues are lower, which causes problems at all levels of government. People without jobs do not buy much and businesses suffer from lower sales. Unemployment is the number one economic problem in this nation, and intentionally understating the figures masks the problem but does not solve it.
Corporations have sent millions of jobs overseas. By doing so, they have reduced expenses (many companies view employees exclusively as an expense rather than an asset) and thus improved their bottom line. That has been very beneficial for corporate executives but for the nation as a whole, it has been devastating. We also have between 10 million and 14 million (depending on who you ask) illegal workers in this country. They send a lot of the money they make back to their home country, which is a further drain on our economy.
The lack of jobs that pay a living wage is our number one economic problem. Fudging the numbers to make it seem better than it really is benefits nobody.