The Real Unemployment Rate: 21.5%

by | Jul 2, 2010 | Headline News | 31 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    If you’re only paying attention to President Obama, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the mainstream media, you’d think that the employment situation in America was getting much better.

    The BLS reports that the unemployment rate dropped from 9.7% in May to just 9.5% in June. The recovery is well under way if you’re simply looking at headlines.

    The fine print, however, tells a different story.

    First, for those unaware of what the 9.5% reported rate for June means, it’s referred to by the BLS as the U3, or, the “official” unemployment rate. Here’s a basic definition of the U3:

    The official definition of unemployment used by the BLS includes anyone age 16 or older who is not institutionalized and is not currently employed, but able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work.

    The official definition of unemployment also excludes certain groups who are sometimes thought of as being unemployed or “underemployed.” Those who would like to work, but who have stopped looking for work – so-called discouraged workers – are not counted in the official definition because they are not actively seeking work. People working part time who would prefer full-time work are also not counted as unemployed because they are working – albeit fewer hours than they would like.

    source: OLMIS

    You can see the problem almost immediately with the “official” numbers touted by Washington and the talking heads on television. Most mainstream news you watch or read will provide information only on the U3.

    They stop short of going to the next BLS number, referred to as the U6. According to John Williams, this is how the U6 is defined:

    The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

    This month’s U6 unemployment number? Down from 16.6% in May to 16.5% in June.

    Remember, though, that even the U6 is a government manipulated number, so we need to look a little bit deeper to see what the REAL unemployment rate is in America.

    John Williams of Shadow Stats runs the numbers each month, and according to his most recent report, we’re actually hovering at around 21.5%. According to Williams, this is how the Shadow Stats “SGS Alternative” is calculated:

    The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

    Williams’ unemployment numbers are more than double what Washington is telling us.

    June Unemployment

    For those intent on preserving their personal and financial well-being, who are you going to believe?

    Will you believe that Government Actions Have Prevented Depression, Financial Meltdown, and Martial Law ?

    Or are you preparing for the Greatest Depression and potential monetary and financial chaos yet to come?


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      1. The IRS should release this information.

        Take the total number of taxpayer returns in which a person worked at least 1,000 hours during 2009 that also did not receive any kind of entitlement, supplements.   This would account the number of actual workers.  A worker would be a wage earner that does not receive entitlements.

        Divided by the total number of all persons in the USA, ages 18-64, legally or illegally.   This includes all persons, in prison, on drugs, mentally retarded, collage students, unpaid stayathomes, welfare cheats, etc.

        I bet the true unemployment rate is closer to 40%.

        The rate should reflect the number of those that aren’t full time workers.

      2. Count all workers that actually worked 40 or more hours the previous week
        divided by the entire population of the USA legal and illegal, less ages 0-17 and 65+.  
        Have no adjustemnts for vacations, family leaves, or any other reasons.

        75 million / 215 million = 65% unemployed

      3. John Williams is the real deal.  I highly recommend his paid service, as well as a subscription to the August Forecast at  for only $69/year.  It’s probably the best value out there for an annual subscription on news, globalism, market timing with 3x/week updates, etc.

      4. John Williams also says Hyper-inflation is a given.   I wish I owed more money to the banks, so I could pay them back with toilet paper dollars….lol

      5. Unemployment rate presents to all a meaningless statistic. It’s existence provides rhetorical fodder, only.
        What counts is the Employment Rate — the ratio of adults, 16- 62.5, working 40 hours a week to the total for adults, 16- 62.5.
        Per capita spending on necessities, primarily food,  and heat energy, changes little year-to-year, Good Times or Hard Times.
        What we care most about, in truth, is employment in all industries not connected with either food production, packaging and distribution, nor with heat energy production, packaging and distribution.
        After the Employment Rate, we’re most interested in per capita buying power of those who work.

      6. I still manage to network and associate with numerous of my former coworkers (also currently unemployed) and I get the same story from all of them; there just aren’t any decent paying jobs out there that are available boys & girls. As far as getting one with decent benefits attached to it ……. forget it! Just wait until the state governments are finally forced to admit that they are dead broke and have to start laying off massive numbers of state employees. It isn’t going to be a pretty picture.

      7. There is also something else that does not seem to get mentioned much.   The stimulus money.  700 billion was it?  You would think that all that money would create jobs for the entire planet!  But all it is doing is creating temporary jobs in the U.S., and not even doing very well at that.   Not sure who to believe, but it seems the stimulus money is running out soon.   The point is, its not how many jobs came the last few months, but what type of jobs.  The stimulus cannot last forever.

      8. Steve, you make an excellent point. And, those temporary jobs are already being eliminated. The Census laid off 225,000 temp workers in June, the rest will be gone by the end of the year – that’s roughly 750,000 more to go.

        As MadMarkie said, the states are about to get hammered and they will have no choice but to lay off people — 2 million or so is the estimate.

        I know several people close to me who depend(ed) on unemployment. The $50 billion Congress didn’t pass has left one of them without any income. The other is scheduled to be off UE within the next 3 months. One of them has been looking for a job for 6 months — an engineer in the Houston area, where POTUS is about to cut thousands of more jobs from NASA — so you can see how that will end up. The only thing really out there is minimum wage gigs – at some point, even those are all going to be taken. The other is starting an online business, as the area he lives in (central texas) simply has no decent jobs exact some minimum wage gigs. He figures he can pull in much more working online than working min. wage.

        Unemployment is the real elephant in the room. Look at the problems we have in the economy now with spending, consumer confidence, home sales, and defaults on personal loans (credit cards, auto loans, etc.). And that’s at a reported “9.5%.”

        What happens when that goes to 13% – 15% over the next couple years? Heck, even if they play the numbers like they did this month by not counting all those people who got dropped from unemployment insurance, if we see the SGS at 30%, that’s REALLY bad news.

        The economy is in shambles and the only way we are going to see a REAL RECOVERY is with jobs — and those ARE NOT COMING anytime soon. It is simply impossible at this time. MAYBE we see job creation 2 – 3 years from now, but that would mean we have to bring production back to the USA, because cubicle jobs are not coming back when they can pay a guy in India 1/5 of what we pay in America to do the same work.

        The only way production is coming back here, though, is if exports come back, and I don’t really see that happening without first having a major economic collapse to clear the system of crap and probably a major dollar crash/debasement/devaluation…. Another scenario would be isolationist policies like raising import taxes — that might do the job, but it won’t be all that great because then everyone else will do the same. The Chinese want to maintain their productive capacity and they will work at slave wages…. Are we prepared to do that?

        One other possibility is a new innovation / invention, as Gerald Celente has mentioned… Something that can drive economic growth…

        We are in a pretty tough spot… We could be looking at a complete destruction of the middle class over the course of this decade, and the entire decade may be one long depression.

        This is going to hurt, folks.

      9. Let’s not forget VP Biden told folks (stuffing himself with free custard cone) that ‘Jobs aren’t coming back ‘! He (has estate at lakeside in Delaware, but while VP (Google it) lives on the estate of Naval Observatory – huge mansion/ we pay for, plus all the good eating/ NONE of them care.

        The ONLY jobs have been the numerous ones hired in this administration – plus after the (ha) financial reform (more give aways to banks) – Wall Street celebrated and started hiring.  When they talk about ‘jobs’ today they never go on to explain that these are flunkie jobs/part time – temp or contract! NOT livable wage jobs. The new thing is –if you’re unemployed ‘don’t apply’!!

        In Europe they don’t have to go begging every few months when benefits run out. OUR taxes are comparable to theirs when you figure all the HIDDEN taxes in every product – the taxes in your phone/utility bills – car registration/ inspections – county – state – federal/ permits – dog license/fishing/hunting etc. THEY get something for their taxes.

        Automatic 3-5 yrs unemployment at 70-90% of their wages (not here) child care – health care – (not here/ lose your job, lose your insurance) – free education – housing vouchers – Gas may be more but they have smaller cars (always have) that get 35 + miles per gal / PLUS they really don’t need cars their public  transportation is so  great.

        IMAGINE, House passed unemployment extension (11 DEMOCRATS voted against!!!) but the millionaire ++ club of Senators went home THUR (they only work THREE days a damn week) leaving over 1.3 mill without checks ( some since first week in June) . It will be over 3 mill by the end of July. Do they care? PLEASE – they work Tues- Thur/ best of Rolls Royce health care./ WE pay 72% of their premium costs.

        They take this with them should they think of retiring! They take exotic vacations (on us) with family – friends called ‘fact fining missions’ Did you know they get $250 per day walking around money!!

        Yearly raises (not for seniors) – free prescriptions – vision – dental – Family all work as lobbyists – on boards etc/ wives always use maiden names to hide this. FREE care at Walter Reed (special exclusive floor) and Institute of Health. NOTE how fast Clinton/Cheney got the BEST of care within minutes at the BEST of Washington hospital/New York – top surgeons. You and I would be DEAD. WE paid for Clinton’s (him a multi- multi millionaire now) $100,000 ++ heart arteries reamed from years of fat Whoopers -.

        WE paid for Cheney’s oil and lube job for his rusted inhuman pump (called a heart in normal people). They get a living allowance – travel expenses etc. I remember when my dad waited anxiously for an extension/ the whole family held their breath. I HATE these ignorant soulless shills/toadies and lap dogs to industry.

        They don’t serve us except for a FEW and they don’t count in any votes. They might as well come home. Rep or Dem they are ALL the same/ Please God let people wake up to this fact. They’re all out to feather their own nests.

      10. Any return of production to America is going to require severe devaluation, if not complete destruction, of the USD. We won’t need protectionism if this happens, but it’s the only way American labor will ever be cheap enough, relative to the Indian and Chinese competition, to make a comeback.

      11. Of course we know our government is not telling the truth. No surprise. When you’re tired of talking about the problem, join the Revolution.
        Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

      12. Actually lostinmissouri , the government will likely allow banks to inflate YOUR debt to keep from losing the value of the money they loaned you… they’ll inflate it by increasing interest on the debt you owe in line with inflation. The only entity who will be able to pay back debts without increased interest rates will be government… be prepared for that.


      14. We need to realize that we can only exist in this global society in one of two ways: a. We isolate the way the world forced S. Africa to do before they gave up on aparteid and make everything we think we need, or think we need, from the resources we have. You will be surprised at how many things require a material that we do not have!
        b. We accept that we must both export what we can sell at a price others will pay and buy from them in the same way. You will be surprised at how many export prices will have to come down to compete or up to avoid buyer nation protectionism for their own producers.

        In either case, keep in mind that we have elected a government that is dismantling our ability to survive without a ‘nanny’ government that not only saves us from ourselves, but also prevents us from doing anything for ourselves! Once we are totally dependent and under control it won’t matter if we call it socialism of the left or right- fascism or communism- its dictatorship either way.

        We will soon discover that money is on the way to being worthless and that to survive we will have to barter and live from hand to mouth, being careful that someone else doesn’t steal the food on the way to our mouths.

        I don’t know how to stop this trend because our Constitution has been blown apart and our intellectuals are after a Utopia that can’t exist under Obama any easier or better than it was under Stalin. A major uprising in November might make a difference. I await the time when the U.S. Army tank gunner is told to shoot the governor of Arizona for trying to protect her state from being over-run 80 miles north of the border where the battle line is now located.

      15. Comments…..  To  Jude Moriarty  :  That’s why they BROKE in Europe . Wise up – socialism never work. tnnevernrvernenneverihsocializmintutthey have so matnyJugede Moriarty

      16. I can only report on the Design and Construction industry in which I have worked for 40 years. Of the 4 companies for which I have worked in the past twelve years (one of them in existence for 87 years), one has gone bankrupt, and the other three have simply closed their doors, due to lack of any work on the horizon. I have talked with several dozens of small business owners, like myself, who have gone without a paycheck for over a year and a half now. Many have shared with me confidentially, that they would have closed up shop a year ago and gone to work for someone else, but can’t find a job opportunity anywhere, so we try to keep our doors open, as we are left with no alternative. We are all proud, hardworking Americans, and don’t want word to get around that our companies may not exist much longer, as we still hope that we might get a small contract here or there, and don’t want to take the chance of discouraging a prospective client from entering into a contract with us. Most of us have depleted our savings, cashed in whole life insurance policies, drawn out our IRAs, as we earned nothing last year, and therefore these funds were not taxed, and borrowed all that we could, just to stay alive. We are small business owners and not employees so we cannot collect unemployment compensation. We small business owners who are hanging on by a thread, don’t show up on the unemployment reports, but of the more than one hundred small business owners whom I have had the long term relationship with to speak confidentially, approximately 75% of us are without work. We won’t tell you who we are, so you can’t count us in any unemployment calculations, but I’ll bet the numbers of us nationwide are staggering! Therefore, no one can really calculate the true unemployment rate.

        • Someone finally speaks truth about the small business owners in the construction industry. Knowing what the true Unemployment rate is impossible to measure. I am currently unemployed working underneath the table to scrap some dollars from design/build, clients with any kind of money are now using their money to further leverage to get free services, my one employee is unemployed and like myself are not counted in the unemployment factor.

          I am just waiting for the day, when we hear more contractors killing off their clients that refuse to pay for services performed. It is going to get ugly in 2012-13….?

      17. Don’t think I saw this mentioned here, but as the unemployment/underemployment numbers rise, tax revenues will fall inversely proportional to the decline in jobs or available work hours.  This will prove catastrophic for all levels of government, and at that point the charade will be very difficult to sustain.

        Once that economic impact migrates into the public sector, the howls of anguish will be deafening. Even printing more fiat currency will not placate the multitudes of drifters who thought to shield themselves from financial chaos by becoming a cog in the socialist machine. Everyone will then taste the poison on their lips, but by then it will be too late.

        If the “hope and change” hasn’t feathered one’s nest sufficiently by the end of this fiscal year, then watch out! It’s going to be a bumpy ride when the tax liabilities begin to come into focus next spring…

        Of course those who have no job, property, or possessions of value when the bill arrives have nothing to fear, right?


        They will have lost it all already and settled into social dependency on government. Unfortunately, with no tax revenues to sustain their dependence, it’s going to be pretty dangerous struggling to survive in an ever tightening social welfare net filled with vast numbers of morally unsavory characters. Pity the humble and righteous who find themselves trapped there amid the rabble. 

      18. Comments…..It amazes me how politicians will use what ever numbers they can find to “LIE” to the American people. Like we are stupid and don’t or won’t realize just how things really are.
        Anyone can make an argument on any of 100 issues using numbers that they come up with, but the truth of the matter is, politicians LIE to make themselves look good and others look bad. They have been doing it for years and it doesn’t serve a real purpose.
        I get so sick and tired of election years because all you here is how bad the other guy is and what is in their closets. Who the heck really cares.
        Why don’t they just say what they will and won’t do if they get elected. And then if they don’t do what they say, we get rid of them next election. THAT is how its supposed to be done.
        So, I simply HATE Obama, but he got elected. He lied, cheated and stole his way into the oval office, so-be-it. All we have to do is get OUR politicians to impeach him and move on before he does more damage. He is even to this day, circumventing the constitutional processes set up over 200 years ago to prevent him from doing what he is doing and yet OUR politicians just sit there and let him do what ever he wants.
        Lets VOTE THEM OUT IN NOVEMBER and send a message that they WORK FOR US, THE PEOPLE, NOT THEMSELVES!!!!

      19. Finally, someone who agrees with me.  I’ve been pointing out how ridiculous the ‘official’ count is for well over a year. 

        We’re not in a recession, people, we’re in the midst of an ongoing depression and it gets deeper with every move made by the Dems.  Even stores selling essentials, like supermarkets, are laying of or cutting hours because sales are down.

        In my area, Tampa, the true unemployment rate is probably 25% as opposed to the ‘official’ rate of 9.8%.

      20. Gentlemen,
        We need to find a new meaning to the words “employment” and “unemployment;”  “employed” and “unemployed.” 
        To what extent are you and me responsible for the employment of Americans?  How many do we employ in foreign countries because we are allowed to purchase their products?  How could we possibly employ more local citizens when we are sending our dollars to foreign countries where we employ their citizens?  Should we add those employed by us in foreign countries to our employment/unemployment statistics? 
        All I ask you is to think.  Because we are exporting our jobs elsewhere and it’s our fault – mine and yours.  So, I beg of you to find answers where they should be.
        Mario E. Porrata
        Gurabo, Puerto Rico

      21. Comments…..All this about the UE is really only the tip, Welfare is also not counted, imagine!!!! You are all, sometimes right, but, until the Administration(s) do their duty and destroy that Albatross on our neck called NAFTA and GATT, we are never going to recover. Perot was right, but not a “Giant” sucking sound, a long slow sucking sound was the real deal. EVERY Administration is capable of and fails to invalidate our NAFTA and GATT agreements, however, the GIANT Union Dollars are now trying to force EVERY WORKER, regardless of job, to be beholden to them. This is part of the “Health Care” act under the guise of “Emplyment”, and also in, very deeply the “Disclosure Act” now before Congress. Don’t worry, they won’t count your objection, as We, the People cannot afford to be heard. As lonmg as NAFTA and GATT allow American companies to produce tax-free outside our borders, the Lobtists and Big Business won’t allow a change. Just think, YOUR job was given to a foreign national at maybe 10% of what you got, and, those jobs have NO benefits.

      22. Unemployment is skyrocketing and our beloved government can not keep the handouts going forever. America is financially and morally bankrupt, with corrupt leadership which has absolutely no vision. 
        My extrapolations lead me to the following conclusions.   There will be massive civil disturbance, rioting and civil disobedience…and the only answer to reviving a moribund economy is unfortunately…war!
        Unemployment, overpopulation and worldwide depression were the engines for WWI and WWII.  It’s only a matter of choosing up sides.  God help us with our community organizer-in-chief in the white house (White house!  When is that going to become a racist expression?)

      23. Comments….. The real problem is deception at its worst kind. You cannot keep the “handouts” going. People want to work. The need jobs. They don’t need incompetent, greedy politians  who are selfserving and selfgratifying. Our nation needs good and honest leadership. It is time to stand up and vote them out of office. Americans will only take so much until a massive upheaval will commence. Does Washington really want a nasty mess on their hands. Keep it up.You will reap what you are sowing and unfortunately many lives will be lost that is a guarantee. American citizens are tired of all the crap going on in Washington. They want positive or they wll take it. You choose Obama and all your crooks.

      24. Comments…..I am a commercial Real Esate Broker. I haven’t produced any RE commissions since 2007.  Now at 60 years of age I have depleated All my savings and am climbing ladders and washing windows too eek out a living. I have gotten into great physical shape but I don’t know how long I can hold out. A month ago I fell off a ladder. I am OK but this is not where I planned to be at my age. My faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that keeps me going.

        • Your faith is all you are going to have left. He will take care of His children. I am also very concerned. We need to right the ship and can only do it on our knees.

      25. About the stimulus money 700 billion or whatever it was. Here’s my theory. If that money was divided up to all of tax paying Americans other than given to company’s and banks. Wouldn’t that have stimulated the economy?

      26. Comments…..What about Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland? Are they not Creditor Nations with large Current Account Surpluses and strong Economic Growth? Has Italy now gone back to a Trade Surplus the past few months? While other Deficits in many European Countries are declining while Exports increase?
        They have Real Capitalism not Crony Capitalism and a few thugs Running the show! They are much closer to Democracies then the USA and also much of Northern Europe is much, much Richer along with Freer.

      27. In reply to Rich above. My experience is similar to yours. After 20 years in printing business I finally closed the doors due to chines competition in 2006. I was left with a hefty chunk of debt but faith that my work ethic and skills would sustain me. I decided that real estate would be reasonable pursuit as there was no work in the printing business, so I got my license and started living off of my savings while building a new business. By 2008 the market had crashed but I hung in because I was actually getting more deals done than most of the agents in my area although my expenses were eating up half of my commissions. To supplement the sales business I teamed up with an old business associate of mine and got into buying and rehabbing distressed properties , doing all of the work ourselves and putting families into some very nice homes while helping to stabilize neighborhood property values. In early 2009 my credit score was still north of 800  although I was buried in debt. Then the federal government, Fannie, Freddie et. al. tightened up lending rules to the point that flipper money disappeared completely putting me out of business once again. Since then I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs including minimum wage jobs and been turned down or ignored everytime. If you’re over 50 and you’ve been self employed you are of no value in this labor market. My wife who managed the business with me for 20 years meanwhile managed to get a job at a local grocery store. After 4 years she now earns less than she did when I met her 30 years ago. We’ve cashed out the life insurance, retirement, sold our modest commercial building at a deep discount and still we’re in default on numerous debts so needless to say we can’t borrow our way out anymore (not that I want to).
        Our only goal at this point is save the home we’ve lived in for 18 years from the bankruptcy trustee. The odds are not good.
        I know a lot of folks out there in the same situation. We are in our “prime earning years” and finding out that our labor is worth nothing. We don’t get unemployment because we never wanted to be a burden on the taxpayer. We created businesses and jobs and paid half of our earnings in taxes of one kind or another. We reinvested in our businesses, buying equipment and hiring help, rather than take out profits because we believed we’d be rewarded in the long term. We have now lost everything but we don’t even get a mention in the MSM. Meanwhile I’m told I need to work into my seventies because social security is broke. I’d love to have work but nobody wants to give me a job and I’m only 54. Who the hell is gonna hire me when I’m 70?
        The federal government has printed trillions to subsidize the financial sector and government employees. Everybody else is on their own. For the past couple of years they’ve maintained an illusory economy made up of workers who don’t produce anything and bankers who simply buy and sell fiat currency. When the fake money inevitably leads to the collapse of the dollar, teachers, cops, union employees and the other protected classes will be out of luck as well. When taxpayers can no longer pay their fat pensions the service/consumer economy is finished. The only survivors will be bankers and federal employees and they will seize any asset left to ensure their own survival under color of law. I never thought I’d say this but I’m afraid we’re close to total economic collapse. It could get very ugly. You may be forced to defend your family economically and physically. Make sure you’re well armed

      28. If things do not improve soon ,i see corp. buildings,banks,and goverment offices burning not too far off in the future. Revolution is being spoken about on every post that i have seen in the last two months, never thought we would get to this point, but…. God help us all its coming


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