If you don’t have full time employment, then you’re facing some tough competition.
The roughly 14 million unemployed Americans that make up the 9.1% official U-3 unemployment figure aren’t competing just with themselves – they’re also facing competition from the nearly 9 million “underemployed” Americans who have part time work, but are looking for full time labor:
And the unemployed [14 million] will face another source of competition once the economy improves: Roughly 2.6 million people who aren’t counted as unemployed because they’ve stopped looking for work. Once they start looking again, they’ll be classified as unemployed. And the unemployment rate could rise.
Intensified competition for jobs means unemployment could exceed its historic norm of 5 percent to 6 percent for several more years. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects the rate to exceed 8 percent until 2014. The White House predicts it will average 9 percent next year, when President Barack Obama runs for re-election.
Combined, the 14 million officially unemployed; the [8.8 million] “underemployed” part-timers who want full-time work; and “discouraged” people who have stopped looking make up 16.2 percent of working-age Americans.
The Labor Department compiles the figure to assess how many people want full-time work and can’t find it — a number the unemployment rate alone doesn’t capture.
In a healthy economy, this broader measure of unemployment stays below 10 percent. Since the Great Recession officially ended more than two years ago, the rate has been 15 percent or more.
Those 2.6 million Americans who have reportedly stopped looking for work are still looking – they just don’t count anymore because they aren’t taking unemployment insurance benefits.
These are big numbers, folks, comparable to the great depression if we consider the Shadow Stats SGS alternative unemployment measure, which utilizes non-official calculations to determine how many are unemployed. We’re talking over 22%.
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.
As it becomes apparent to Americans that this so-called recovery is nothing but conjecture, we can expect a self reinforcing unemployment spiral to develop. More people are laid off, less money is spent, more businesses close, and even more people lose their jobs.
This isn’t going away in 2014. Remember, these are the same people who told us things would get better in 2009, then 2010, then 2011.
We want to be optimistic, but numbers like these make that impossible.