True Rate of Unemployment
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Started by metmike - Sept. 4, 2023, 10:23 a.m.

True Rate of Unemployment

The percentage of the U.S. labor force that is functionally unemployed

The True Rate of Unemployment (TRU), as defined by LISEP, measures the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is functionally unemployed.

Using data compiled by the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the True Rate of Unemployment tracks the percentage of the U.S. labor force that does not have a full-time job (35+ hours a week) but wants one, has no job, or does not earn a living wage, conservatively pegged at $20,000 annually before taxes.

Just as an accurate census is a prerequisite to funding American communities equitably, policymakers depend on economic indicators to shape economic policy. LISEP developed the True Rate of Unemployment to provide analysts and decision-makers with a more accurate measure of Americans’ financial well-being.

For a more in-depth explanation of the True Rate of Unemployment, please reference LISEP’s TRU white paper.

The percentage of the U.S. labor force that is functionally unemployed

Moderating inflation appears to have come at the expense of low-wage workers, with functional unemployment jumping 1.2% in July.

Living-Wage Job Market Takes a Hit; Hispanic Workers Bear the Brunt

‘Functional unemployment’ jumps 12% for Hispanic workers in July

By joj - Sept. 5, 2023, 6:27 a.m.
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When I first saw the title of this thread I thought I would be looking at some methodology that shows UE to be double or triple the BLS monthly reported levels.  Then wham!!  22.9%!!  Then my political bias kicked in and I thought this must be some angle to slam the Biden administration.  But then I scrolled down and saw the chart.  It turns out, except for the recent uptick, the true rate of UE is actually at 28-year lows!  

I accept LISEP's premise that a family income below $20,000 is poverty and ought not to be considered a fully employed household.  (Turns out this may be a liberal organization). However, without digging deeply into the methodology, I wonder if they are taking into account government benefits like food stamps, child tax credits, and Medicaid.  These would boost real incomes that lift at least some of those households out of poverty.

By metmike - Sept. 5, 2023, 9:53 a.m.
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Thanks, joj!

No politics intended because the same difference in rates has been taking place for 30+ years with different parties in charge.

I appreciate the honestly about your first impression.  Honestly/self assessment is extremely hard to come by these days and since the majority of information seems to be coming to us with a political spin, it's no wonder. 

I'm actually the same way. I get the first impression about an article or topic. Then, before posting something or passing it on, try to do some vetting/fact checking to make sure it can stand up to scrutiny and sometimes will  post articles that I busted with the fact check to show the flawed/bias. 

I will send more on this, especially regarding your great point about government benefits boosting income beyond earned income.

When coming back from Detroit on Sunday and hearing the updated unemployment rate repeated on the radio several times,  I was thinking how 3.5% is such a tiny number. There must be some sort of specific methodology that allows the government to filter out groups of people that aren't doing very well so they are not in that 3.5%!