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Friday, August 3, 2012

BLS Measures of Labor Underutilization since the start of the Great Recession

This chart illustrates the six measures of labor underutilization that the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes every month in their Employment Situation report.

Everyone is familiar with the highlighted row: UNRATE is the official unemployment rate. The other five are defined as follows:

MeasureDefinition
U-1Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force
U-2Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force
U-4Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers
U-5Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force
U-6Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

Why chart the numbers this way? To provide a visual representation of the job market: when the current numbers in each bar move to the left, that signifies that the job market is returning to its pre-Recession levels.

 

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