] The number of unemployed workers (currently 8.2 million)
] and the national unemployment rate of 5.6% in February
] 2004 do not adequately convey the true labor slack in the
] economy for several reasons. One major understatement is
] that the unemployment rate does not reflect the uniquely
] large 1.2% decline in labor force participation that has
] occurred since the current recession began in early 2001.
] This decline represents a stark contrast to the past
] three business cycles, when labor force participation
] actually grew by an average of 0.4% of the working-age
] population over similar lengths of time. Consequently,
] there is what can be called a "missing labor force" of
] 2,808,000 workers who might otherwise be in the actual
] labor force but have either dropped out entirely or
] failed to enter the labor market because of the lack of
] jobs. If the unemployment rate in February 2004 took into
] account this missing labor force, the unemployment rate
] would have been 7.4%, or 1.8% greater than the official
] rate of 5.6% (see chart below).
I, thankfully, have a very specialized, and high-demand skill set, that is *not* dependent on the technology sector. But I've got a lot of very underemployed friends, and know a lot of people languishing in shitty jobs because there's nowhere to jump ship to. Ugh. This recession and "jobless recovery" blows.
The unemployment statistics the government doesn't want you to see...