The number of people looking for work is actually far higher than government statistics indicate, according to a new Investor’s Business Daily poll.
The civilian labor force in June totaled 153.7 million people, of whom 14.6 million, or 9.5 percent, were unemployed, according to Labor Department data.
But in an Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll last week, 28.6 percent of respondents said at least one member of their household is unemployed and looking for work. This number for June was 27.8 percent and for May was 28 percent, the report said.
When IBD projected its household job-seekers rate and calculated the share of Americans who are unemployed and looking for work, it got a job-seeker rate of 24.1 percent for July for a total of 37 million Americans compared to the government's aforementioned 14.6 million, according to an editorial written by Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which directed the IBD/TIPP Poll.
The difference between IBD’s job-seeker rate of 24.1 percent and the Labor Department's jobless rate of 9.5 percent is night and day, Mayur writes.
The difference between IBD’s job-seekers (37 million) and Labor's unemployed (14.6 million) is a staggering 22.4 million, Mayur writes.
To come up with its monthly jobless rate, the Labor Department surveys some 60,000 households. But the popular unemployment measure that results, dubbed U-3, is not a good indicator, because the department counts as "unemployed" only those who report actively looking for work in the past four weeks, Mayur writes.
The underemployed (8.6 million) and those not in the labor force but who want a job (6.5 million) bring down IBD’s difference with the Labor Department from 22 million to 7 million.
Labor also has a large category of 18 million workers classified as "part-time not for economic reasons." These are people who the department believes have voluntarily opted for part-time employment.
IBD said it assumes 7 million of the 18 million voluntary part-timers are looking for full-time employment.
Meanwhile, for some of those still looking for a job, unemployment benefits have run out and may not be extended.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June 6.8 million people or 45.5 percent of the total are long-term unemployed, or jobless for 27 weeks or more.
Before the recession began in late 2007, the unemployed received benefits, usually a few hundred dollars a week, for 26 weeks or around six months after losing their jobs.
Under the federal/state programs, which are administered by state governments and partly funded by taxes on business, only full-time workers are eligible for benefits. Within federal guidelines, benefits and eligibility vary from state to state.
As the downturn left more Americans out of work for longer periods, Congress voted to provide funding to extend benefits to as long as 99 weeks in some areas. An attempt to pass another extension has become bogged down in partisan political bickering in the Senate.
Relief agencies fear that failure to extend benefits will strain their resources and may worsen the U.S. housing crisis.
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