The dog wags back!

A sometimes funny, somtimes angry, but mostly progressive, blog on the politics and issues of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and America.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The real unemployment story

The number of unemployed vary for a number of reasons - some get jobs, but more just stop looking for work. Economists call these people "discouraged workers." But the number of unemployed is not the best measure of the condition of the unemployed because so many may drop out of the workforce. A better measure is how many people are unemployed for long periods of time. These people are not discouraged, yet, but they can't find jobs. Since January 2001, the number of long-term unemployed, those unable to find a job in more than 15 weeks (nearly 4 months) rose by nearly 1.6 Million. That is a lot of discouragement folks! I am not making this up, but merely reporting the statistics that the government doesn't want to talk about. You can see for yourself the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The chart itelf is produced from the BLS website (yes, I am getting lazier, but it is also more significant to use a chart from their own system). The chart shows how many thousands of people were unemployed for more than 15 weeks, by month. Note that the number fell consistently until early 2001, and then has increased dramatically.