Monday, November 9, 2009

This hurts: U6 unemployment is at 17.5%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U6 unemployment is the "broader" measure of unemployment; that is, it is a measurement of the "[t]otal unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers." The typical measurement of unemployment is "U3 unemployment", which is a measurement of "[t]otal unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force."

Friday's BLS report showed that the official unemployment rate is 10.2%. That hurts. What hurts more is that U6 unemployment is 17.5%. 

What does that mean? It means that more than 1 in 6 people are either unemployed OR working part-time because they can't find a full-time position OR have pretty much quit looking for work because they can't find it, but have knocked around here or there. Friends, this hurts.


  1. Wow. I'm definitely staying put in grad school for awhile. My friends can barely pay their school loans right now and are just working part time themselves. Not to mention moving back with the folks. So I can definitly see the U6 effect around me. I hope this thing starts to abate soon.

  2. Somehow 17.5% seems low to me based on my experience but I think I am in a state that has been hit a little harder than most.

  3. Re: AlchemX's comment

    Consider yourself lucky to be able to "stay put in grad school". Some countries have you out almost effectively on your ear after 3 years or so of doctoral studies - to include writing up (though I see a trend towards 4-year PhDs here...

  4. What a great, great time to be a chemist! While the rest of the population is being pummelled we enjoy only 3% unemployment rate. Or is 2% according to the ACS?

  5. Anonymous,

    I definitely do feel lucky. I would be living with mommy and daddy again and feel like a total moron, but I already feel like a moron in grad school, I just get paid. Kind of like Welfare =P

    Despite the bad looks of things I have a buddy who is leaving the grad program for a gov. job as a MS level chemist. Good pay plus an actual path of advancement (weird I know) but he is happy. It's something in justice. Our current PhD graduates do seem to get job offers (since they cost less than experienced PhDs?), but at pay scales that do not reflect their education level. Many BS/MS level people would have achieved that pay years ago.

    A job is a job though, can't complain.

    As far as grad school time though. Chem is a pretty solid 5 yrs. I could get out in 4, but why? Our post-docs used to last 1-2yrs max, but recently I've met many in 3-5yr range now, ouch. Mediocrity is definitely punished more harshly these days. Remember, school loans get activated during a Post-Doc, so that 8-10K raise is really not much =(


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20