The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 13.7 percent for August 2013, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points. This is the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers.
The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 21.5 million. These are people who are unemployed (11.3 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (2.3 million), or are working part time because they can’t find full time employment (7.9 million).
Labor Force Participation
The labor force participation rate is 63.2 percent, down 0.2 from July, and the lowest rate in 35 years. 312,000 Americans left the labor force last month.
If the labor force participation rate were the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent.
The share of American adults with jobs in August was 58.6 percent, roughly the same for more than three years. This is approximately five percentage points below its prerecession peak.
The number of long-term unemployed spiked to 45 percent in April 2010 and again in March 2011 -- and is currently 37.9 percent of the unemployed, up nearly a point (0.9 percent) from last month. During the 1980s, when our country faced a similar recessionary period, the proportion of long-term unemployed never exceeded 27 percent.
Concern has also been raised about the consistent number of Americans who are working part time for economic reasons. These people are working part time because their hours have been cut back or because they are unable to find a full-time position. This figure has averaged 8.0 million throughout 2013.
There were 866,000 people in August categorized as discouraged workers, an increase of 22,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are those who are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.
The Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for August 2013, down 0.1 percent from July, and an increase of 169,000 nonfarm jobs. The last two months were revised down 74,000 jobs. June employment figures were revised from 188,000 to 172,000 jobs created, and July figures were revised from 162,000 to 104,000 new jobs.
President Obama promised a “natural unemployment” rate of 5.0 percent by now.
Job growth continues to remain sluggish. In 2012, the economy added an average of 262,000 jobs a month. In 2013, the economy has added an average of 180,250 jobs per month, and employment growth has averaged 183,800 jobs per month over the past 12 months.
Americans are beginning to sour on the market for quality jobs. According to an August 2013 Gallup survey, 21 percent of Americans believe that this is a good time to find a quality job, its most negative level this year and down from 25 percent in July. Prior to August, Americans’ optimism about the availability of quality jobs appeared to be improving.
Employment increased in retail trade (+44,000), health care (+33,000), professional and business services (+23,000), and food services and drinking places (+21,000). Employment in the information sector was down by 18,000 jobs; state government employment fell by 3,000 -- offset by a gain of 20,000 in local government; and financial activities lost 5,000 jobs last month.
Weeks, Hours & Wages
The number of Americans searching for work for more than 27 weeks is 4.3 million.
The average hourly private nonfarm payroll rose by five cents to $24.05. Year over year hourly earnings have risen 52 cents or 2.2 percent.
The average work week for private nonfarm employees was 34.5 hours, an increase of 0.1 hour compared to July.