On Friday, May 7, 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the national unemployment rate increased to 9.9% in April. At the beginning of the year, the national unemployment rate dropped from over 10% to 9.7%. Politicians cheered the decrease as a sign the economy was growing. While local, state and national leaders rested on their laurels believing unemployment would continue its downward trend, more and more people lost their jobs.
The fact that the national unemployment rate increased comes as no surprise. Unemployment is increasing at the state level. As I wrote earlier in the week, unemployment increased in metropolitan areas and cities across the country, including cities in Indiana, Michigan and California.
A closer look at the figures released by the BLS shows that 15.3 million Americans were jobless in April. Of those 15.3 million jobless, almost 50% (6.2 million) had been jobless for over 27 weeks. However, these numbers understate the true depth of our country's unemployment.
The BLS reported that 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the workforce. Since these Americans had not looked for work in the preceding 4 weeks, they are not considered unemployed and are not counted as jobless. The number of marginally attached workers grew by 457,000 people since last April, 2009.
Leo Hindery, Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Economy/Smart Globalization initiative at the New America Foundation chastised our national leaders and many in the main stream press who touted the creation of 290,000 in April as good news. Hindery notes that this number is insignificant when one considers that joblessness grew by 499,000 in the same period. Hindery also notes the "inanity of counting each month only those unemployed workers actively looking for jobs - and leaving 'uncounted' the millions of workers so discouraged that they non longer actively look for work but would take a job at the drop of a hat. We also don't acknowledge those millions of workers who accepted, out of necessity, a part-time job even when they wanted and needed a full-time job."
Stay-Tuned: Is age discrimination preventing older unemployed Americans from obtaining jobs? Please email me your story as I follow this emerging issue within the labor market at Ellen.Corcella@yahoo.com.
Upcoming: Is anyone looking for ways to create jobs? How many jobs need to be created to make a dent in the unemployment rate.
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