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The Real Unemployment Rate Increased Again in February

The official unemployment rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) held steady for the month of February at 9.7%. Economists and market pundits are already declaring that these numbers indicate that the job market is showing signs of recovery.

However, job losses continued in February as employers shed 36,000 jobs. We now officially have 14.9 million Americans that are unemployed. A phenomenal 8.4 million jobs have been lost over the last 26 months.

While the official unemployment rate may have held steady, of greater significance is the fact that the real unemployment rate increased again in February.

The official unemployment rate doesn’t include individuals who have given up on searching for jobs or who have been forced to take part-time employment while they continue to look for a full-time job. When you include these individuals in the unemployment figures, the unemployment rate for February was 16.8%. This was an increase from January’s 16.5%, but still below the 17.4% level reached last October.

While the 36,000 jobs lost in February was better than 75,000 than many economists expected, it was still worse than the 26,000 job losses reported last month.

So while there may be some glimmers of hope in the labor figures today, the celebration should be muted. It will take several years to replace the 8.4 million jobs lost over the last two years, even if the economy begins to add jobs once again at a healthy rate.

Filed in: Careers, Christian Finance, Economics

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