Hindery Report on Effective Unemployment: 19.2%


Each month when I get the official unemployment figures from the US government, I quickly search in my inbox for a note from former cable network CEO and senior economic adviser in the John Edwards and Barack Obama campaigns Leo Hindery who sends me the “effective unemployment” figures that many economic commentators from Joseph Stiglitz to Mort Zuckerman to Bob Herbert are begninning to use.
Official unemployment surged to 10.2% according to an announcement today.
Here is the Hindery Report on Effective Unemployment:
Leo Hindery-thumb-250x337-1364.jpg

Using its Current Population Survey (CPS) of Non-Farm Jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced this morning, November 6, 2009, that, “Total non-farm payroll employment declined by 190,000 in October and the unemployment rate crept to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent, up from 9.8 percent in September.”
However, as we have been noting, the public BLS figures, while widely distributed, notably exclude changes in employment among the nation’s 10,968,000 farm and self-employed workers, who are more than 7% of the Civilian Labor Force, and they do not take into account the 14,905,000 workers who are part-time-of-necessity (9,284,000), marginally attached (2, 373,000), or “discouraged” and have left the labor force (3,248,000).
The Summary of U.S. Effective Unemployment – more accurately (1) includes farm and self-employed workers and (2) accounts for effectively unemployed workers not in the official BLS announcement. This Summary also identifies various measures of weeks unemployed, job openings, and job shortfalls.
Accordingly, as adjusted, at the end of October 2009 or for the month:
1. Total combined employment – nonfarm, farm and self-employed – declined by 484,000 jobs in the month instead of the BLS-announced non-farm only figure of 190,000;
2. The total number of effectively unemployed and underemployed workers is 30,605,000 not the BLS-announced number of 15,700,000; and
3. The effective unemployment rate is 19.18% not the BLS-announced rate of 10.20%.
Since the official start of the recession in December 2007, the number of effectively unemployed and underemployed workers has increased by 13,723,000, instead of by the aggregate 8,159,000 jobs loss figure that the BLS officially reports. In contrast, we needed to create 2,376,000 new jobs in these 22 months just to keep up with the natural growth in the labor force of 108,000 workers per month.
For workers in the official Civilian Labor Force, the average number of weeks unemployed is now 26.9. And the number of workers unemployed 27 weeks and longer stands at 8,842,000 (i.e., 5,594,000 officially counted plus the 3,248,000 discouraged workers).

— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Hindery Report on Effective Unemployment: 19.2%

  1. Terry Ogle says:

    Thank you for writing this brief on the “real” rate of unemployment including those no longer collecting unemployment benefits – those individuals who have effectively been dropped from the workforce. I beleive ths situation is far worst than the public knows. Officials in Washington have better wake up. I’m in my late 50’s and have been unemployed for 3 years. I had a successful career in mid-management, but was laid off with my job eliminated or absorbed by my immediate manager. In addition, I’m watched our country outsource thousands of jobs and product manufacturing – not to mention the illegal immigration issue. Our nation is in trouble. Meanwhile, no one wants to hire an experienced worker in his 50s or 60s….sad.


  2. anotsonanymous says:

    Steve, maybe you can use your contacts in cuba and get fidel to send one of his supersharp advisers to help socialize the american work force…because there is no way out of the hell that the wallstreet crowd and our political ubermenschen have gotten us in.
    maybe they can bring back the spirit of that super economist che guevara to help us in our hour of need.
    marx and lenin uberalles.


  3. nadine says:

    erich, Unemployment isn’t going to improve until businesses start hiring again. Businesses aren’t going to start hiring until they can feel some security in predicting their environment a year from now. No business in America can look at the healthcare battle in DC and predict what its tax load will be a year from now. That has to put a big damper on hiring.
    You guys are doing it again. You love jobs but you hate employers. That doesn’t work.


  4. erichwwk says:

    Thanks so much for this Hindery sequel, another refreshing voice of reason and reality.
    This tendency for a government to offer its citizens make believe (Alabama’s Senator Shelby proclaimed the U.S. health care system the best in the world comes to mind)rather than real products reminds of what the Soviets did prior to their collapse.
    Private pharmaceutical corporations spend 1.5 times as much on marketing than they do on R&D, with the FDA allowing new drugs as long as they are not clearly WORSE than existing products.
    We count nuclear weapons as part of GDP, rather than subtracting for the opportunity cost of REAL products we could have had, ignoring accounting for natural capital depreciation, etc, etc. In sum current government measurements are so rife with ideologically driven numbers, to make much of what is produced in terms of government data suspect. So kudos to Hindery for offering a more realistic interpretation.
    As far as the making of Tang and instant coffee, and other “do-it-yourself” projects as solution, I am speechless.
    Real wealth is a function of COMMON property, and the ability of society to COOPERATE and work more efficiently.
    If you want to leave government out of the solution, we will need some other institutions to enable us to collaborate. Better than homemade “Tang” are things like google wave. What the government has done to privatize the benefits of seiniorage is something NOT countered by being selfish, but by building alternative institutions- private money comes to mind, starting with more credit unions, county issued “chits”, or other forms of slow money.
    To disassemble the vast network of cooperation we have built, to accept state layoffs of workers especially teachers, shows me just how far we have gone with the disconnect of politicians as agents of individuals interested only in SR profits- ie how much silverware can be stolen before the ship goes down. It’s all about Me, Me, Mine and a bastardization of what Adam Smith really said.
    It’s NOT government per se that is the problem, but the Ayn Rand type of government as limited to police and courts in protecting the rights of the elite. Somehow we need to find a way to a government that is based on the consent of an enlightened public, and acknowledges that wealth creation is a community, and not an individual, effort. Countries that are able to develop fair and efficient governments thrive, those that can’t eventually crumble.


  5. Outraged American says:

    Anecdotally, the job market in Phoenix and LA suck. People who
    were relatively well positioned in movie studios/ labs are
    considering things like one of our friends, who is seriously
    thinking about working at a car wash. It’s not ALL bad — he
    likes to be outdoors and LA in the winter is not even Norway in
    So going from being the assistant to the head of post production
    at a movie studio and dining at the Ivy, he’s going to have to
    take a crash course in taco truck menus and how to say, “Please
    don’t hit me, I didn’t scratch your car” in Korean, Vietnamese,
    Thai, and what’s that other language commonly spoken in LA
    beyond Yiddish??? Oh yes — Spanish.
    Another friend of ours is going to lose her beautiful home after
    being let go of a very good job that she’s had for decades.
    She’s got five Chihuahuas to feed and might end-up having to
    sell them in Little Saigon for dog food, by which I mean they
    make their food out of dogs down there.
    And then, here in Phoenix, again anecdotally, my brother is
    much younger than I am and has even younger friends because
    he has fantasies of being a child molester.
    Almost every single one, from early 20s-mid 30s, has lost their
    job. They aren’t at the same skill level as our LA friends, but
    they all want to work and most were relatively good at what were
    pretty much low paid jobs, like credit card collections – which
    must be a non-stop party. They can’t even get those now.
    So among my circle of acquaintances, people at a high skill/
    educational level are losing their jobs with no prospect of
    employment, as well as people who are literate, hard-working,
    high school graduates.
    But yet we have endless money for war.
    It goes back to my theory that for years this has been building –
    – the ruling elite dumbo-ed down the educational level and
    destroyed the economy so that the only prospect for many
    young people is to be cannon fodder or eat out of trash bins,
    although there’s not going to be much food left in those trash
    bins if the economy continues to self-immolate.
    It also goes back to my empirical thesis:
    * money is best spent by the community for the community.
    Local level, because each locality knows what it needs.
    Even within the state of Arizona, we’ve been known to have the
    highest and the lowest temperature in the nation on the same
    day, so a person in Yuma doesn’t have the same needs (a bikini
    and a hose) as a person on the White Mountain Apache
    reservation ( a down parka, a shotgun and some killer skis)
    Keep taxes spent local.
    * Federal government should only address federal issues, like
    interstate highways and faux flu scares.
    * Standing army (by which I mean highly trained reserves) for
    defense not offense. “Walk softly and carry a big stick or rather
    thousands of nuclear weapons”) So we keep the sticks. We sure
    have enough of them already.
    The bottom line is that the amount we spend on war is not cost-
    effective and has obviously led to blowback on so many different
    I’m going to post this until every single one of TWN readers is
    forced to look at it, the National Priorities Project and how the
    cost of war affects individual US communities.
    Questions is obviously off making policy/ wallowing in self pity
    because she didn’t win Miss The Washington Note this year,
    although she, Nadine and Wig tied with me for Miss
    Congeniality, with POA being second runner up.
    Otherwise Question’s would be writing some utter rubbish about
    how the Pentagon budget has no affect on state and local
    Steve, can you get this across as well as GET US OUT OF THESE
    FUCKING WARS — to your friends in DC?
    All these unemployed kids, or rather 30-60 + year olds– rather
    than spend money on war start a national works program,
    replete with whips and manacles for the supervisors.
    Give everyone a free quality education from pre-school to any
    graduate degree they prove themselves to merit.
    Single payer health insurance!
    We are done if we keep going down this warpath. And it’s
    probably too late — Israel has us in her vice like grip and
    already 5 feet under, once we hit six, China, here Israel comes.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *