This chart from JPMorgan shows three things:
1. The current U-3 or “official” unemployment rate (red line).
2. The unemployment rate if you counted all the labor-force dropouts as unemployed (dark blue line).
3. The unemployment rate if you added back only labor-force dropouts under age 55 — in order to separate out the retiring baby boomers (yellow line).
Clearly, the 8.2% unemployment rate that gets played up in the media significantly understates the problems in the U.S. labor market. The Labor Department has disappeared millions of discouraged workers who’ve stopped looking for a job in the stagnant economy of the Long Recession.
The reality is that, three years into a supposed economic recovery, America continues to suffer from double-digit unemployment.
And, of course, if you add in workers who are employed part-time but wished they had full-time jobs, the unemployment rate is just shy of 15%.