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What does 5.9% Unemployment mean?


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Unemployment figures stirring many an investor to recently unparalleled heights of excitement. Americans across the country were struck by the revelation that today, official Unemployment, has dropped to 5.9%. But what is it really?

Whenever the BLS releases this report we like to try to put the figures into context using the data available online at the BLS site. Here’s what they have to say, paraphrased and based on their data: The Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate, that is, how many of our citizens who should be working in fact are, is 62.7%. The number of people in our Civilian Labor Force is 155,903,000. Straight away one need not be Neils Bohr to understand that the difference between 62.7% and 100%, or 37.3% is not 5.9%. It is 37.3%. No amount of dissembling can change that mathematical reality.

So, how many Americans are truly Unemployed? 155,903,000 (times) 37.3% (equals) 58,151,819. More than one-in-three Americans who ought to be working are without a job. They have given up. They are no longer part of the data set. They are working off-the-grid by working yard sales, collecting scrap metals, trying to qualify for Social Security Disability, on county assistance, living homeless and begging on freeway off-ramps and at the entrances of Walmart parking lots. They are unseen and ignored. They are the blight of our society and an unsavory omnipresent reminder that while wealth has increased obscenely and immensely for the Walton family - the people who own Walmart - and one percent of our society, destitution remains among the masses.

For how much longer can you imagine this will continue? Read the entire BLS report here and pay attention to detail. Then, read, The Most Important Thing You Have to Think About, below right.