Why is the most common unemployment stat now 8.9% instead of 11.5%?
Because so many unemployed workers have given up looking for work and “disappeared.”
Millions of jobless Americans are no longer on the radar screen because they’ve stopped looking for work. The percent of the total workforce either in jobs or actively looking is at its lowest point in 25 years.
If the share of Americans who are either employed or seeking work was the same today as it was before the Great Recession, the current unemployment rate would be 11.5 percent instead of 8.9 percent.
There’s worse news, too.
The biggest losses during the Great Recession were jobs paying $19.05 to $31.40 an hour. By contrast, the biggest gains over the past year have been jobs paying an average of $9.03 to $12.91 an hour.
In other words, the big news isn’t the slow return of jobs. It’s the drop in pay.