Unemployment Data–FEBRUARY 2022

February 2022 Unemployment Data–the Full Count

(U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS)

OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT: 3.8%*[ANALYSES by EXPERTS]

White
    3.3%
African American
6.6%
Hispanic
4.4%
Asian¹
          3.1%
Persons with a disability¹
  8.8%
Men 20 years and over
3.5%
Women 20 years and over
3.6%
Teens (16-19 years)
10.3%
Black teens
17.8%
Officially unemployed
6.3 million

HIDDEN UNEMPLOYMENT

Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job:  4.1 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which 1.5 million¹ searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)  5.4 million
Total: 15.8 million (9.3% of the labor force)

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf “In February, 4.2 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer
closed or lost business due to the pandemic—that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic. This measure is down from 6.0 million in the previous month…..Among those not in the labor force in February, 1.2 million persons were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, down from 1.8 million in the prior month. (To be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.)These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning in May 2020 to help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Tables with estimates from the supplemental questions for all months are available online at
www.bls.gov/cps/effects-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.htm.” See also Current Employment Statistics–Highlights. For BLS State and area data, see Geographic Information and State Unemployment Summary and Current Unemployment Rates for States and Historical Highs/Lows, Seasonally Adjusted

*See Uncommon Sense #4 and How the BLS Measures Unemployment for an explanation of the unemployment measures.

¹Not seasonally adjusted.  Marginally Attached workers want work and are available, have looked for work within the last 12 months, but not during “the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

WORKING BUT IN POVERTY: In addition, millions more were working full-time, year-round, yet earned less than the official poverty level for a family of four. In 2020,  that number was 12.2 million, 11.6 percent of full-time, full-year workers (estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census). The poverty threshold in 2020 was $26,496 for a family of four.

HOW MANY JOBS ARE AVAILABLE? In February 2022, the latest month available, the number of job openings was 11.3 million. Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, March 29, 2022.  Thus there are 1.4 job-wanters for each available job. See also JOLTS Experimental State Estimates

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT IS MEASURED: Unemployment is measured as a percent of the civilian non-institutional labor force.  The unemployed are those who have not worked at least an hour during the week of record, when a sample survey is taken, and who have looked for work during that month. The labor force includes those 16 years old and older who are either working or unemployed.  It excludes those in  institutions, like nursing homes or prisons, and those in the military. The latter two groups would in all likelihood experience high unemployment. Merely adding the incarcerated would add about one percentage point to the unemployment rate.

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