Business Report: The real picture of unemployment - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Business Report: The real picture of unemployment

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Every month the government reports unemployment, and then those numbers are reported by the media. Then, a day or two later,  alternative measures of it are also reported. Those measures, also gathered by government, are higher. The highest is U-6. It includes people not unemployed who wish they had more hours. Economists call this "Peter," P-T-E-R, Part-Time for Economic Reasons. These are part-time workers who wish they were full-time. Count them with the unemployed, and it's double the regular jobless rate.

But what if that number, big as it is, is still too small? There is a point of equilibrium, where you work enough hours. At this point, offered a choice of another hour of work for more money, or spending the same hour at leisure, you could go either way and be happy.

A new Fed report says, there are people for whom even full-time work doesn't get them to that point. Therefore U-6, by counting only part-timers who want more hours, under-counts pain. A full picture would need to count full-time workers who need more hours.

Any low-income worker could have told them this.

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