According to many experts, the ‘REAL' unemployment rate in America stands at 17.5%.
This number dwarfs the 10.2% statistic most people regard as the unemployment rate for October 2009.
Why is there a 7.3% difference, and where does that difference come from? The short answer is that there is more than one way to report unemployment. The government chooses to report unemployment via a statistic called the U-3 unemployment rate. It is a rate that takes many factors into account. However it does not include the millions of workers who are unemployed and who have stopped searching for jobs, or those who have lost good-paying full-time jobs to take lesser-paying part-time jobs because those jobs were the only ones they could find. Why do they do this slight-of-hand reporting? Perhaps it is the same reason some people conveniently leave some past jobs off their resumes...it makes them look better.
1994 the Department of Labor quantified unemployment in a statistic called U-6. When unveiled in January 1994, the U-6 debuted at an 11.8% rate of unemployment, while the U-3 stood at a mere 6.6 percent. (Remember, the U-3 is the statistic most reported to this day.) Another example of the vast difference between the two rates is the fact that the U-6 hit its lowest mark in April 2000 when it dipped to 6.9%, while the U-3 statistic touted unemployment at 3.8%. The U-3 rate makes us feel that things are not as bad as they really are.
Everyone likes to put their "best foot forward." For instance, when was the last time a new acquaintance told you about their latest bankruptcy, failed marriage, or an out-of-control teen that is on drugs? Obviously, no one tells things like that to a person they just met, or even all their long-time friends. Most people keep those things close to their vest. It enables them to make a better impression and makes them feel that things are not quiet as bad as they really are.
Now, what does the U-6 unemployment rate really mean, and how does it impact your life? If you are unemployed or if you have tried to find a job lately, you already know the answer to that question. Good jobs are difficult to find. An unemployment rate of 17.5% translates to the fact that almost 1 in 5 Americans either out of work or under-employed.
Action items include:
1. Pray for those who are unemployed.
2. If you have a job, keep it. Some are predicting that full employment for our nation will be a decade in coming.
3. Be prepared for a period of slow economic growth.
4. Learn to depend upon the Lord and trust him with your financial situation. Remember what the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths."
5. Save, invest, and prepare for your retirement as best as you possibly can in the middle of tough economic times. It is your future and sacrifices made today will be rewards you will enjoy tomorrow.