The official jobless rate from the Dept. of Labor is 10%. But that number, because it does not include people who are underemployed or not actively looking for a job in this economy, grossly undercounts the number of unemployed in America. As the AP points out, the real unemployment rate stands at least at 17.3%:
The unemployment rate held steady at 10 percent. It did not creep higher only because so many people stopped looking for work and are technically not counted as unemployed.
But the jobless rate is likely to rise in coming months as more people see signs of an improving economy and start looking for work again. Some economists think it could near 11 percent, which would be the highest since World War II, by June. . . .
Complicating the recovery are remnants of the recession: high debt, a sputtering housing market and the inability or reluctance of people and businesses to borrow and spend. Most economists think unemployment will rise this year and stay high into 2012. . . .
The 85,000 lost jobs for the month is based on a government survey of employers. A separate government survey of households found a much darker picture — nearly 600,000 fewer people said they had jobs in December than in November.
That gap could reflect layoffs at small businesses that are having trouble getting loans and can't afford to hire new people. That's something many economists think the employer survey misses because it undercounts small companies. . . .
Counting the people who have given up looking for work and the part-time workers who would rather be working full-time, the so-called underemployment rate edged up to 17.3 percent in December. The record high is 17.4 percent, reached in October. . . .
AP here uses the 85,000 lost jobs from the employer survey to arrive at the 17.3% figure, but John Crudele at the NY Post points out that, if you use the higher household survey figures, that jumps the actual unemployment figures up to nearly 22%. Referring to the historic unemployment figures in the graph at the top of this post, either figure puts us into Great Depression range, with the figure of 22% being close to the record unemployment at the height of the Great Depression.
So what is Obama doing about this? As I pointed out here, his stimulus bill has not just been ineffective, it never stood a chance of being effective. Of the 789 billion dollars of that massive pork laden plan, sold as a plan to keep unemployment below 8%, only 2.6% was aimed at helping the maor jobs producing engine of our economy, small business, and only a little over 10% went to funding "shovel ready" construction jobs - none of which have had any effect on employment one year on. The rest went to secure government/union jobs and a host of other Democratic pork.
So what does Obama have planned to get America out of this mess caused by Democrats in the first place? Let's see . . . he's doubling down on the Community Reinvestment Act - which is at the center of our financial meltdown, he's looking to place massive new taxes and costs on businesses with Health Care and Cap and Trade. He wants to spend $2.3 billion to create 17,000 temporary green jobs, and, oh yes, he is going to change how his government now counts stimulus jobs to inflate the already inflated figures. Hey, well at least that's a positive step. Its like the old joke about the golfer whose best club was a pencil.
Obama can at least breathe a sigh of relief about one thing. While at the end of his term as President, a lot of people are probably going to want to march on the White House to tar and feather his incompetent self, most will be too destitute to afford the Greyhound bus ticket to get to DC., let alone pay for the tar or feathers. Perhaps there is method to his madness after all.