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Even After Solid Gains, 22 Million Americans Are Unemployed Or Underemployed

by Lam Thuy Vo
Nov 2, 2012

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Note: This post was updated to reflect the October jobs report, which was released this morning.

The U.S. added 171,000 jobs in October, according to this morning's big jobs report. That's a solid gain. Job gains for the previous few months were also larger than initial estimates suggested. But the U.S. labor market is still digging out of a deep hole.

As of October, 11.7 million people were unemployed. But that doesn't include people who were working part time because they can't find a full-time job. It also doesn't include people who wanted a job but haven't looked for work in the past four weeks.

There's another measure that does include these people, and it's one we've been following over the past few years. It's sometimes referred to as broader unemployment, or, if you want to be super wonky, U-6.

As of October, the broader unemployment rate was 14.6 percent. Some 22 million people fell into this category, roughly twice the number counted in the basic unemployment figure. That's well below the peak of 28 million from a few years ago — but it's far higher than it was in October of '06, when the number hit its pre-recession low.

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