In preparation for the release of new unemployment figures this month, Representative Duncan Hunter, joined by a group of House lawmakers, introduced the Real Unemployment Calculation Act today. The legislation requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to factor, as the primary measurement of unemployment by the federal government, individuals who give up looking for work--currently reflected in the U-5 calculation.
Under the latest U-3 calculation, which is considered the primary measurement of unemployment, the national rate is 8.3 percent. When factoring those who have given up looking for work, the unemployment rate jumps to 9.9 percent, providing a much clearer representation of unemployment nationwide. In California, the U-3 rate is 11.6 percent, while the U-5 rate is 13.4 percent.
"In order to effectively address the economic challenges we face, and confront the national unemployment situation, we must know the full extent of the problem," said Representative Duncan Hunter. "As some pundits and politicians cite a near 8 percent unemployment rate, they are purposely avoiding a subset of Americans who are not counted. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does in fact provide alternative measurements of unemployment, but they are consistently overshadowed by the U-3 rate, which ignores a large group of people. We need to be realistic and focus our attention on the figure that provides the most accurate representation of national unemployment--not the figure that under-represents the challenge we face."