“The nation’s official jobless rate is 5.9%, a relatively benign level by historical standards. But economists say that figure paints only a partial — and artificially rosy — picture of the labor market.
To begin with, there are the 8.7 million unemployed, defined as those without a job who are actively looking for work. But lurking behind that group are 4.9 million part-time workers such as Gluskin who say they would rather be working full time — the highest number in a decade.
There are also the 1.5 million people who want a job but didn’t look for one in the last month. Nearly a third of this group say they stopped the search because they were too depressed about the prospect of finding anything. Officially termed ‘discouraged,’ their number has surged 20% in a year.
Add these three groups together and the jobless total for the U.S. hits 9.7%, up from 9.4% a year ago.”
Don’t forget the huge number of people in prisons now.