Unemployment Is In Pretty Good Shape No Matter How You Look At It

I have no special reason for posting this except that a few folks were discussing it in my Twitter feed. The proximate stimulus was an old piece by Gallup’s CEO claiming that the standard unemployment rate is a “lie” because it doesn’t count people who aren’t looking for work, or who are forced to work part time, etc. So here’s the U6 unemployment rate, which includes all those things:

Since 1994, when the series begins, the average U6 rate has been 10.7 percent. Today it’s 9.7 percent. But even at that, it’s about a point higher than the average during the last two expansions and two points higher than its best during the Bush era. In other words, it could still stand to drop another point or two, but it’s really in pretty good shape. Jobs are out there for most people who want them. Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone burbling about how unemployment is really way worse than the government is telling you.