The Real Underemployment Figure Is 22.5%

Ever get the feeling that things are a lot worse than everyone is letting on?

Officially the unemployment rate is 9.6%, but there’s a lot more people out of work than that. If you add on top of that people who have dropped out of the labor-force, as well as people who work part-time but would prefer full-time if they could get it, AND people who have been out of work for over a year, as economist John Williams has done, you get a whopping 22.5% underemployment rate for September.

With hiring in the pits, now is a good time to start on that side business you’ve been dreaming about. You can do it by just setting aside one hour a day to work for yourself.

Alternate Unemployment Charts [Shadowstats via Barron's]

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  1. Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

    I’ll believe that. It took me 16 months to find a job (3/09-7/10) and I wasn’t being picky.

    • Sparty999 says:

      I was lucky to only take 45 days… wish I could have been pickier… Loved the job I lost… “like” this one.

    • ElizabethD says:

      Took my husband two years. And he had to move out of state to finally get a job, and commute home on weekends.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      also took me two years (august 08 to aug 10) and with a degree…but I’m not even working in my field…love the job though…working from home at a virtual call center rocks harder than you can imagine!

  2. jdmba says:

    It is WELL known that people who work part time, underemployed, fell off the unemployment roles due to finishing their extended extensions, etc. are off the roles.

  3. TuxthePenguin says:

    Yes, the 22% number is shocking, but look at the graph to see how that is different from the “boom” times in the late 90s and mid-2000s. Even then (these GREAT times) that number was 10-15%. Its increased roughly 7%. The nominal unemployment rate has risen about 5% (from low of ~4.5% to what is now about ~9.6%)

    • qwickone says:

      Sorry, have to do it… You’re talking about percentage points, not percent. For example, if something increased from 10% to 20%, it increased 100% or 10 percentage points. So unemployment and underemployment have increased about 100%.

      • sonneillon says:

        True but the soul of his post remains true. It is disingenuous to compare the real unemployment numbers of today with the nominal unemployment during boom time which many people do.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        True, true, my mistake, but it actually makes my point stronger.

        “Official” Unemployment went from 5% to 10% – that’s a 100% increase.

        U6 went from 13% to 22% – that’s 70% increase.

    • DanRydell says:

      And this is why all of the people who started trumpeting U6 since the recession started are a bunch of idiots. Raw unemployment percentages don’t mean a whole lot to people, they’re only really useful in comparisons. We don’t use U3 because we want to obscure the “true” unemployment rate, we use it because it can be easily compared to unemployment rates from the past. Also, it would be silly to include people who are employed in the unemployment rate, even if they wish they had better jobs.

    • jesusofcool says:

      While these stats are shocking I’m not sure I totally believe it. We have 5 positions available at my company right now – some have been open for awhile. We’ve had lots of applicants but very few qualified ones. We need people who have knowledge of more than one facet of the industry or who have experience using the specialized software we use.
      There was an economist on Jon Stewart recently who suggested that the economy isn’t going downhill, it’s changing. That recovery would be helped if the government or corporations put more money towards helping people in dying sectors retrain or build skill sets that are in demand.

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        Every time employment is brought up a number of people bring up all the jobs at their company they are unable to fill. The fact that there are a lot of jobs out there is becoming more and more meaningless as job specialization becomes insane. In my field and subject area there are less than 50 people doing my job in the US. In my field but any subject area that number is probably 5,000, but I would not be hired for the vast majority as I do not have credentials in that subject area. Beyond my specific field there are tens of thousands of jobs that I could easily do yet every employer is looking for that perfect candidate with matching skills that already has the experience. The concept of training someone or letting them learn a professional position is foreign at this point.

        • webweazel says:

          Very true. I’ve seen those ads where they want someone with a specific long list of qualifications. I have laughed at some of these, because I figure there MIGHT be ONE guy in the US who could fill that job. I think they do it as an excuse to get the Visas to hire workers from other countries.
          If the positions really need to be filled, hire someone who has a few of those qualifications, and give them a shot at least. You might be surprised.
          I have a degree and 10+ years of experience in a specific field, although it’s a type of job available all around the country. I got an interview, through word of mouth, for a totally unrelated type of specialized job. (because of a hobby I mentioned I did when I was younger at a different interview) It sounded rewarding and fun, so I told the interviewer, “Give me 3 months. If it doesn’t work out, we can part ways, no hard feelings.” He gave me a shot at it, and I loved it so much, I learned everything I could about it and stayed there for 3 years, until I had to move. Surprisingly, many of the skills from my other career translated right over to the new one! I now have a whole new career, one that is not available everywhere, but the skills I now have make me more valuable, and I like to share those skills with whoever wants to learn them. I am a happier person because of it.
          Why not give a 3 month lower-paid temporary “apprenticeship” and see what happens?

          • RvLeshrac says:

            If it doesn’t work out, the problem is that you now have this three-month stain on your resume. If you choose not to report it, you have an even bigger three-month *hole* on your resume.

            There are too many employers who seem to be saying “We won’t hire anyone who isn’t already working.” It is *incredibly* risky to take a job that may not pan out, unless you’re in dire straights, because those same employers *also* won’t hire anyone who hasn’t been working at the same place for a number of years.
            —-

            And yes, jesusofcool, your company is *exactly* what’s wrong with the economy right now. Business who refuse to put any money into training. Your company could *easily* fill all of those positions by finding competent individuals in similar or related fields and training them up. As an added bonus, those employees would be substantially more loyal than someone who walked in with all the experience and training in that specific area.

      • Jevia says:

        The problem is that corporations don’t want to pay to train people for these positions. They want someone already trained and ready to pop into the slot, or they really want to pay a foreign worker less for the position, but they have to claim they tried to find an American first before they can hire the visa’d foreign worker.

  4. ElizabethD says:

    And there are people like me whose longtime professional career jobs (on payroll with benefits, pension plans, health insurance, paid sick and vacation days etc.) were eliminated and are now working temporary, hourly-paid contract jobs with no benefits. We’re the recession nomads, hopping from no-benefits job to job — if we’re lucky — and on and off the unemployment rolls; repeat indefinitely.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I would consider that a more meaningful statistic – the rate of change of people moving from fulltime, benefits-filled jobs to temporary, fend-for-your-own-health jobs. I suspect that graph would show a sharp divergence against the official unemployment numbers.

    • Keter says:

      I was on that merry-go-round for a decade; in the decade before, I had 12 employers go belly up or be sold and my job eliminated. In one position, I was on my second day on what I thought was my “finally made it” job when the IRS showed up with the Sheriff to seize the place, and only my new-hire paperwork saved me! So this has been going on for a long time for some people.

      I ended up going out on my own; I’m barely making it, but at least I’m more in control of what happens to me and I don’t have to put up with abusive bosses and a horrible commute any longer.

  5. apd09 says:

    and once again this proves Marc Twain or Charles Wentworth Dilke (which ever you prefer) correct in saying “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    • Elcheecho says:

      wait what? what are you trying to say? i don’t get it.

      • dangermike says:

        I think what he’s trying to say is that 14% of all statistics are made up on the spot. I thought everybody knew that.

      • apd09 says:

        that statistics lie and liars use statistics. So what this person is trying to prove is that the generally accepted 9.8% unemployment number is not accurate because there are an additional 12.9% of people who are unemployed but actually working at part time jobs. So which stat do you want to call official for unemployment, the people who are not working at all (9.8%) or that number plus the people who are working just not full time (22.5%).

        When using statistics it is very easy to run them different ways and make the numbers say what you want.

        • Zowzers says:

          Its not that statistics are lies, its that they can not tell you facts.

          They can tell you odds, they can tell you trends; they can even tell you averages and tendencies. But they can never tell you facts.

  6. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    If you count the people who are working terrible full-time jobs but wish they had some lucrative career, the number jumps to probably 45%

    The reality is that we don’t really know and have no way of really knowing what the actual number is. The number is a moving target depending on what qualifiers you want to add. It’s all hype one way or the other. The official unemployment rate is too low, and this is obviously too high.

    • herbie says:

      Why is it “obviously” too high?

      • FrugalFreak says:

        Cause they want to pretend it is over and all the unemployed are just lazy folk. they are better people than anyone else.

        • whitecat says:

          I went to my second interview for a job I dearly want yesterday.

          The VP and department head spent nearly the entire hour talking about why I’ve been unemployed so long rather than about what I can do – as though it were MY fault that overprivileged asshats like him aren’t hiring the unemployed.

          People who are currently employed have no f*cking idea what it’s like out there.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Any employer who harps on your being out of work for an extended period of time, especially NOW, is not worth working for.

            They’re going to treat you like dirt. Obviously, the management is utterly out of touch with reality, and may be illiterate – I can think of no other explanation for the HR rep’s clear inability to read a newspaper. I’m not sure how they’ve managed to completely avoid all other news outlets, however.

    • Firethorn says:

      I’d say that the number would probably jump to 99%. I mean, how many people would say no to a raise?

  7. herbie says:

    Yeah, I’m one of the hidden 12%. Can’t find a job matching my skills – for any pay, I’m not picky – and can’t get hired in retail or food service because I”m “overqualified.” Got a nibble from Macy’s for seasonal part-time yesterday – first nibble in months, literally. Ran out of unemployment this summer. It’s so very ugly out there.

    • Tracer Bullet says:

      dumb down your resume

      • herbie says:

        I have, but I can’t just make shit up. It’s clear I was working “white collar” jobs. I also can in theory lie about how much $ I was making, but then what do I do when they ask how much I was making when they call for a reference? That’s what companies will usually only answer – did you work there, from when to when, how much did you make, are you eligible for re-hire. I’ve never worked a retail/food service job. Even in high school (two decades ago), I worked at the library.

    • tungstencoil says:

      Good luck to you :)

      • herbie says:

        Thanks! I’m very lucky in that even though we had to declare bankruptcy to do it, we now can manage (barely) on only my husband’s income. We’re not saving a dime, but we’re better off than so many. I’m also hobbled by the fact that we live on the opposite side of the city from where most of the white collar jobs are (we live very close to where my husband works) and many of those employers state outright in ads that you must live north of blablabla highway to be considered for a job. Their prerogative, of course – I understand that they have concerns about people commuting from too far away – but it would cost more than we can put our hands on to move, not to mention paying higher rent, and then the costs of my husband commuting back south to his job. So… jobs are thin on the ground where we live, which makes the search even harder.

  8. humphrmi says:

    Politicians are well aware that there are more numbers than the “U3″ unemployment rate; the government publishes everything including U6 (underemployment). Nobody is going to claim that our unemployment problem is “over” until U3 gets down to about 6 percent, and U6 gets down to about 10.

  9. sirwired says:

    Um… er… the people who have been out of work for a year, but are still looking, are already included in the official unemployment rate; this method double-counts them. Some of the people that have dropped out of the labor force are retired, and may have done so voluntarily. And I’m sure there are always part-time workers that want full-time jobs.

    • herbie says:

      No, they’re not. Unemployment rates are based on questionnaires given to those who are receiving benefits.

      http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#unemployed

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        The very source you cite states the opposite of that. The unemployment rate is NOT based on the number of people receiving benefits, and thus people losing benefits has no effect on the unemployment rate.

        “Some people think that to get these figures on unemployment, the Government uses the number of persons filing claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits under State or Federal Government programs. But some people are still jobless when their benefits run out, and many more are not eligible at all or delay or never apply for benefits. So, quite clearly, UI information cannot be used as a source for complete information on the number of unemployed.”

        Go back and read the section titled ‘Where do the statistics come from?’

  10. SlappyFrog says:

    This isn’t news: the official unemployment rate is well defined and has a number of known issues like this.

  11. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This makes me even more thankful to be married. It’s not just a support system; a lot of people would be in worse shape if it weren’t for the fact that they had a significant other who still had their job, and one income meant the mortgage was still paid or that everyone still had health insurance. When I lost my job, it was scary times and there was at least some peace of mind that we could eke by on one income, even if it wasn’t clear how long we would have to do that.

    Everyone go hug your significant other today.

    • tbax929 says:

      Those of us without one thank you for the reminder that we’re lonely and sad.

      NOT!

      Seriously, while I’m glad you enjoy marriage and the security you find in it, I would caution you not to condescend to your friends who aren’t married or in relationships. Some of us actually prefer single-hood. And we’re sick of being pitied for it, just like those of us who choose not to have kids are sick of being pitied for that, too.

      • v0rt says:

        Relax. Her comments were both benign and positive, directed toward a subset of people that (apparently) does not include you.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        In no way did I infer that those who aren’t in relationships are to be pitied or are sad or lonely in some way. Not sure why you interpreted it that way.

        And as far as me, personally, 99% of my friends are married and the few friends who aren’t have known me for the better part of a decade so if they suddenly start feeling pitied, that’s their fault, not mine. I didn’t pity them 3 years ago when both of us were single, and I haven’t pitied them since. If they feel that way, it’s not because of me.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Some people are super-sensitive to their single status and tend to over-react to any suggestion that life is superior for those who have significant others for support.

          Luckily, I am in a situation where, although I am single, I have a household support structure should something unfortunate happen, and I am happy and content to be without the hassle and headache of being in the dating game. Yay third wheels! It does not keep my mom and grandparents from occasionally inquiring, but at least my mom is *not* eager to be a grandmother again. Also helps that I never attend the weddings of my numerous, uncountable cousins, so none of those “who’s next?” digs.

      • nbs2 says:

        Whoa, whoa, whoa…relax for a second there cowboy.

        From where I stand, all it sounds like Pi is saying is that being married (or in a relationship) makes absorbing falling to the statistics a little easier to absorb. Granted, if both parties lose work it is worse (since you need to support two), but in most cases, one losing employment or benefits means that you can afford to keep going while the other gets sorted out. I spent the first three years after law school as a glorified temp. But for my wife, there would have been plenty of times where I wouldn’t have been sure if I could have sustained myself. Even now that I have a FT/perm job, we try to keep spending down to 1-1.5 persons worth of income, just in case.

      • dolemite says:

        I’ve been married for 2 years, and you know a lot of people are like “oh, marriage is great…I wouldn’t go back to being single for anything!”? Honestly, I love my wife, and I like being married, but I could also see being single again. It’s nice to be in total control of your finances, and not fight about money when one person is paying the majority of the bills, and the other person seems to be in charge of creating the majority of the bills…and you can stay up until 1 am occatsionally without it turning into a discussion into getting enough rest.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          That’s a problem with how everyone involved is handling the money and the responsibilities. I recall you talking about your marital problems in the past, and I remember it being an extremely sticky situation. I hope things are getting better for you.

      • frank64 says:

        I don’t like when parents use that as a reason why they can’t stay late and you have too. If I made the choice(at least at that time) not to have a family, why do I have to be inconvenienced by someone else’s ?

        One guy would get indignant if he had to stay a little beyond his eight hour day. “My family is more important than this job!!!” Well, isn’t this job important to your family?

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        There’s nothing that says your significant other can’t be a buddy or a friend. Man, even Romy had Michelle!

        My closest friend is single, and severely underemployed, and I thank God she has another close friend nearby who she can share groceries with – and move in with if things get really bad.

        I was single for a long, long time so I dig what you are saying… but frankly, I agree with Pi 100%. I’m glad we have that buffer. For a lot of people that buffer is their spouse or extended family. Others have friends. It’s just important you have someone.

    • craptastico says:

      funny that you bring this up. the other day i was wondering what would happen to unemployment if the country went back to the old style of 1 working spouse per household. theoretically it’d be cut dramatically, and since there’d be fewer workers, it’s possible that wages would go up (less supply, more demand for workers equals higher cost).

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I have thought about this, too. I don’t know if it’d work from a cultural standpoint. It’s one thing if you’re a stay at home parent (and that’s a choice one has to make), but if you’re not I just don’t see any reason to not work. Unless there’s a reason (children) and a choice (where previously there had been less of a choice), I don’t see how it would be acceptable again.

        I’m not a parent – why would I stay home? Even if I was a parent, I wouldn’t stay home. Economics aside, I don’t think our society would tolerate one non-working spouse as a cultural standard anymore.

        • winnabago says:

          Housing prices (still) don’t seem to want to let this happen – if only one of us in my family worked, we would be paying about 50% of my gross on mortgage/taxes. And we live in the exurbs, smallest house we could find, etc. This is in the northeast.

          • frank64 says:

            I think the rise in home prices is partly due to the double incomes. We seemed to do OK with single incomes before. That was before cell phones, computers, many things to take up some of our money. I think most of the benefits of the double income are eaten up by housing expenses and the other costs.

            • lettucefactory says:

              Yes, and someone wrote a compelling and depressing book about it, in fact: http://www.amazon.com/Two-Income-Trap-Middle-Class-Mothers/dp/0465090826

              Their reasoning is exactly what folks are stating here, especially regarding housing.

              • Verdant Pine Trees says:

                Well, strictly speaking, she was warning about an arms race. That’s another thing people need to consider. If you insist on being in the absolute best school district, you’re going to have to pay for it by paying for more expensive housing. I live in a good but not stellar school district (the grade school here is stellar, though); many people in the more expensive neighborhoods snipe about our diverse, middle middle class neighborhood. But they are paying for that top school district. Then again, we’re all in Texas where it’s all about teaching to the test (rolls eyes).

        • craptastico says:

          of course this would only work if each couple had 2.3 kids, otherwise somebody’s just being lazy.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Volunteer. Problem solved.

          Imagine if a significant percentage of the workforce was available to help the needy?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You know what’s not fun? Supporting your significant other.

      My savings has been stifled because of someone else’s work issues. Do I blame them? Fuck no. But it does put a real strain on my life, being the responsible type of person who is trying to build a healthy retirement account. It can really affect you emotionally to carry that burden.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Yeah. And even if it’s a deliberate decision, it’s difficult. One of my friends is a stay at home mom, and there was actually no financial reason why she should have continued working (daycare ate up about 95% of her modest income) but he carries a lot of the burden, being the only one to bring in the income. There’s a lot of emotional stress.

        • lettucefactory says:

          It’s hard. I’m like your friend – at the end of the month, I have about $150 left after you take out the cost of daycare for two kids. Really.

          And if you consider the cost of the second car (loan payment, insurance) we had to buy so that I could commute to work? We literally have less money every month than we did when I was a SAHM. It costs me money to work. I seriously want to cry when I think about it too much.

          But, I knew that going into it. The one thing I am doing by working is building retirement money, which I wasn’t able to do much of as a SAHM. Plus, I’m hoping that I’ll be more valuable to employers 5 years from now than I would be if I was still staying home. And it is also really nice to take the full burden off my husband. He is happier not carrying it all himself even if we both know we don’t actually see a dime from my employment at the moment.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        You know what’s fun? Having a significant other who is grateful to you for paying all the bills while they play video games and pretend to look at online sites for work, instead of one who throws things and loses their temper because they are “unhappy” you are more “successful” than they are.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Actually, that doesn’t sound fun either. Tell them to get their lazy ass off the couch and get a job.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            I told him to get his lazy ass out from behind the computer and get a home in another city. The Consumerist wrinkle? Folks, don’t wait ten damn years after the day they quit school and fail to make any pretense of looking for a job.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Misleading shock value.

    If you use his data, the underemployment rate before the Recession was 14% and nearly doubled to 22.5%, while the official unemployment rate also doubled.

    So, the factor of underemployment to unemployment never changed.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      But more people are experiencing either underemployment or unemployment, which is a big problem.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Not disagreeing with that statement in the least. But yelling out “Un[der]employment is really at 22.5%. The government is lying to you, and we’re really all doomed. The economy is in the tank! Oh noes!!!” doesn’t help the situation.

        Underemployment has always been a problem, and larely ignored. Bringing light to it now doesn’t really do anything to help.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          True. I’ve been underemployed before (see my comments on Walmart post). I needed to pay the bills and had just graduated with a computer degree when the tech market crashed. Too many people with more experience than me out of work meant it was HARD to find a job. Fortunately my job as a Walmart cashier allowed me to see people I knew and one of them told me about a job and I got out of there but I know many other people who are underemployed. At some point you take what you can get so you can pay the bills.

  13. evnmorlo says:

    Subtract the worthless government positions from the total and it’s probably more than 50%.

  14. eligiblebachelor says:

    This is a pretty good piece on how the U-3 vs U-6 unemployment numbers work http://careerpurgatory.com/2010/09/06/decoding-the-true-unemployment-rate/

  15. areaman says:

    But how is this news? Many many people already know to get the real unemployement figure.

    It’s official figure x 2 = Real employement.

  16. MonkeyMonk says:

    Until people start putting pressure on companies who outsource jobs that Americans would be happy to do than the unemployment rate is going to continue to rise. That’s the cost of banking in a system where companies will turn on their own consumers in order to shave a few dollars off the bottom line.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      I always want to ask this question to those who argue against “outsourcing” jobs. Are you willing to…

      1. Work for $5 per hour at a hot, dirty factory, or
      2. Pay 400% more (ie, 5x) for most of the products you use.

      Realistically, its probably much more for #2, considering that the cost per employee in China and India is far, far less than what it is here.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Except if we never began outsourcing in the first place, salaries would also be higher to compensate for higher prices. It would have worked itself out just fine.

        Outsourcing allowed the U.S. to have an artificial boom. It’s unsustainable; as developing countries become more-developed, the advantage of outsourcing will diminish.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        the cost per employee in China and India is far, far less than what it is here

        But it is going up.

  17. Anonymously says:

    It looks like unemployment has been virtually flat for about a year, which is a improvement over the rampant growth of the previous year.

  18. CBenji says:

    Sadly our country is in a sad state and it doesn’t matter who you vote for as the Democrats managed to ram through a health care bill that sucks because it doesn’t go far enough at all and the Republicans keep running ads complaining about it. Funny but Australia has health care and they have jobs too. We have temp jobs, but few and far between and people who get those can’t afford to get sick. Yet most people think this is the greatest country on earth. Yeah right. We are certainly sinking. Please don’t bombard me and tell me everyone should pay for their own health care because obviously you haven’t ever been sick and about ready to have your insurance kick you off then either, and quite frankly I will think you are an imbecile because this happens to people everyday. So you just need to wake up. Plus I believe if we had universal health care costs would come down because the insurance companies are raping us.

    • frank64 says:

      You seem to have a very simplistic view, I think you will think me an imbecile.

      There are problems with insurance companies, but they are not the main problem. I think the insurance system allows for price increases beyond what would normally be allowed. The insurance companies went along with the health care bill because they had maxed us out personally, and now want more gov involvement for the added income. This allows the whole health care industry to raise prices without regard to normal economics. It is the whole industry and not just the insurance companies.

      Putting our employers in the mix also hurt, it also contributed to hiding the true costs from us and allowed for higher and higher costs.Our whole system makes for many middlemen to blame and that adds to making price increases allowable. Drug companies continue to raise their prices way above inflation. Can’t blame the insurance companies for that.

      • Total Casual says:

        Very insightful comment. The situation with health care reminds me of the situation in education, where costs are growing out-of-control.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Your two opinions don’t sound mutually exclusive.

        You have a good point that insurance companies can continue to gouge us and now just blame the red herring – health care reform.

        The fact of the manner – how it all boils down – is that not-for-profit health care will always be cheaper than private insurance. There’s no debate on that, even if people wish to start one. It’s always cheaper because there are no stock holders and executives making obscene money from their business. Publicly-run options have all profit put back into the system, and thus are cheaper.

        • TehLlama says:

          Not-for-profit will indefinitely be cheaper at maintaining the status quo of medical care, but the for profit dynamo, despite a tendency for terrible side effects, is entirely responsible for the quality of care that is available today.

          When both systems compete with each other fairly, then you can have fantastic results (think banks and credit unions), but when you have one organization trying to force one by dictat, or one which also happens to make the rules by which both systems play, then conflict of interest will always default that the only option.

          Regulatory and tort costs have been the primary driver in health costs that are preventable (demographics can’t be helped), and neither party really has put anything positive forward in that regard – but what can one expect when putting lawyers in charge of doctors?

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Except, of course, that wouldn’t happen at all, since health care legislation has *nothing to do* with medical research. It focuses purely on the end-user costs, over half of which is administrative.

            When everyone is paying into a massive insurance pool, costs go down for everyone. You no longer have a small insured segment of the population footing the bill for the majority of the country which doesn’t have insurance.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Obama had the opportunity to ram through any health care bill he wanted. Any! And THIS is what he came up with?! He could have chosen a model from almost any civilized country and done better. I’m starting to wonder if the R’s collect money from lobbies to prevent change and D’s collect the same for not implementing change.

      Most of the fix we are in is due to Wall St. scammers and W’s personal trillion dollar war in Iraq. I’d say W milked this country dry, not like the last time (S&L scam). Having signed over huge contracts to rebuild Iraq to Cheney’s company prior to even starting a war and then trying to write a seven hundred billion dollar blank check on his way out of the WH as he left, I’d say milked dry. Of course, once the smell of money wafted over congress, everybody had to get his hand in the pie.

      The best thing about this article is it gives me more incentive to start my own business.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Obama wanted a bill that both sides could agree on. His mistake was thinking the Republicans would agree with that idea. His mistake, it seems, was to assume Congress cares about their constituents more than they care about getting re-elected, and more than caring about “winning” whatever they thought that meant in this context.

        In retrospect, he probably would have pushed it through.

    • CBenji says:

      No Frank64 I think you had a good comment. The Insurance companies are the first people on my list. They have gotten out of control. My experience was working for a company where I had to deal with employees who were not getting the bills paid on a daily basis because doctors would have “supposed” coding issues. Doctors would have to continually hire more and more people to deal with it. Now of course we have all kinds of unemployment so I don’t know what would happen if this were streamlined, but it should be. I do feel like Obama screwed up, but it was certainly not just that. Several Democratic Senators and house members were idiots and didn’t have any back bone. Also our entire health care industry needs an overhaul. Don’t get me started on education as I can still remember being in biology class in high school and listening to entire lectures on a tractor, or something not even relative to what we were studying. Teachers are much less likely to be removed for incompetent than any other profession and that is just ridiculous.

      My problem is that there are plenty of people that claim we can’t afford health care, or better “socialized health care.” Canada has it, Australia, the UK. Our dollar used to be worth more than Canada, but it no longer is. I think we are sinking. I don’t think that is the only reason that we are sinking, but if socialized medicine is what makes country sink why aren’t those countries?

  19. bluejena says:

    This seems quite accurate. I was laid off from my day job (middle school teacher) but still teach in a local Community Ed program in the evenings. I’m not considered “unemployed” (though the state of MA does allow me to collect a supplementary amount from unemployment insurance for a limited period of time) but I’m certainly not making a liveable income.

  20. somegraphx says:

    My husband has exceeded 52 weeks and my dad and best friend just joined the 99ers. I’ve freelanced for the last 15 years and haven’t ever seen it this bad for people who want to be employed. Ironically, I’ve been swamped with work because of the fact that no one wants employees. BUT, some of the hourly rates have dropped by 10-20$. I’ve gotten calls for 20$/hr and I have 15+ years and a Master’s degree. I made more than that when I was a jr. graphic designer just out of college.

    I don’t think the economy will ever recover to the way things had been. If there is any bright side to this, it’s that I feel that some of worship over the overspending and materialistic lifestyles aren’t as popular.

  21. Extended-Warranty says:

    I hate any kind of unemployment number. There really is no way to track such a thing. What about people who choose not to work? Is part time really considered unemployed? Not everyone wants full time. I personally know lots of lazy people who wouldn’t be considered “employed”, but they will never change their status, even if given the chance.

    We all know employment is bad. There’s no jobs out there.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      “Unemployed” means just that. It doesn’t matter if they’re unemployed by choice or circumstance, they’re not gainfully employed.

      Very simple metric.

  22. FrugalFreak says:

    We’ll Duh! now imagine you have a mental illness and you are job hunting in the backwards state of Alabama? 99.9% IMPOSSIBLE

  23. xrmb says:

    Holy S… how’s that possible? I’ve about twenty friends (outside of work environment of course), and nobody is unemployed.

  24. John B says:

    “…but there’s a lot more people out of work than that…”

    People = plural

    There ARE a lot more people out of work than that

    Signal for the flamers who can’t tell the difference to now (split infinitive) pop up out of the cracks….

  25. Karenpuppy says:

    I was unemployed for almost two years (6/08 – 4/10) and now have a job that pays me less than what I made 10 years ago. I’ve seen this trend happening to a lot of people I know. If you lose your job, be prepared to have your earnings set back a decade once you re-enter the workforce…just b/c employers CAN do that to you and get away with it.