The real US unemployment rate is 16 percent if persons who have dropped out of the labor pool and those working less than they would like are counted, a Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.You've got to love that disclaimer, because what he said cannot really be argued with. It's a simple fact that if one chooses the Fed's U-6 Number instead of its U-3 Number as representative of "real" unemployment, then the unemployment is 16%. The reason we no longer use a number similar to U-6 is because ... wait for it ... the unemployment rate would be 16%.
"If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking -- so-called discouraged workers -- and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent, said Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart.
He underscored that he was expressing his own views, which did "do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee," the policy-setting body of the central bank.
The "colleagues" on the FOMC won't argue with his math, but they would be very embarrassed if more people understood it.