The government said Friday that the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent, but you might hear some people say that the "real" jobless rate is more like 15 percent.
Chances are, they’re talking about what the government calls an “alternative measure of labor underutilization.” It’s intended to be a more comprehensive look at people who are out of work plus those who have a job but would like a better one.
The broadest measure of labor underutilization hit 14.9 percent in June. That's up slightly from 14.8 percent in May and 14.5 percent in April. Still, it’s an improvement from this time last year, when that measure was at 16.2 percent.
All figures are adjusted for seasonal workforce variations.
That measure includes the more than 12 million people who are classified as unemployed, meaning they don’t have a job but are available for work and actively looking for employment.
But it also includes people who the government describes as “marginally attached” to the labor force. That means that they want a job but haven’t looked for one recently because they don’t think there are jobs out there for them.
In addition, it factors in people who are involuntarily working part time. That means they’d like to find a full-time job, or to get more hours at their current job, but they haven’t been able to do either of those things.
Are you feeling discouraged by the job market these days? Tell us about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.