Unemployment Rate Is Down...Or Is It?

The news has been reporting that the unemployment numbers are down to the lowest point in 28 years. As of April, the national U3 unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, with my home state of New Hampshire seeing an unemployment rate of 2.8%.

Sounds great, right? Too bad the numbers the government is using doesn't tell the whole story.

The U6 unemployment rate which includes both those who are still collecting unemployment benefits as well as those whose benefits have run out, those have taken jobs that are well below those they held prior, and those who are working part time while still looking for full time employment, and those who have given up looking for work shows us things aren't all that rosy.

The U6 unemployment rate is always higher than the U3 rate, but historically has been about 3 percentage points higher than the U3 rate. Right now it stands at 4.2 percentage points higher, though one non-governmental organization – Gallup – puts the U6 rate as high 14.1%, or 9.7 percentage points higher than the U3 rate.

We still have a Labor Participation Rate that is as low as it has been for 40-some years. Our workforce is also aging, with more Baby Boomers not retiring, either through necessity or because they don't want to retire. We have the millennials, probably one of the least ambitious generations entering the workforce, who are either unwilling to get jobs or are woefully unprepared for the jobs that are out there. (Useless degrees whose title ends with the word “Studies” usually leaves such a college grad qualified to work only as a barista, pizza delivery driver, or Uber/Lyft driver – assuming that even own a car - and not much else.)

What will truly turn around our unemployment problems? All it takes is a couple of things, the biggest getting government off the backs of businesses, particularly small businesses. Another – drop the confiscatory corporate tax rate to be more in line with the rest of the world and let the American businesses with trillions of dollars sitting in banks overseas to repatriate those funds. That kind of money pumped back into the economy through investment would do more to grow the economy, and the jobs that go with that growth than any new 'programs' that regulate the bejeezus out of businesses, big or small.

But that's just my opinion, backed up with decades of historical perspective that too many of our tax/spend/regulate-to-death “betters” choose to ignore.