The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December—but does that rate tell the real story?
A number of economists look past the “main” unemployment rate to a different figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “U-6,” which it defines as “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.”
In other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged — a rate which still remains high.
The U-6 rate was unchanged in December at 13.1 percent. While it is down 130 basis points from January, the trend over the course of 2013 was more volatile than in the main unemployment rate, which steadily declined.