December 6th, 2008

default, pepper

Is U-3 sort of like 4-F?

It’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wo… sorry, where was I?

I’ve been curiously unmotivated in job-seeking right now. It may in part be the time of the year; even in good economic times, November and December are bad times to be looking at anything other than seasonal retail work. (And in the current economic times I’m not sure how many stores are going to be laying out for that, either.) This isn’t to say I haven’t been looking, but the number of jobs worth applying to is small and the number of jobs returning calls is zero.

The economic figures aren’t encouraging either, of course; while the unemployment rate is at 6.7%, that’s misleading: since World War II, the BLS keeps narrowing the definition of “unemployed”: that 6.7% reflect 10.3M unemployed people. But it doesn’t count 1.9M “marginally attached” unemployed, who are people who for various reasons didn’t look for work in the last four weeks. There are statistics for these people, and discouraged workers (those who “have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job”), and for “persons employed part-time for economic reasons,” which is to say people who want full-time work but can’t get it. All these statistics are readily available:

Measure Nov 2007 Oct 2008 Nov 2008
U-3: Total unemployed as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate) 4.5 6.1 6.5
U-4: U-3 plus discouraged workers 4.7 6.4 6.8
U-5: U-4 plus all other marginally attached workers 5.3 7.1 7.6
U-6: U-5 plus all workers employed part-time for economic reasons 8.2 11.1 12.2

So, really, U-5 or U-6 are more realistic measures of unemployment. Don’t you feel better now?

(As an aside, I’d like to thank LiveJournal for adding things to their base.css style explicitly designed to screw up tables. Love you guys. Really.)

I’ve been working on Claw & Quill and being somewhat disgruntled at how far one has to actually go to show off something, but such is the way of web work—particularly when you’re starting from scratch on the design. I’m also wondering whether my idea that C&Q will be a good web development/design “portfolio” piece is naïve and/or quixotic; if it’s finished and nobody uses it, will that be a good calling card? If it’s finished and it’s full of (gasp) furry stuff, will that be a good calling card? Should I not worry about that until I actually get to the “finished” part? Probably.