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22 Million Americans Are Unemployed Or Underemployed

The economy added 88,000 jobs last month, according to today's disappointing jobs report. That's not even enough to keep up with population growth.

As of March, 11.7 million people were unemployed. But that number doesn't include people who were working part time because they couldn't find a full-time job. It also doesn't include people who wanted a job but haven't looked for work in the past four weeks.

There's another measure that does include these people, and it's one we've been following over the past few years. It's sometimes referred to as broader unemployment, or, if you want to be super wonky, U-6.

As of March, the broader unemployment rate was 13.8 percent. Some 21.9 million people fell into this category, roughly twice the number counted in the basic unemployment figure. That's well below the peak of 28 million from a few years ago — but it's far higher than it was in October of '06, when the number hit its pre-recession low.

Note: We updated this post this morning, when the latest jobs numbers came out.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and co-host of the Planet Money podcast. He is the author of the book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.
Lam Thuy Vo
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