Saturday, January 30, 2010

U6 is not the real unemployment rate

Cato says U6 is not the "real" unemployment rate.

I think U6 is attractive to permabears and "progressives" because it fits their pessimistic view of the world.

I don't think it matters whether you use U1, U2, U3, U4, U5, or U6, because they move in lock step with each other. Just pick one and stick with it. U3 is the official unemployment rate and is most widely reported.

What matters is not the unemployment rate per se, but the unemployment rate compared to the natural rate of unemployment (i.e. NAIRU, "full employment"). For U3, the natural rate of unemployment is about 5%, so when it's above that we know things are bad. If U3 falls much below 5%, inflation cometh. I don't know what the natural rate of unemployment is for U6, and I bet most people who insist on using it don't know either.


  1. Unemployment, both in the U.S. and the world as a whole, marches ever higher because the field of economics doesn't account for the relationship between population density and per capita consumption.

    Following the beating the field of economics took over the seeming failure of Malthus' theory about overpopulation, economists adamantly refuse to ever again consider the effects of population growth. If they did, they might come to understand that once an optimum population density is breached, further over-crowding begins to erode per capita consumption and, consequently, per capita employment.

    And these effects of an excessive population density are actually imported when a nation like the U.S. attempts to trade freely with other nations much more densely populated - nations like China, Japan, Germany, Korea and a host of others. The result is an automatic trade deficit and loss of jobs - tantamount to economic suicide.

    Using 2006 data, an in-depth analysis reveals that, of our top twenty per capita trade deficits in manufactured goods (the trade deficit divided by the population of the country in question), eighteen are with nations much more densely populated than our own. Even more revealing, if the nations of the world are divided equally around the median population density, the U.S. had a trade surplus in manufactured goods of $17 billion with the half of nations below the median population density. With the half above the median, we had a $480 billion deficit!

    If you‘re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, then I invite you to visit my web site at

    Pete Murphy
    Author, "Five Short Blasts"

  2. I think the U5 or U6 is a more realistic unemployment rate, saying no is saying that self employed, farm workers, etc. don't count! Basically being a lying politician trying to sugar coat the truth!