The District’s unemployment rate “rose dramatically” to over 11% last month, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. There were about 36,000 Washingtonians without jobs in August.
11% is certainly not pretty, but D.C.’s actual unemployment rate is probably higher, because the unemployment rate that appears in the newspaper is often misleading.
The problem? It doesn’t include what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “marginally attached workers”—people who want a job, but aren’t looking because they don’t think there’s much chance of getting one. Also left out are those who are involuntarily working part-time.
The BLS calculates D.C.’s “U-6” unemployment rate which includes these folks, but only every year. Over the past year, the District had a U-6 rate of 12%, but that was when conventional unemployment averaged only 8%. Apply this ratio to today’s number, and you’re looking at a city with 16.5% of people unable to find adequate work.