1 out of 8 U.S. workers isn’t

533,000 jobs lost in November.  The last time the U.S. labor market had a month that bad, it was 1974 and I was nine years old.

And if those figures aren’t bad enough, the accompanying Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report is even gloomier.  Add in the “phantom unemployed” (discouraged job-seekers who’ve given up looking for work) and the “underemployed” (people involuntarily working part time instead of full time), and the more broadly measured unemployment rate is 12.5%.

Dean Baker says the BLS’s revised unemployment numbers, due out sometime next summer, will be even worse, because these preliminary estimates include likely inflated guesstimates of job numbers at new firms.  Once we have unemployment insurance records to check those estimates against, the unemployment rate for November 2008 can be expected to be higher.

(updated 8 December 2008 )

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