The Real Unemployment Numbers: December, 2009

Donald Vreeland puts these numbers together each month at

Total Employable: 236.924 million

Total Idle: 99.132 million

Percentage Idle to Total Employable: 41.8% (actually not working — not 10.0% unemployment rate!)

Total Searching for Work ("Unemployed"): 15.267 million

Total Working: 137.792 million

Total Part Time Workers: 27.529 million.

Total Working Full Time: 110.263 million

Total Not Working Full Time: 126.661 million

Potential Percentage Increase in Full Time Workers: 114.9%

Percentage Total Full Time Worker to Population: 35.75% (They are supporting 308.466 million Americans! About one worker supports three Americans and two aren’t working full time!)

Percentage Working to Total Population: 44.67% (One person supports more than two Americans, and one isn’t working!)

Percentage "Unemployed" to Total Idle: 15.40% (Less than 1/6 of the idle!)

Percentage Working Full Time to Total Work Force: 46.54%

Percentage Working to Total Employable: 58.2

Percentage Working Part Time to Working Full Time: 24.97%


Joe Grabowski Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 3:17:00 PM CST  

Dr. Medaille,

Do we know where these statistics came from? For example, what is the authors' definition of "employable." Are they including teenagers as potentially full-time employees? (I mean, under a certain economic paradigm, that would work.)

Just curious...

Robert Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 3:21:00 PM CST  

It appears mothers and other full-time caretakers are counted as "idle"?

Anonymous,  Friday, January 15, 2010 at 8:09:00 PM CST  

236 million is far too high for "employable" surely? How many men of working age are there in the US? How many women who do not wish to be housewives?

Anonymous,  Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 6:28:00 AM CST  

Indeed, where in these statistics are homemaking wives-and-mothers placed?

They can hardly be considered 'idle,' for their labor and sacrifice is key to the foundation of the family, which is the primary economic unit and the whole reason for the workaday world in the first place.

Brien Hartung

P.S - I am probably preaching to the choir to some degree, if so I apologize. I mean no disrespect.

John Médaille Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 9:07:00 AM CST  

All of the posts which suggest that all of the "unemployed" are not really unemployed are correct. However, Donald's intention was merely to show that the unemployment numbers are unreliable. From that standpoint, I think he is correct.

Ian Matthews Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 3:36:00 AM CST  

Sorry - but a principle of Distributism is for a family to function on a single wage. Therefore the total number employable in any country is the total number of families, plus the number of single people. Then there will be people unable to work, but willing, as they are either caring for someone who is disabled, or are disabled themselves.

When added up, this will be significantly lower than the number quoted.

Also, the use of the prejorative term Idle lacks charity - another principle of Distributism.

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