U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of May 4, 2012

Shortly after each monthly employment report I have been posting a continual series titled “3 Critical Unemployment Charts.”

Of course, there are many other employment charts that can be displayed as well.

For reference purposes, below are the U-3 and U-6 Unemployment Rate charts from a long-term historical perspective.  Both charts are from the St. Louis Fed site.  The U-3 measure is what is commonly referred to as the official unemployment rate; whereas the U-6 rate is officially (per Bureau of Labor Statistics) defined as:

Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

Of note, many economic observers use the U-6 rate as a (closer) proxy of the actual unemployment rate rather than that depicted by the U-3 measure.

Here is the U-3 chart, currently showing a 8.1% unemployment rate:

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 5-4-12)

Here is the U-6 chart, currently showing a 14.5% unemployment rate:


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 1369.10 as this post is written