John Williams’ Shadow Stats site ( looks at various government reported financial estimates and shows how these estimates are skewed and inaccurate. The following chart shows how the government reported unemployment numbers can be interpreted when basing these numbers in reality:

Chart of U.S. Unemployment

As you can see, the current unemployment rate could be a whopping 16%!

The government numbers, on the other hand are available at:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

To summarize: Employed persons consist of:

  •  All persons who did any work for pay or profit during the survey week.
  •  All persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-operated enterprise.
  •  All persons who were temporarily absent from their regular jobs because of illness, vacation, bad weather, industrial dispute, or various personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off.
    Unemployed persons are:
  •  All persons who did not have a job at all during the survey week, made specific active efforts to find a job during the prior 4 weeks, and were available for work (unless temporarily ill).
  •  All persons who were not working and were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off need not be looking for work to be classified as unemployed.


    The current government reported unemployment rate is 6.5%, which is the highest percentage of unemployed in 14 years. Employers shed 240,000 jobs in October, and the toll in September was far worse than previously reported — 284,000, up from an initial reading of 159,000:,0,7272359.story
    Many predict that the unemployment rate could rise to 8% during 2009.
    Update 12-15-08: Mike: I’ll add pertinent UE information to this post as it comes across:

    As U.S. jobs disappear at a rapid clip, the official unemployment figure seems understated. While November’s 6.7% rate is a full 2% higher than the same time last year, the rate remains well below the 10.8% postwar peak, reached in November 1982. One issue is that the official unemployment number captures only a slice of the total joblessness in the U.S. To be counted as unemployed in this statistic, a worker must not have a job, be currently available for work, and have actively sought employment within the last four weeks. In other words, a lot of the jobless are left out of the government’s tally.

    via Unemployment: Worse Than it Looks – BusinessWeek.


    Mike: The following article highlights how most workers aren’t able collect unemployment. While many of these workers may have been fortunate enough to find employment quicklyin good times, they will have a much more difficult time securing wmployment this time around. I’ll write more about this as I gather the information.

    Contractors, such as many 1099s,  aaren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, which could lower that 37% further. More as I get some facts:


    Only 37% of those laid off collect unemployment benefits:

    On Friday, when the Chrysler plant in Newark, Del., shut its doors, more than 1,000 autoworkers joined the ranks of the unemployed.

    At least they will be able to get unemployment insurance.

    Most jobless workers can’t.

    Across the U.S., only 37 percent of workers who lose their jobs typically collect unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department statistics.

    They often miss out because they didn’t earn enough while working, or their work history was not continuous enough to make them eligible under state unemployment laws

    via Many laid off get no benefits | Richmond Times-Dispatch.


    Mike: Some interesting stats and information concerning various state unemployment bebefit packages:

    *The federal average weekly benefit is $293 a week, and about 38% of the jobless receive payments, but state by state the numbers vary wildly. Mississippi joins Puerto Rico on the low end of the spectrum. Its weekly maximum is $210, with weekly payments averaging $180.77 going to about a quarter of that state’s jobless. In South Dakota and Texas, just 18% and 20% of the unemployed receive benefits, respectively. That compares with Massachusetts’ average weekly benefit of $383.77 to 57% of its jobless workers, or Hawaii’s $414.17 average weekly payment and 42% recipient rate.

    via Jobless Benefits, State by State – BusinessWeek.


    Here are some of the reported job loss headlines over the past couple days:


    Paccar layoff will leave few workers in Renton: Paccar’s Kenworth manufacturing plant in Renton will be a shadow of its former self in January, when 430 workers are laid off as the company copes with a major slump in sales of heavy-duty trucks: (
    Manpower expects mass layoffs globally: “Without being melodramatic but realising that facing reality does help, there’s been a speed which has taken our breath away in how fast this has slowed down,” said Mr Joerres.
    Report Predicts 40,000 Lost Jobs in Connecticut
    No One Wants an Invitation to a Layoff Event:According to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
    1,330 extended mass layoffs occurred in the third quarter, 312 more than in 2007. About 218,000 workers were part of these layoffs, against 160,000 in 2007. These people were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days, but let’s be realistic: a lot of them will never be called back to work.
    ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. on Tuesday announced plans to slash hundreds of area jobs while rival Steelcase Inc. warned it may shed 300 workers as both brace for effects of the global economic downturn.:
    With Sun’s job cuts, tech sector layoff toll in ’08 hits 140,000
    About 110 workers at Beta Steel face layoffs,beta.article
    Georgia-Pacific to lay off 120 workers 
    at Roxboro facility
     – 11/15/08:
    Cessna to lay off 500; company blames economy’s rapid slide
    Southern Seven Health Department Plans To Close Clinics And Layoff Employees Due To State’s Backlog On Paying Bills:
    Sun Microsystems to Lay Off up to 6,000 Workers, Re-Focus on Open Source Market:
    ABX Air said Friday it will lay off 158 employees, starting immediately and extending through Jan. 14:
    Kinro Inc. – which makes aluminum and vinyl windows and doors for recreational vehicles and manufactured homes – will layoff 143 workers here and mothball its plant until business picks back up.:
    PULASKI COUNTY– The Southern Seven Health Department will soon lay off 60 people, close several facilities and cut services. The director says the state owes the department more than $400,000.:
    BOSTON – Shawmut Design and Construction, in a reversal of its outlook a few months ago, has announced plans to lay off an undisclosed number of employees.
    Whirlpool layoffs begin today in Fort Smith Posted: Nov 14, 2008 05:07 PM:

    QVC Cuts Workforce By 160; Plans To Layoff 750 More – Update:
    I hope to do a daily update and I hope that readers submit layoff notices and their affect on them, their families and their communities.

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