While out and about doing workshops, the conversation inevitably turns to the current state of the economy (not surprising since they are econ workshops). At some point someone will ask about the unemployment rate, maybe want to know what the current rate is or when the number will start to fall (If I could predict this accurately I would be living here of course). From here things always play out the same way. Somebody will say, "The unemployment rate is currently whatever.whatever%" at which point someone else will say, "Yeah, but that does not tell the whole picture because a lot of people aren't counted".
Well, it turns out the current unemployment rate is 10.2% and when you factor in all of those folks out there that are "not counted" you get a number closer to 17.5%. This my friends is not good. More than one out of ten people in the work force is unemployed.
Look here for a very interesting interactive look at the unemployment numbers. Look here for a good look at the disparity in unemployment rates between young and old, male and female, black and white and Hispanic. Look here if you want to see the unemployment numbers by state. Look here if you are freaked out about the economy and you just want to change the subject to something happy.