EconomPic did the graphic above and I think that this is the best way to look at the current unemployment sitch.
The scale on the right includes unemployed people that are not counted in the official number, such as those who have picked up part-time work, are working on a task-by-task basis or who have given up entirely and no longer report themselves as in the labor force.
The discouraged or dishonest unemployed are everywhere, especially in a city like New York where having been laid off or not being able to find a gig is looked at as something to be ashamed of and makes you highly unappealing to a potential mate.
I’ll give you a for instance…
A few weeks back I spent a happy hour afternoon at a midtown rooftop bar and ended up seeing a lot of old acquaintances I hadn’t been in touch with for awhile (no, I do not and will not use Facebook, thank you). There were ex-Bear Stearns guys, mortgage and real estate guys, advertising people and several ex-hedgies and traders. Not one of them would publicly acknowledge the fact that they were between jobs.
One guy, we’ll call him Jake, was an institutional trader for years up until this past winter when his division was chopped down. He is now telling people that he’s retired. He’s my age and from what I’m told, he couldn’t possibly have made enough money to be really retired. He spent the night telling every chick he could sidle up to about all the traveling he’s been doing during his “retirement”. Gross.
My suspicion that this was just face-saving BS was confirmed when he handed me a business card with his home address on it and asked me if there were openings on the trading desk at my shop.
How many other “Jakes” are running around Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, Charlotte, L.A. etc keeping up appearances?
Methinks quite a few. The published August unemployment rate from this morning of 9.7% is a fairy tale if it doesn’t include the discouraged and the deniers (shown here at 16.8%).