By MORTIMER B. ZUCKERMAN, US News and World Report
September 9, 2012
Don’t be fooled by the headline unemployment number of 8.1 percent announced on Friday. The reason the number dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July was not because more jobs were created, but because more people quit l
The number for August reflects only people who have actively applied for a job in the past four weeks, either by interview or by filling an application form. But when the average period of unemployment is nearly 40 weeks, it is unrealistic to expect everyone who needs a job to keep seeking work consistently for months on end. You don’t have to be lazy to recoil from the heartbreaking futility of knocking, week after week, on closed doors. How many people are out of work but not counted as unemployed because they hadn’t sought work in the past four weeks? Eight million. This is the sort of distressing number that turns up when you look beyond the headline number.
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