Did you know that the unemployment rate — as high as it is — is actually very much understated? It doesn’t include those who are out of work but have given up trying to find a job.
This puzzles me.
Oh, I see the rationale for not counting those who have abandoned their job searches (the information gets harder to collect and maintain, and you enter into the farther regions of statistics), but, nevertheless, they certainly do remain unemployed.
What puzzles me is the ability to remain permanently jobless. I don’t think my wife would let me make that choice. And even if she did, without income where would we get the money to pay the mortgage or buy food?
There’s unemployment insurance, which helps tide folks over when they lose a job. Yet, a condition for receiving unemployment benefits is continuing to actively seek a new job.
Like many, we could fall back on family and friends. But I’d feel bad enough about that if I was pounding the pavement every day in search of gainful employment. I can’t imagine doing so without any intention of landing a position and getting back on my own two feet.
So what can we conclude about folks who don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one? There are apparently a lot of rich folks out of work.
This yields the unwelcome-to-many conclusion that, in America, everyone is rich. Inequality notwithstanding.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.