Chart: What's the real unemployment rate?

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in June—but does that rate tell the real story?

A number of economists look past the "main" unemployment rate to a different figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls "U-6," which it defines as "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers."

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In other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged—a rate that still remains high.

The U-6 rate fell in June to 10.5 percent, the lowest it's been since July 2008.

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The trend in U-6 has been somewhat more volatile than in the main unemployment rate as well. The U-6 rate is down 150 basis points over the last year, versus a 80 basis point decline in the main rate (also known as U-3).

The U-6 rate has held firm in the double digits since June 2008. It most recently peaked at 17.1 percent in April 2010.

Year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9 8.8 8.9 9 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.3 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15 14.5 14.6 14.8 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.5 14.3 13.8 14 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.6 13.7 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.1 12 12.2 12 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11 10.9 10.8 10.8 10.5