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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."
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.
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.