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May 6, 2012

stealth-tomato says: Your post of the unemployment/underemployment graph is missing important context from the article: The 2006 numbers are from a significant economic bubble, and thus are lower than long-term levels are likely to ever be.

» SFB says: While it’s true it was a period of great growth, the “important context” from the article is mentioned in passing at best: "… it’s still much closer to where it was at the depth of the recession than to where it was at the peak of the boom/bubble of the mid aughts." 

But and with that in mind, we’d like to point out the U-16 unemployment number, which includes long-term and short-term, remained fairly low over a long period of time, staying below 11 percent for more than a decade prior to the current economic crisis — reaching below 8 percent for a sustained period during the latter half of the Clinton years. 2006 wasn’t even the lowest point in the past 18 years. Here’s an Excel chart we gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted.

Underemployment is not tracked in that table, so to go with that, here’s a 2008 BLS graphic showing unemployment versus part-time underemployment. Click to see the full document:

As you’ll see, the unemployment and underemployment charts follow roughly the same curves over the 1994-2008 period. But all of this is to say that the bubble wasn’t particularly out of whack over the period that came before it in the chart we reblogged. The current level we’re at is basically insane, even after the recent decline, and the 14 years that came before prove it. — Ernie @ SFB

0:46 // 2 years ago