HKS Affiliated Authors


June 5, 2020, Opinion, "The official unemployment rate rose from 3.5 percent in February to 13.3 percent in May (down from its value in April). Even this very large official increase understates the increase in the unemployment rate from a historically-comparable perspective because it counts an extra 4.9 million people who were “not at work for other reasons” as employed and also because 6.3 million people left the labor force since February, more than would be expected even conditional on this large increase in unemployment. Adjusting for these factors our “realistic unemployment rate” was 17.1 percent in May, down from the April value but still higher than any other unemployment rate in over 70 years."