Mike Wilkinson writes for the Detroit News,
Despite an official unemployment rate of 27 percent, the real jobs problem in Detroit may be affecting half of the working-age population, thousands of whom either can’t find a job or are working fewer hours than they want.
Using a broader definition of unemployment, as much as 45 percent of the labor force has been affected by the downturn.
And that doesn’t include those who gave up the job search more than a year ago, a number that could exceed 100,000 potential workers alone.
“It’s a big number, and we should be concerned about it whether it’s one in two or something less than that,” said George Fulton, a University of Michigan economist who helps craft economic forecasts for the state.
Mayor Dave Bing recently raised eyebrows when he said what many already suspected: that the city’s official unemployment rate was as believable as Santa Claus. In Washington for a jobs forum earlier this month, he estimated it was “closer to 50 percent.”
Although the government doesn’t produce an unemployment number that high, it’s not hard to get close.
Officially, the unemployment rate in Detroit was estimated at 27 percent in October. But that number does not include people working part-time who want full-time work, nor does it include “discouraged” workers, who have stopped looking for work. It also doesn’t include people who have gone back to school rather than search for a job.
‘Detroit’ by Gratuitous Art Films.