According to the BLS:
- Marginally attached workers are persons who are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past
- Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for a job
- Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule
The BLS U-6 standard (which you can locate by digging further into the BLS data) includes most of these missing pieces (addressed above), providing a more accurate depiction of the true nationwide unemployment situation, but U-6 also has shortcomings which we'll touch on later.
Note: Chart below includes all the "current" yet various BLS unemployment calculations; U-3 and U-6 are the circled numbers - click pic for larger image
So, U-3 and U-6 both have shortcomings, how do we go about finding the true U.S. unemployment figure?
John Williams from Shadow Government Statistics has a more accurate methodology and has worked to capture a variety of quietly manipulated data changes that the Gvt has made throughout the years. John then uses this data to reconstruct a picture of the true unemployment situation - what it would really look like had the statistical manipulators not skewed the data.
John's chart below includes the BLS U-3 data (red), U-6 data (grey) and the SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate (blue) which reflects current BLS unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for "discouraged workers" which were defined away during the Clinton Administration. These estimates are then added to the existing BLS U-6 unemployment figure to provide us with a True unemployment picture - which is > 20 today.
So why would the government lie to us and use the U-3 data for unemployment reporting when it severely distorts the truth?
Well folks, I hate to break the news to you, but the Gvt doesn't want you to know the truth... YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
By continually tweaking, publishing and reporting severely skewed data (like unemployment, inflation, GDP and money supply growth, etc) the masses remain ignorant, oblivious, and much happier than they otherwise would be had they known the truth - think about it.