Underestimated Unemployment

The official May unemployment rate was 13.3%, down from 14.7% in April. However, classification errors systematically lowered unemployment rates in March through May. After accounting for these errors, which the Census Bureau fully disclosed, the true unemployment rate in April was 19.7%, in May it fell to 16.3%. The broadest measure of unemployment fell from 22.8% in April to 21.2% in May; it peaked at 17.2% during the Great Recession.

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