Augmented Unemployment Rate

The augmented unemployment rate is a measure of labor-market conditions, devised by the Fed in 1999. It is an alternative to the regular unemployment rate, which has a narrower scope. Even so, the augmented unemployment rate still gets limited attention.

The regular unemployment rate, a component of the employment report, is calculated by dividing the (seasonally adjusted) number of unemployed by the labor force, which consists of the employed and the unemployed.

unemployment rate = unemployed / labor force

The augmented unemployment rate also takes into account jobless people who aren't counted among the officially unemployed because they haven't searched for work lately, but who would take a job if offered one. Call them job-wanters. It adds the job-wanters to the officially unemployed, and divides the sum by the sum of the labor force and the job-wanters.

augmented unemployment rate = (job-wanters + unemployed) / (labor force + job-wanters)

The Fed's Humphrey-Hawkins report began including this version of the augmented unemployment rate in February 1999.

As with the regular unemployment rate, the components of the augmented unemployment rate can be found in the employment report. Seasonally adjusted figures for the labor force, the employed, the unemployed and "persons who currently want a job" can be found in Table A-1.

The sum of the officially unemployed and the job-wanters is referred to by Fed officials as "the pool of available workers," and some newswires have begun to report the change in this total from the previous month.

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