In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Unemployed and underemployed workers and supporters at the American Dream Movement Rally in October 2011. Creative Commons photo by David Sachs/SEIU lnternational.
Paul Solman answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news here on his Making Sen$e page. Here is Thursday's query:
Question: After reading the piece on underemployment, I see part-timers are calculated in underemployment numbers. But what about people doing temporary work? I'm an unemployed/underemployed attorney surviving on document review work that involves projects that start and stop without notice, often with large gaps in between. Does the agency that places me report a job placement for a given time period even though I may not be working for a good chunk of it? Is this captured in conventional underemployment numbers?
Paul Solman: Yes it is, Steve, so long as people like you tell the truth when the survey taker from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes calling. The BLS interviews 60,000 households a month. The underemployment tally comes from those interviews. You are counted as "part-time for economic reasons" if you say you worked less than full-time, but are looking for full-time work.
This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown- NewsHour's blog of news and insight.