Jason Furman (PIIE) and Wilson Powell III (PIIE)
The official unemployment rate continued to fall in June from 13.3 in May to 11.1. As in prior months of the pandemic, the official unemployment rate continues to understate the unemployment rate from a historically-comparable perspective because it counts an extra 2.0 million people who were "not at work for other reasons" as employed and also because 4.6 million people have left the labor force since February, more than would be expected even conditional on this large increase in unemployment. Adjusting for these factors the "realistic unemployment rate" was 13.0 percent in June, falling almost twice as fast as the official unemployment rate. As some states slow or partially reverse their reopening plans as virus cases rise, the ability to continue these gains becomes more uncertain.
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