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by Alan Spector
14 March 2002 15:20 UTC
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Since the early 1960's, they have changed the way that rates are calculated.
For example, people in the armed forces are figured into the equation in
ways that now give lower official numbers given the actual same level of
unemployment. And then there are so many more in temporary and part-time
jobs, as well as many more workers in college who may not be counted.

But the incarceration rate, which is seldom taken into account, is very
important. This is a crude approximation since I don't have the exact
figures in front of me, but it should not be hard to calculate. If there are
approximately two million in jail now, and there were only about 600,000 in
jail in 1980, one can simply assume that there are a1.4 million people that
should be counted as part of the unemployed and add that into the current
equation.  It would raise the official rate by possibly 2% or more.

Again, my "analysis" above is very oversimplified, but there are ways to go
from there using more precise statistics.  In any case, the economic
condition of the U.S. working class (including much of the so-called "middle
class" is worse than the official statistics indicated.   ---not to mention
how much of current alleged "affluence" is drawn from increased personal

Alan Spector


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis L. Blewitt" <Dennis.Blewitt@Colorado.EDU>
To: "WSN" <WSN@csf.colorado.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 10:58 PM

> Does anyone have any estimate of what the US unemployment rate would be if
> the US incarceration rate were to return to 1960 levels and the drug war
> were to end?

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