Friends shared an audio of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s speech last month at Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa. In his talk, Reich noted that the official unemployment rate fails to account for people working part-time, for people who have given up hope of finding a job and for people who are paid less than they were in their previous jobs.

The real jobless rate, he said, “is closer to 18 to 20 percent of the work force.”

I thought about Reich’s comments this morning while reading the latest Labor Department statistics: Another 85,000 jobs were lost last month, but the national jobless rate remained at 10 percent.  Why? Because 500,000 people gave up and left the job market.

Reich, now a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, seemed to anticipate the latest evidence that there is little prospect for a quick recovery. “Things are getting worse more slowly,” he said.

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