In a sign that the employment picture remains weak, 4.4 million people reported being permanently out of work in July, according to government figures. That number has remained abnormally high since the recession ended three years ago.
While the total number of unemployed persons increased by 45,000 in July to 12.8 million, that figure masks the true causes of unemployment, which can range from retirement to temporary layoffs to being fired.
This is because the government calculates unemployment by asking people if they have jobs and, if not, if they have looked for work in the past month. If they don’t have jobs but have looked for work, the government classifies them as unemployed – and only then does it ask why they are unemployed.