I don’t know your idea of a hot Saturday night date, but I just met a cool data source that I didn’t know about (actually, I think I forgot about it). Those stalwart number crunchers at the Economic Policy Institute usefully update some very interesting data series that BLS doesn’t publish, like underemployment by race/ethnicity (shown below).
Those of us tracking the slack in the job market like to consider this measure as it is a lot more comprehensive than unemployment. Underemployment adds in the millions (eight million last month) of part-time workers who’d rather be working full time, along with other categories of discouraged workers who aren’t looking for work and thus not counted among the unemployed, but who’d be in the game if there were more jobs.
The national rate of underemployment, as published by BLS, has been around 14% over the past year, but for African-Americans, it’s been over 20% since 2009, though you won’t find that number in the monthly report (the Bureau publishes unemployment by race, but not underemployment).
Economists often state in horrified tones that unemployment reached 25% during the Great Depression; well, underemployment for blacks reached 25% in the Great Recession and has only come down a few points since then. That’s pretty horrifying too.
Anyway, here’s the link to the page with this and other charts, regularly updated by EPI.
Source: EPI, link above.