Definition of Discouraged Worker
By Dave Manuel
What is a "discouraged worker"? What is the definition of a "discouraged worker"?
A "discouraged worker" is a sub-category of the larger "marginally attached" worker category.
A "marginally attached" worker is a currently unemployed person who has looked for a job sometime in the past 12 months. In addition, they would very much like a job, but have decided to use this time to brush up on their education, deal with family issues, etc.
The "discouraged worker" is a subset of the "marginally attached" worker.
The "discouraged worker" is somebody who has completely given up on finding a job due to the job market.
The discouraged worker has stopped looking for work because they have had absolutely no success in the recent past finding a job, and figure that they are better off not wasting their time trying to find a job, because their prospects are just that poor.
The discouraged worker, believe it or not, is not included in the government's "official" unemployment number.
They are, however, included in the U-6 unemployment figure, which is a broader measure of labor underutilization that includes those who have part-time jobs that would like full-time work, as well as "marginally attached" and "discouraged workers".
Why aren't "discouraged workers" included in the "official" unemployment numbers?
Because they aren't actively looking for work. In order to be considered as "unemployed", you need to be actively looking for employment. Discouraged workers have given up on trying to find a job, so they are not included in the official numbers.
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