As dismal as the unemployment rate (peaking nationally at 10 percent in October 2009 and now stuck at over 8 percent) has been in recent years, it does not capture the extent of the damage done by the recession. Understated or uncounted in the basic unemployment rate are those so discouraged they have left the labor force, those working part-time because that’s all they can get, and those out of work for extended periods of time. Of the nearly 13 million unemployed, less than half (about 5.9 million) are currently receiving unemployment benefits–and many more will face this cliff when they lose their extended benefits). This long-term hardship is starker for blacks, for Latinos, and for those with a only a high-school education or less.
This graph traces various measures of unemployment and underemployment, for the US and for the state of Iowa.