At one time companies held worker’s hours to 39-1/2 per week, preventing them from being full time employees. The practice has been around for decades. Today we look at others – those not counted in unemployment numbers.
Because the methods to gather unemployment haven’t kept pace with changes in the workforce, self-employed or freelance workers aren’t counted as laid off even if they lose most of their income. Over the past decade or so, many companies staffed up using more such outside workers to cut their costs for health-care and retirement benefits and to give them more flexibility to expand or contract with business. That flexibility, of course, means that assignments or pay are now shrinking for many of those people.
For the first time, unemployment reached 10 percent or higher in six states, by the spring of 2009. My brother and I have said for years that actual unemployment is much higher than government figures indicate.