The government has been counting the number of jobs held by "multiple job holders" as the number of "people" who are "employed", understating the actual number of people working and the actual number of people unemployed --- currently for a difference of 5.7 million. First, let's begin with new wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who reports:
"Median weekly earnings of the nation's 107.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $790 in the third quarter of 2014 (not seasonally adjusted). This was 2.5 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.8 percent in the CPI-U." (As an aside: Based on CPI-W, Social Security reports benefits will increase by 1.7% in 2015.)
If we have 155.7 million total "wage earners" based on new wage data from the Social Security Administration, then "107.9 million full-time wage and salary workers" per new wage data from the BLS should equal 69.2% of the labor force. So can we assume that the other 30.8% of the labor force is working part-time?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports 7.1 million Americans are "multiple job holders" — most of those have either a primary job full-time with a secondary job part-time job, or both jobs are part-time >>> for a total of 5.7 million part-time jobs out of a total of 6.7 million part-time jobs being held by those who only work part-time because they can't find full-times jobs or had their hours cut. (Very few people hold 2 full-time jobs.)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports a total of 146.9 million "employed" -- so we can subtract 107.9 million that the BLS says are full-time and we have a difference of 39 million who would be working part-time. The BLS reports 18.7 million (who would normally work part-time or choose to work part-time) and 7.2 million who work part-time because they can't find full-time work (or because their hours were cut).
But we can subtract 5.7 million "multiple job holders" who hold part-time jobs from the 39 million "difference" for a total of 33.3 part-time jobs, and then subtract another 18.7 million (who normally work part-time) for a difference of 14.6 million part-time jobs for people who would prefer working full-time (to give us a number of "people" who hold "jobs").
* As an side: 14.6 million part-time workers would indicate almost 10% of the labor force works part-part time because that can't find full-time work — and 33.3 million "people" who work all part-time jobs (for whatever reason) represents 22.6% of the work force (or slightly over a fifth.)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports 155,862,000 in the civilian labor force --- this is very near to what the Social Security Administration reported for the number of "wage earners" we had in 2013 — 155.7 million.
* The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports 146.9 million "employed" and 8.9 million "unemployed" for a total of 155.8 million "in the labor force" — about the same number the SSA reports we have as "wage earners".
* Editor's note: To reconcile these numbers, for the sake of argument, we'll say that those who receive unemployment benefits -- because some might be liable for federal taxes if their adjusted gross income meets the requirement, then they might also be considered "wage earners" by the SSA. Otherwise, there is no other way to reconcile the difference in these numbers unless people with Social Security numbers are working but are also not paying FICA taxes. And as IRS data also indicates, many do not file federal tax returns either. The number for individual returns filed better match the number the BLS says are employed. Conclusion: The SSA reports 155.7 million "wage earners" (2013) and the BLS reports 146.9 million "employed" out of a labor force of 155.8 million.
Of the 146.9 million the BLS reports as "employed", 107.9 million have full-time jobs and another 14.6 million work part-time jobs because they have to and another 18.7 million work part-time jobs because they want to for a total of 141.2 million "people" who have "jobs" (whether they are full-time, full-time and part-time or only part-time.)
But the BLS reports 146.9 million "employed" (whereas we've calculated that 141.2 million "people" actually have jobs) for a difference of 5.7 million (the exact number of "multiple jobholders"). So if we add 5.7 million to the actual number of people who are counted as "unemployed" — and we add another 6 million NOT counted as "unemployed", but are "not in the labor force" — but also say they "want a job", this is what it looks like:
8.9 million counted as "unemployed"
5.7 million "people" with multiple jobs — The BLS counting their "number of jobs" as "people with jobs".
+ 6.0 million NOT counted as "unemployed", but are "not in the labor force" — but also say they "want a job".
20.6 million --- the real number of Americans who are actually unemployed, but also don't WANT to be unemployed.
* Of those 141.2 million "people" who actually have jobs, 107.9 million work full-time and 33.3 million "people" work part-time jobs for a total of 141.2 million "people" actually have jobs --- NOT 146.9 million that the BLS reports as "employed".
As another aside: The BLS also reports:
"Persons employed full time in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings -- $1,326 for men and $980 for women. Men and women employed in service jobs had much lower earnings, $585 and $467, respectively."
This is for those with full-time jobs, but this sounds more like an “average” and not a “median” wage (BIG DIFFERENCE.)
It's the same for "household incomes". Despite what some have been saying over the past several years (one current example here), "ordinary Americans" DO NOT have incomes in the $50,000 to $60,000 range. New wage data for 2013 from Social Security shows 50% of All "wage earners" only take home $28,000 a year OR LESS. The median annual wage today (adjusted for inflation) is $56 a year less than it was 14 years ago in 1999.
Only the "median household income" is in the $50,000 to $60,000 range (it's actually $54,045 a year) — and that's because the high cost of living over the last 40 years has created two generations of "dual- and multiple-income households. (Out of 155.7 million "wage earners" in 2013, only 42.3 million (27%) made over $50,000 a year and 21% made $60,000 or more.)