Essay: The Anguish of the Jobless

The new unemployment rate: 8.9%. Everyone who hears that percentage will know it is fraught with troublesome forebodings. Yet the modern habit of mistaking statistics for reality makes it easy to overlook the fact that the rate stands for an indigestibly large number of individuals— 9.5 million. Each point in the unemployment rate also represents, as the President explained last month, roughly $19 billion in potential but lost federal revenues, plus some $6 billion in financial assistance that the Government disburse jobless. Such statistical and elaborations usefully suggest the vast scope of unemployment...

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