The Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) employs definitions which make it very easy to be counted as employed, and conversely equally hard to be counted as unemployed. The cynic can point to the definitions as an attempt to overstate employment and understate unemployment. Look at the broad categories that get you counted as “employed”:
- Anyone who did any work at all as paid employees during the week covered by the survey questions – that includes part-time, which is anything from one to 34 hours;
- Anyone who runs their own business, profession, or on their own farm – whether or not you had income;
- Anyone who worked without pay at least 15 hours in a family business or farm. You can easily see that the definition is designed to capture in its ambit as many people as possible.
The definition of “unemployed” is the precise opposite. It is pretty hard to be considered “unemployed” because you must meet all of the following criteria: