In 1992, there was one person on disability for every 35 workers. It is now about one for every 16 workers.
If disability had stayed at the pre-recession growth trend, unemployment would be at least 1% higher, and perhaps as much as 2%.
Bottom line is that true unemployment is closer to 10% and perhaps significantly more. We just don’t know. Underemployment is still in the range of 16%. And that does not count people who have a job for which they are far overqualified and who are making much less money than they would if they could find a job in their chosen field. I should note to all those people who think I am being overly pessimistic that John Williams at Shadow Stats, who uses the US government methodology from 30 years ago, tells us that U-6 unemployment is around 23%. The difference is in how you create the model. The feds keep changing the rules, and it should be no surprise that with each new rule the number of people officially counted as unemployed drops. And if you can’t find a job, whether you are officially unemployed or not, it’s no fun.