While it may appear at first glance that the first chart below shows just one data series, what we have shown are two data sets: one presents, on an inverted axis, the Civilian Employment-to-Population rate, which unlike the unemployment rate as a fraction of the labor force (most recently printing at just 7%), has barely budged since the Lehman collapse. The other data set shows what an implied unemployment rate as calculated by Zero Hedge would be assuming a long-term average of 65.8% worker labor participation rate.
As we reported earlier, according to the BLS this number most recently was 63.0%: a 20 bps rebound from the 35 year low posted in October, but still woefully wrong. The chart shows much more accurately what the real unemployment rate would be when looking at the overall noninstitutional population instead of the ever rising amount of Americans who for one reason or another are not in the labor force.
On the next chart, we then proceed to juxtapose the implied unemployment rate with the officially reported BLS data.
In short: applying a realistic labor force participation rate to the unemployment rate series, shows that the real US unemployment rate is now 11.5%, a 4.5% difference from the reported number, and the second highest ever, only better compared to October's 4.7%.
Of course, don't inform the Fed of this discrepancy: if aware, the Fed's monetary mandarins would likely never taper. Then again, if indeed the Fed never does taper as many suggest (since it is the flow, not the stock), we will know just which series of unemployment data the Fed is looking at.