Real Unemployment Rises 0.3% To 16.8%, Non-Seasonally Adjusted Number Near All Time Highs

With economic optimism back over the U-3 data, which was "surprisingly" not impacted by mid-winter snow (but as Art Cashin says, a horrible number would have been seen as a buying catalyst due to the "non-recurring" nature of snow in February), many seem to have missed that real unemployment, or the BLS' U-6 series actually climbed by 0.3%, to 16.8% from 16.5% in January. Additionally, the Non-Seasonally Adjusted U-6 number was barely changed, and was flat at 17.9%, just a hair away from January's record 18%.

Also, just as relevantly, a comparable data series tracked by Gallup indicated the February "underemployment" came in at 19.8%, virtually unchanged from January's 19.9% reading.

Some more from Gallup:

These results are based on February interviews with more than 19,000 adults in the U.S. workforce, aged 18 and older. Gallup classifies respondents as "employed" if they are employed full time or are employed part time but do not want to work full time. Gallup classifies respondents as "underemployed" if they are employed part time but want to work full time or are unemployed. Unemployed respondents are not employed, looking for work, and available for work. February's 19.8% underemployed estimate includes 10.6% who are unemployed and 9.2% who are working part time but wanting full-time employment (neither estimate is seasonally adjusted, and both are based on adults 18 and older). Both figures are similar to January's estimates.

Finally, some insight into that great commodity we can't seem to get enough of - hope.

Hope for finding a job remained flat in February: 40% of the underemployed were hopeful that they would find a job in the next four weeks, compared to 39% in January. Gallup asks the unemployed whether they think they will have a job in the next four weeks, and asks those who are employed part time but want to work full time whether they think they will have a job in the next four weeks that requires them to work 30 hours or more per week. Hope among both the unemployed (47%) and part-timers wanting to work full time (32%) remained unchanged from January to February.