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Unemployment problem is bigger than NYC and LA combined

June 5, 2013: 9:03 AM ET

12 million unemployed

The job market has been healing for more than three years now, but the jobs crisis is still truly a crisis.

The staggering statistics get repeated so often they can become numbingly abstract. About 12 million Americans still remain unemployed, but who can wrap their head around that number?

Try wiping both New York City and Los Angeles off the map. That's how many people we're talking about.


8 million underemployed

Next, factor in the Americans who want to work full-time, but can't get anything more than part-time jobs thanks to slack business conditions or other economic reasons.

Call them the underemployed. As of April, there were still 8 million of them -- the equivalent of the Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix populations combined.


2 million recent dropouts

Next, remember those who have given up on the job market altogether. They dropped out of the labor force and are not being counted in unemployment rate. It's hard to get an exact statistic on them, but here's what we do know:

About 2 million people are "marginally attached" to the labor force, meaning they want jobs and have looked for one in the last 12 months, but have not looked for one in the last four weeks.

That's roughly the size of Dallas and San Francisco combined.


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About This Author
Annalyn Censky
Annalyn Kurtz
Writer, CNNMoney

Annalyn Kurtz is a senior writer at CNNMoney, where she covers America's jobs crisis, Federal Reserve policy and other economic news. Before joining the site in 2010, she served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Prague and interned at Fortune Small Business magazine. @annalynkurtz

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