The headline unemployment rate is the U3 measurement which current stands between 8-9%. U3 is argued by many as a political unemployment rate in that the measurement has become an unreliable measurement due to arbitrary adjustments.
U6, also known as the real unemployment rate, stands at 15%. Many people suggest that U6 is a better measurement of unemployment as it includes short-term discouraged workers, marginally-attached workers, and those workers which work part-time as full-time employment is unavailable.
However, in the current economic situation, if one is faced with 5.4 million discouraged workers, an army of discouraged workers, made up of short-term and long-term discouraged, one surely has to consider this standing army of discouraged workers. (1)
Enter the SGS alternate unemployment rate which adds in the long-term discouraged worker. We then find a measured rate of roughly 22.5%. (2)