Ramona Schindelheim with Leo Hindery, CEO of Trine Acquisition and former CEO of AT&T Broadband (Photo: WorkingNation)

I am joined in this week’s episode of Work in Progress by Leo Hindery, former CEO of AT&T Broadband and founder and CEO of Trine Acquisition.

We’re talking about what he calls the “real unemployment numbers” and why he thinks broadband for everyone is a “civil right.”

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its report on the state of the nation’s workforce — the percentage of people actively looking for work but can’t find a job (the unemployment rate), the number of unemployed people, and the number of employed people.

“There are about six-and-a-half million workers who are officially counted as unemployed.  That does not count the tens of millions of women and men who don’t make enough living to be secure in their livelihood, on behalf of their families,” says Hindery.

But there are many men and women who are not counted in those headline numbers — the “discouraged” workers who have given up looking, the “marginally attached” who have not searched in the past four weeks, and the “part-time-of-necessity” who can’t find full-time jobs or have had their hours cut back.

All of these under-the-radar numbers are in the monthly BLS report, but rarely make it into the public conversation about jobs in this country. Hindery says if you want a better picture of who is working and the quality of their jobs, you have to talk about them. So, every month since 2006, Hindery has put out his own analysis of the employment data.

As a veteran of the cable industry, Hindery believes that there is another employment issue we should all be discussing — broadband for everyone, which he calls a civil right.

“Civil rights traditionally has been about race and ethnicity, and gender and faith, and orientation. It needs to also include this technical phenomenon called the internet…If the reality of broadband is education, health care, job advancement, job alteration to meet the changing environment and the changing economy, then every family that you leave behind is decimated into the future.”

More about broadband as a civil right and closing the digital divide in this WorkingNation article.

You can listen to the entire conversation online or you can find the Work in Progress podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

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And we hope you enjoy the conversation.

Episode 110: The Real Unemployment Numbers
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, WorkingNation Editor-in-Chief
Producer: Anny Celsi
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

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