According to the consistently inaccurate Labor Department, the "real" or U-6 unemployment rate hit 15.8% in April.
The reason I say "consistently inaccurate" is because for the past six months the Labor Department has underestimated the number of monthly job losses by an average of over 15% per month, only to at a later date revise the number higher once no one is paying attention.
The real unemployment rate includes three types of workers that are not part of the more publicized U-3 unemployment number:
1.) Marginally attached workers - people that want a full time job, have looked for one in the past, but are no longer looking for work.
2.) Discouraged workers - those that have given a job market reason for not looking for a job.
3.) Persons employed part time for economic reasons - in other words, somebody that wants a full time job but has had to settle for part time work.
As I have written about several times before, the reason why the U-6 unemployment number is relevant is because it gives a better indication of the type of head-wind that the housing market is facing in terms of reaching a bottom, never mind an actual recovery.
Essentially what it means is that there are fewer and fewer buyers that are able to absorb the excess supply of homes. Additionally, a greater supply of homes will continue to come to the market in the form of foreclosures as a result of rising unemployment.
In short, in the absence of a real housing stimulus plan, the home values are going to continue to deteriorate for the foreseeable future.