Let’s clear up what “unemployed” means

I’m getting very very annoyed with the unemployment numbers that are being flashed around currently and feel that some of the things said need to be cleared up.
The easiest thing to clarify is the claim that unemployment has dropped suddenly. This is normal. This si what happens in November-December when seasonal help is hired on for the Holiday spendathon that we do every year. I’ve not heard anywhere that they’re taking this into account and can only assume that they’re asserting that this job growth is coming from an upswing in the economy as opposed to simply a seasonal shift. It will be interesting to see what happens when January-February roll around and all these people get let go again. Then, I’m sure they’ll start calling it a seasonal change again and to not be worried about it.
One of the biggest things that a lot of people don’t realize is what is meant when they quote the unemployment numbers. Those numbers are only quoting the actual number of people that are on the unemployment rolls for the states. When you’re not collecting unemployment benefits, or you’re working part time, or you’re a seasonal worker, you are not counted as unemployed in their eyes. It’s a very misleading figure to say the least.
Currently, I am not unemployed. I’m not working, but I am not unemployed as the State of California sees it. Shortly I’ll apply for the unemployment benefits extension and then, I’ll suddenly by unemployed again. It’s pretty screwy, I know.
So, even if they say that unemployment claims are dropping, it can always be the case that people have simply used up the limit of their benefits as has happened to many people that I know here in the Bay Area. These people cannot file for unemployment again, yet they most certainly do not have work. So… they suddenly become technically “employed” and everything seems peachy.
What I would like to see are numbers that break down how many people are eligible to work. How many of these people are working fulltime, how many are parttime, and how many are seasonal. Then if you look at the changes in those figures, you would see if things are in really in the toilet or not.