Unemployment rates

EDITOR: A recent article stated unemployment in Sonoma County had fallen to 5.7 percent implying that we're on the road to a real recovery ("Economy, job growth outpacing rest of U.S.," Jan. 25). It's unfortunate that many buy into this propaganda and don't research how this number is calculated.

This is a sales job and a cover-up of the bleak job situation that exists in this country. The number is derived by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, using the U-3 measurement, which it defines as the total unemployed as a percent of the civilian labor force.

While this number has gone down, don't be fooled into thinking more people are working and the job picture is rosier. The U-3 figure only includes those who have been actively looking for work in the past four weeks. What many people don't understand is that unemployment rates do not officially include people who are no longer looking for work because they have given up.

A better measurement is the U-6 category, which is currently at 13 percent. However, even this rate doesn't include those career welfare seekers who should be working. The real unemployment rate is above 30 percent, all things considered.

DOUG ROYER

Santa Rosa

Victims identified in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino fires

Sonoma County:

Karen Aycock, 56, Santa Rosa

Christina Hanson, 27, Santa Rosa

Linda Tunis, 69, Santa Rosa

Carol Collins-Swasey, 76, Santa Rosa

Lynne Anderson Powell, 72, Santa Rosa

Arthur Tasman Grant, 95, Santa Rosa

Suiko Grant, 75, Santa Rosa

Donna Mae Halbur, 80, Larkfield

Leroy Peter Halbur, 80, Larkfield

Valerie Lynn Evans, 75, Santa Rosa

Carmen Caldentey Berriz, 75, Apple Valley (vacationing in Santa Rosa)

Michael John Dornbach, 57, rural Calistoga

Veronica Elizabeth McCombs, 67, Santa Rosa

Carmen Colleen McReynolds, 82, Santa Rosa

Sharon Rae Robinson, 79, Santa Rosa

Mike Grabow, 40, Santa Rosa

Daniel Martin Southard, 71, Santa Rosa

Lee Chadwick Roger, 72, Glen Ellen

Mendocino County:

Roy Howard Bowman, 87, Redwood Valley

Irma Elsie Bowman, 88, Redwood Valley

Kai Logan Shepherd, 14, Redwood Valley

Napa County:

George Chaney, 89, Napa

Edward Stone, 79, Napa

Charles Rippey, 100, Napa

Sara Rippey, 98, Napa

Sally Lewis, 90, Napa

Teresa Santos, 50, Napa

Garrett Paiz, 38, Missouri