But one $2 trillion part of the equation that's missing is the growing shadow economy: A grey market made up of people who aren't on the official payrolls but are finding ways to get by nonetheless.
"It's important to note this is not the illegal economy," Yahoo! Finance senior columnist Rick Newman tells The Daily Ticker. "We're talking about people who are doing legitimate work that would be ordinary work if it were taxed, but they're getting paid in cash."
So this work is under the table and it's not taxed as wages would be, and these folks are also not counted in the monthly jobs numbers.
Examples would be people working as consultants (in something like IT), drivers, people running small eBay (EBAY) businesses, nannies, and landscapers.
Estimates from a University of Wisconsin-Madison study put the underground economy at that $2 trillion mark for last year. That's twice the amount estimated in a 2009 study.