A closer look at the unemployment rate…

From the New York Times:

These should be the best of times for working people.

After all, the unemployment rate is just 3.7 percent, near its lowest level in almost 50 years. If that were our only guide, then we might conclude that virtually every adult in the United States who wants to work is either doing so or is diligently looking for a job.

The problem is that the unemployment rate, which is publicly updated by the Labor Department on the first Friday of every month, is an insufficient statistic, despite all the attention it gets. Sure, it tabulates the number of men and women who are actively job-hunting. But it leaves out the growing numbers who have stopped actively looking.

In the federal government’s scheme of things, those who stop looking for work aren’t listed as unemployed. The Labor Department has a broader monthly statistic that accounts for the dropouts, but it doesn’t get equal billing with the unemployment rate.

Continue reading at the New York Times

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