Magazine article Workforce

Getting at the Real Numbers

Magazine article Workforce

Getting at the Real Numbers

Article excerpt

Unemployment

For decades, the national unemployment rate has offered a quick and reliable snapshot of the economy. Or has it? Despite the loss of nearly 400,000 jobs in February and another 108,000 in March, the unemployment rate for both months remained a static 5.8 percent-the same as it was a year ago. Preliminary estimates by Economy.com at press time indicate that the rate is trending upward, and might have risen in April.

Those who track economic trends say the unemployment rate underestimates the true level of pain in the workforce. "We think there are a lot of people out of work who are not being counted," says analyst Betsy Connolly of Circadian Technologies, Inc.

Here's the problem: Only those who tried to find work within the last 30 days are counted in the unemployment rate. Large and growing numbers of workers are unemployed, and would like to work, but don't get officially counted as unemployed. Nearly five million people want full-time work but are working part-time to make ends meet, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. …

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